Wheat-free Baking

Living life gluten-free can be challenging. Join Philip Speer for a discussion of wheat-free baking options and a demonstration of how to make a simple wheat-free flour mix.

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Video Transcript

Hi. My name is Philip Speer. I'm the executive pastry chef of Uchi Restaurants. Today we are going to talk about wheat alternatives in baking and cooking.

Today we brought a bunch of wheat alternatives out—different flours and starches that we can use in all sorts of ways when trying to sub out wheat-based products for cooking and baking.

All sorts of reasons to bake with alternatives to wheat, you know, not only for health reasons—the textures, the flavors, lots of different crumbs and weights, the results that you are going to get in your baking that differ from baking a regular wheat-based flour.

Types of wheat alternatives

Spelt (an ancient wheat that differs from standard wheat)

So we brought some today. This first one is very common recently; it's spelt. It's a good wheat substitute made from dinkel wheat and mold wheat. [Note: spelt is a species of ancient wheat and does contain gluten, but some people who are allergic to wheat do not appear to be allergic to spelt.]

Some other alternatives here in front of me:

Rice flour

We have the white rice flour, actually interchangeable with brown rice flour.

Millet flour

The millet flour here is made from the whole millet grain; it has a really good stone-grain taste.

Tapioca starch

Next, we have a tapioca starch. Tapioca starch is made from the cassava root.


Next, we have cornmeal. It can be used in anything from flour mixtures to make actual yeast breads to making corn muffins or cornbread.

Potato flour

Next, we have some potato flour. Potato Flour is actually made from dehydration of potatoes.

How to make a wheat-free flour mix

So now we are going to put together our wheat-free flour mixture. So, it's very simple to make your own wheat-free flour mix at home. You don't really make a swap out for, say, spelt flour and a whole-wheat flour because they have different properties in how they work. You really want to make a mix of different flours.

We are going to start here with the rice flour, and this is white rice flour. It's a little bit sweeter than your brown rice flour, which we are going to use as well. They are really interchangeable as far as the actual baking properties, or the chemical properties of them are, but this is a little bit healthier. And then this white rice is going to have just a little bit more sweetness.

Next I am going to add tapioca starch. Tapioca starch is going to make for a better crumb in the end result. And when I say crumb when I am talking about a cake, I'm talking about just the texture of the layers of the air pockets in the cake, and this going to create a finer crumb in the cake.

And then we are going to use xanthan gum to replace the gluten, used as a binding agent, which helps the structure of your baked good.

Next, we are going to use milk powder. And this adds a little bit of protein to your mix.

And finally, we are going to use a little bit of cornstarch here. And what the cornstarch is going to do is help absorb a little bit of moisture and keep that moisture into your baked good.

So this is the wheat-alternative flour mix. I've made a pretty large batch here. You can actually store this in the freezer and use it for other things. This is more of an all-purpose that is easily switched out for every day cake or cookie recipes.

Once again, I'm Philip Speer with Uchi Restaurants for Co+op, stronger together.