Point Values of Gluten-Free Flours, Starches, and Ground Meals

This post replaces last year’s “Point Values of Gluten-Free Flours.” Why and what’s new?

  • More flours: I’m finding new GF flours in my own small corner of the world, and you’re probably seeing them too.  The main change here is the growing variety of bean flours, which is welcome to dieters because they are lower in calories and higher in proteins than other flours.
  • No descriptors: I’ve dropped the brief descriptions of the flours. I was never entirely comfortable with them because I hadn’t used all the flours and was relying on other people’s information and taste buds. Moreover, as more people require GF diets, the amount of information on the Internet increases exponentially. Just google an ingredient, and you’ll find out a lot more information than I could provide in the space I had.
  • Three lists instead of one list: Gluten-free bakers have to create blends of ingredients to replace wheat flour because no one flour, even with xanthan or guar gum, can work in all recipes. Essentially, we pick and choose among three types of ingredients: flours, starches, and ground meals. Having three lists reflects this reality.
  • Elimination of the Points Program values: Last year, this time, Weight Watchers was just switching programs so I had both. Now I have just the point values from the PointsPlus Program.

New to GF baking? I’m sure the whole GF “scene” is just plain daunting. That’s certainly where I was a year ago.

However, once you learn the ropes, you will find yourself mixing and matching ingredients based on the type of baking you’re doing, the tastes and textures you’re looking for, the nutrients you want and, if you’re dieting, the point value of the flour.  (For non-Weight Watchers: one point is roughly 50 calories.)

Some suggestions for getting started:

Quinoa-Sorghum Carrot Bread

This fragrant, light, and moist quick bread is not only delicious, its success is an inspiration for me to continue experimenting with alternative flours.  

The original recipe called for ¾ cup each of white flour and whole wheat flours.  Recently, after some searching, I managed to find sorghum flour and decided to try it in a blend with white rice and quinoa flours.  The result is a bread with a lovely, cake-like texture.  (If you can’t find sorghum flour, you can substitute white rice flour or brown rice flour.  I suspect either of these will alter texture and taste slightly; however, it would not change the Weight Watcher point count per slice.)

Another benefit of sorghum flour: For gluten-sensitive dieters, it is, like quinoa flour, a low-calorie alternative to the basic white and brown rice flours. (Check out its Weight Watcher point value. )

Printer-friendly recipe

Cooking tip: This recipe is like the others I’ve made using alternative flours.  The original recipes don’t add enough moisture, and I ended up with a thick ball of dough.  To arrive at a thick batter, I needed ¾ cup soy milk.

Makes 8 slices

Ingredients

  • ½ cup white rice flour
  • ½ cup quinoa flour
  • ½ cup sorghum flour
  • ½ cup artificial sweetener
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. xanthan gum
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp. olive or canola oil
  • ¾ cup goat or sheep yogurt
  • ¾ cup soy milk or other alternative milk, as needed (see tip above)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup carrot, grated
  • Cooking spray

Directions

  1. In medium bowl, mix all dry ingredients: 3 flours, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, baking powder, xanthan gum, nutmeg, salt.
  2. In large bowl, beat egg until well mixed.
  3. Add oil, yogurt, vanilla extract, and carrots.
  4. Gradually add flour, mixing as you go.
  5. Add milk, if necessary. (Dough should be thick but not in a ball.)
  6. Spray a 9″ x 5″ bread pan with cooking spray, and scrape in dough, levelling the surface.
  7. Bake in 350° F oven for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

For Weight Watchers: each slice is 3.5 points in the Points plan and 4.5 points on the PointsPlus plan.

(Adapted from “Cinnamon Carrot Bread” in Lighthearted at Home: The Very Best of Anne Lindsay by Anne Lindsay)

Point Values of Mixes of Gluten-Free Flours

The authors of gluten-free cookbooks and online chefs often create their own flour mixes to take advantage of the properties of different flours.  Sometimes I’ve followed the recipes, and sometimes I’ve substituted a different flour.

Needless to say, calculating the final Weight Watcher point value of a recipe with a mix of flours is beginning to feel like rocket science.  So…what to do? 

I used the values that I calculated for the Point Values of Gluten-Free Flours and determined those for flour mixes that I have found in gluten-free cookbooks.  There may be many more such mixes, but these are meeting my needs for now. 

I haven’t tried all these mixes in the table below and can’t make any recommendations yet.  However, I assume that the mixes found in cookbooks have been tried and tested.  But gluten-free baking is a little like the Wild West.  Everyone is doing his or her “thing,” and there’s no definitive authority or even a wealth of experience to fall back on.

 A word about xanthan gum: Some authors include the amount of gum in the mix while others don’t.  I have been adding ½ tsp. of xanthan gum per cup of flour to most of my recipes when adapting a recipe.  It seems to be working.

 Sources for this table are:

  •  The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Comfort Foods by Bette Hagman
  • 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes by Carol Fenster
  • Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking by Kelli and Peter Bronski

Printer-friendly table

GLUTEN-FREE FLOUR MIXES INGREDIENTS POINTS per 1 cup POINTSPLUSper 1 cup
Basic Gluten-Free Mix (Bette Hagman) 6 cups rice flour, white or brown2 cups potato starch

1 cup tapioca flour

11.5 15.5
“Featherlight” Rice Flour Mix

(Bette Hagman)  

3 cups rice flour, white or brown3 cups tapioca flour

3 cups cornstarch

3 tbsp. potato flour

10 14
Light Bean Flour (for breads)

(Bette Hagman)  

 

3 cups garfava bean flour3 cups tapioca flour

3 cups cornstarch

8.5 11.5
Four Flour Bean Mix (Bette Hagman)   2 cups garfava bean flour1 cup sorghum flour

3 cups tapioca flour

3 cups cornstarch

8.5 12
Sorghum Blend*

(Carol Fenster) 

 

1½ cups sorghum flour1 ½ cup potato starch

1 cup tapioca flour

9.5 13.5
Artisan Gluten-Free Flour Mix(Kelly and Peter Bronski)   1¼ cups brown rice flour¾ cup sorghum flour

⅔ cup cornstarch

¼ cup potato starch

1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. potato flour

1 tsp. xanthan gum

10 14

*The author indicates that cornstarch can replace potato starch.  However, the potato starch is lower in points than the cornstarch,