Flour for baking regular yeast breads pretty much has to be flour with gluten because the it’s the gluten (the protein in the flour) that raises breads. The gluten has to be developed by kneading. Bread rises when yeast eat starch and produce carbon dioxide as a byproduct and form tiny bubbles in the bread. The developed stretchable gluten stretches to accommodate the bubbles, blow up a bit, and cause the bread to rise. So gluten is necessary for yeast breads that rise.
Wheat is the grain that has the most gluten. Wheat flour used in yeast breads can be processed white flour or whole wheat flour–whole wheat flour is more nutritious but doesn’t rise as well as white flour. Many recipes for homemade whole wheat bread or breadmaker recipes usually contain only some whole wheat flour, the majority being white flour. White flour makes a light loaf. Whole wheat flour doesn’t rise as well because of it’s course bran.
Quick breads, on the other hand, don’t really need the gluten as a leavening agent (an ingredient which makes dough rise). The baking powder or baking soda reacts and bubbles up and causes the quick bread to rise a bit. No gluten is needed because the powder/soda instead causes the bread to rise.. So you can use a GF flour to bake quick breads but not yeast breads. You can use just about any flour–rice flour, garbanzo bean flour (the Spice Goddess on the cooking channel is big into garbanzo bean flour), quinoa flour, millet flour, and any flour that does not contain gluten. Your natural foods store will have a nice variety and there will probably be an employee who can help you.
Good luck in your baking! Thanks for writing.
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