Usually more dense and nutritious, these flours are rarely used alone. They need to be mixed with medium-protein flours and starches.
• Fine cornmeal: Also known as polenta, this flour tastes sweet and slightly nutty and adds strength and great flavour. Perfect for making cornbread and for breading meats.
• Almond flour: Nothing more than finely ground almonds, this flour is slightly sweet and has a wonderful nutty flavour, and is also high in healthy fats, producing a tender, moist crumb, similar to wheat flour.
• Cashew flour: Similar characteristics to almond flour, though with a higher protein level (10g protein per 4 tablespoons).
• Rice flour: Either from white or brown rice, this flour is flavourless and provides a crumbly texture. Usually used mixed with other flours, and the superfine flour is the ideal one for baking. White rice flour is an all-purpose flour used for breading and thickening.
• Buckwheat flour: Derived from a plant related to rhubarb, this flour has great nutritional value and is usually used for pancakes, blinis, crepes and soba noodles.
• Coconut flour: Very mild and slightly sweet, also high in healthy fats, this flour gives a great moist crumb, but works best in recipes with eggs, which provide structure and moisture.
• Teff flour: Derived from a highly nutritious grain, high in both protein and calcium, originally from Ethiopia, this flour gives a great crumb and adds moisture to gluten free goods. It comes in two versions: ivory or brown. The brown one has a nutty taste similar to cocoa powder, and is especially good for brownies. (Teff brownies are simply delicious!)
• Kamut, einkorn and spelt flours: These flours are milled from ancient forms of wheat. While they contain low levels of gluten and aren't appropriate for a coeliac friendly diet, they can sometimes be tolerated by people with gluten sensitivities.
What's a binding agent?
Whatever the protein level, there is less protein in gluten free flours than in wheat flours, lending much less structure to the final product. Binding agents help make up the difference by building structure in gluten free baked goods. Binding agents are generally in the form of gums, such as xanthan gum or guar gum, but less refined alternatives include powdered psyllium husk and chia seeds. Note that not all gluten free recipes will need added binding agents.