How to Bake with Gluten-Free Flour and Get Fluffy Results

If you’re gluten-free or simply like to experiment with alternatives to white flour, chances are you’ve had a few kitchen catastrophe with gluten-free flour.

What was meant to be a moist cake or a chewy cookie has crumbled, sagged or hardened like a rock. What went wrong?

One of the common mistakes when baking gluten-free is expecting the same results when you swap white flour for the alternative.

Almond meal.

Almond meal is very soft and works best with moist, fragrant recipes. Almond meal can be substituted in a 1:1 ratio with flour, however, don’t expect it to rise like a normal cake!

To help the bake hold its shape, recipe developer Meg Yonson combines it with a firmer flour like buckwheat, quinoa or rice (more on that in a bit). And if you don’t have those on hand, you can still make a melt-in-the-mouth souffle or soft cookie just fine with almond meal and some baking powder.

Buckwheat flour.

Buckwheat flour is dense, nutty and lends itself well to almost anything. It’s our recipe developer’s favorite! It’s also high in nutrients like zinc, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese, giving your dessert a little health kick.

Due to its heavy texture, it’s best to combine it with almond meal so you don’t accidentally end up with rock cakes. But other than that, you can pretty much swap it for white flour in any recipe. We do!

Coconut flour.

While coconut flour can be a beast to work with, the results are well worth it when you get it right. Because yum, coconut.

It’s essential to remember to NEVER substitute coconut flour for white flour. It soaks up liquid like a ShamWow. You’ll need to use ¼ cup of coconut flour for 1 cup of regular flour, and maybe add an extra egg or two. And then some more liquid.

We recommend following a recipe from a trusted source before experimenting with this stuff. Our sweet potato brownies, luckily, are foolproof and only use 3 tablespoons of coconut flour. How’s that for budget-friendly?

Bonus round: all of the flours.

Almond, buckwheat and coconut are our favourite gluten-free flours due to their taste, texture and nutritional quality. But there are a few alternatives rising (get it?) up the ranks…

Green banana flour: Made from powdered unripe bananas, this flour gives fluffy results when you use 30 per cent less than white flour in the recipe. The great benefit is that it contains huge amounts of resistant starch, which is great for gut health.

Teff flour: Teff is tiny grain that packs a huge nutritional punch – iron, calcium, B vitamins AND it’s a complete source of protein. Teff flour can be used whole or in part for white flour, yielding dense but delicious results.

Quinoa flour: With the highest protein count of all the grains, quinoa flour is great for healthify-ing a sweet treat. While you can substitute it for white flour 1:1, we recommend combining with almond or coconut as the taste can be quite bitter.

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