Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wheat flour alternatives

Several weeks ago, I posted about gluten-free diets. I thought I’d add more information about some of the wheat “alternatives” that are available today for us to explore. When baking and cooking, consider incorporating some of these instead of the typical wheat flour that is so prevalent everywhere. Most of these alternatives are low in sodium, cholesterol and saturated fat, and are good sources of dietary fiber.

Buckwheat Flour
Buckwheat is not in the wheat family at all. Its flour has a distinctive flavor, and is used in an array of international dishes such as soba noodles, crepes and pancakes. Wheat-free and gluten-free (provided it has not been “cut” with regular wheat flour, as some manufacturers will do), it is a good source of magnesium and manganese.

Corn Flour
A finely-ground version of corn meal, corn flour can be added to bread, biscuit or pancake recipes. Cornbreads are richer and less crumbly when corn flour is substituted for corn meal.

Corn Meal
Originated in ancient Mesoamerican civilizations, corn is derived from gigantic domesticated grass. It is considered man’s first “genetically engineered” food. Cornmeal makes a flavorful and versatile ingredient in tortillas, breads and muffins. Gluten-free.

Garbanzo Flour
Used in Mediterranean, Indian and Middle Eastern dishes, garbanzo flour is made from finely ground garbanzo beans (chick peas). Good source of protein and copper, folate and manganese.

Oat Flour
Oats are a natural source of heart-healthy soluble fiber and oat flour can be mixed with other flours such as corn, rice, or buckwheat to create breads with interesting flavors and textures. Good source of thiamin, phosphorous, selenium and manganese.  Not always considered gluten free unless the package specifically says so (like Bob's Red Mill products).

Rice Flour (brown or white)
Nutty tasting brown rice flour is ground from whole-grain brown rice. It is a good choice for sauces, shortbreads, and for coating foods. Removing the bran from ground brown rice produces white rice flour and like brown rice flour, it has a grainy texture but a milder flavor. Both are gluten-free and often appear in gluten-free baking mixes.

Amaranth, legume flours, millet, quinoa, and sago are other grains that can often be found in flour form and are worth a try.

I really believe that eating a wider variety of foods provides greater health and well-being because we are taking in different nutrients from everything we eat.  I am going to experiment with more of these myself. If you have any recipes to share that highlight any of these ingredients, I sure would love to hear from you.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Print Friendly