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Baking Essentials - Nonwheat Flours

DK PublishingDK Publishing 2/07/2014 DKBooks
Photo: Rye Plant © Provided by DKBooks Rye Plant

Photo: Oat Plant © Provided by DKBooks Oat Plant

Photo: Barley Plant © Provided by DKBooks Barley Plant

© Provided by DKBooks

© Provided by DKBooks

Corn Plant

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Barley Plant

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© Provided by DKBooks

© Provided by DKBooks

Oat Plant

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© Provided by DKBooks

Rye Plant

Nonwheat Flours

For centuries, various dried grains and roots have been ground and used to make bread. Most flours and meals – including those made from rye, oats, barley, and corn – are ground from the seeds of cereal plants. The seeds vary in shape and size, but all have a structure similar to that of the wheat kernel and are ground in the same manner. These flours produce breads with different flavors, textures, and nutritional values. Wheat flour, with its high gluten content, is preferable for risen breads. Low-gluten and nongluten flours must be mixed with at least 50 percent wheat flour to make a properly risen bread, but the addition of a few tablespoons of one of these flours will deepen a bread’s flavor.


Principal cereal grains

Rye

Ground from cleaned grains, rye flour inhibits gluten development. Even a small addition, mixed with wheat flour, adds a distinctive tang to bread. Dark rye flour contributes a strong flavor, while light rye flour is milder and paler.


Oats

Oats that have been cleaned and hulled are called groats. Pinhead oats are groats that have been cut into several pieces. Oat flour is ground from groats and is gluten-free. It adds rich flavor and texture to a bread.


Barley

Barley seeds with the bran removed are called pearl barley, which is eaten in soups and stews. Barley flour is ground from pearl barley and is gluten-free. Mixed with wheat flour, it adds a sweet, earthy flavor.


Corn

Dried corn kernels are ground into three textures of meal – coarse, medium (called polenta), and fine. All are gluten-free and have a distinctive corn flavor.


Low-gluten and nongluten flours

People who are intolerant of wheat or gluten can use low- or nongluten flours to make bread. However, since it is gluten that gives dough its elasticity and strength and allows it to rise, breads made exclusively with the flours shown here and opposite may have a dense, crumbly texture. When used in combination with wheat flour, these flours will contribute extra nutritional value and flavor to a bread. See Wheat Flours for tips on mixing wheat and nonwheat flours.

People who are intolerant of wheat or gluten can use low- or nongluten flours to make bread. However, since it is gluten that gives dough its elasticity and strength and allows it to rise, breads made exclusively with the flours shown here and opposite may have a dense, crumbly texture. When used in combination with wheat flour, these flours will contribute extra nutritional value and flavor to a bread. See Wheat Flours for tips on mixing wheat and nonwheat flours.


Spelt flour

A flour rich in nutrients with a slightly nutty flavor, spelt is low in gluten, but high in protein. This makes it a digestible substitute for wheat flour in breadmaking for the gluten-intolerent.


Millet flour

Millet flour is low in gluten, but very rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals, with a distinctively sweet flavor. It is used mostly in combination with wheat flour for bread.


Brown rice flour

Milled from the whole rice grain, brown rice flour is gluten-free. When blended with wheat flour, it contributes a dry texture and a sweet, nutty taste to a bread.


Potato flour

This gluten-free flour is made from cooked, dried, ground potatoes. Used mostly as a thickener, when combined with other flours, it produces a moist crumb in breads.


Chickpea flour

Made from ground chickpeas, this flour is gluten-free. Just a small proportion gives a rich flavor to leavened flat breads and other savory dishes.


Quinoa flour

Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain as well as all eight essential amino acids. It is gluten-free and when mixed with wheat flour is a rich source of nutrients for bread.


Cornmeal flour

Most commonly used in American quick and nonyeast breads, this gluten-free flour can be combined with wheat flour to make bread with a gritty, coarse texture and a sweet, corn flavor.


Buckwheat flour

Buckwheat flour is ground from the seeds of a plant native to Russia that is not akin to the wheat plant, and is gluten-free. This gray-brown flour has a distinctively bitter flavor.

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