If you have been diagnosed with coeliac disease, the only way to manage the condition is to follow a gluten free diet. This is a major lifestyle change but it should alleviate the symptoms you have been experiencing. Finding gluten free products on prescription is one of the best ways to begin this change. This will help you make the shift into eating new foods and discovering new products, including gluten free flour once you have been diagnosed.
What is gluten free flour?
Gluten forms naturally when water is added to flours that are made from rye, wheat and barley. In wheat, gluten forms when two proteins come together in the presence of water (glutenin and gliadin). They form a cohesive, malleable dough that holds its shape and expands when yeast produces gas. Gluten free flour is any flour that is not made with gluten products. It is used in place of traditional flour (made with wheat, rye, and barley), including a wide range of grains such as buckwheat, rice, and tapioca.
There are a few different types of gluten free flour available, so it can be quite daunting at first to decide which type of flour is best to use in different types of baked goods.
How to buy gluten free flour?
Always check the label when buying flour, as there are some flours that are grown, harvested, and processed alongside wheat, rye, barley, and there is the potential for cross-contamination. With this in mind, only buy gluten-free flour that states on the label that it is gluten free. For baking, unless it is a pre-blended mix of flour, you may need to combine three or more flours to achieve the structure you are looking for. Always store flour in a tight container at room temperature where it should last for up to three months.
Choosing a flour blend
Once you begin to search for gluten free flour blends, you’ll see that there are quite a few on the market. The following are some of the most popular types of gluten-free flour:
- Buckwheat flour – although it is technically not wheat, this gluten free flour delivers a wholesome flavour to your baked goods.
- Rice flour – brown or white rice flour is at its best when blended with other gluten free flour and is full of fibre.
- Nut flour – almond or cashew flour are popular alternatives and when added to another gluten free flour it is perfect for a cake, brownie, or biscuit recipe.
- Potato flour – using potato starch, this flour is great for gluten free batters and sauces, flatbreads, and pancakes.
- Coconut flour – dried and ground coconut meat is used to create this flour that is perfect for a coconut flavour within a sweet bake.
This guide to gluten free flour will hopefully provide you with some basic information about how you can still incorporate flour into your diet even if you have been diagnosed with coeliac disease and are suffering with symptoms. People suffering with coeliac disease suffer with a range of symptoms, experiencing an immune response when ingesting gluten. This response can be quite mild or severe, including symptoms such as stomach pain and cramping, constipation, anaemia, tiredness, skin rash, and a wide range of other symptoms. Moving to gluten free products and gluten free prescriptions will help you make this change.