"What Do You Use Instead Of Wheat?"
We have a big list of gluten-free flours we can use in place of 'regular' wheat flour, and many are even more nutritious. We don't use a master blend for all of our products since we want each product to have its own unique texture and flavour profile. Part of our vision is to share knowledge with our community, so we offer this page to describe some of the ingredients we use and why we use them. You can find the descriptions of gluten-free alternatives we use below.
When you shop our menu, you'll also see the complete ingredients for each product listed in order of weight. You might be avoiding more than just gluten, and we have lots of allergen friendly goods too!
SORGHUM: Sorghum, a relative of millet, is an ancient gluten free grain originating in Egypt and then domesticated in Africa. Its neutral flavour lends it well to wheat-free baking, and its nutritional profile is also similar to that of wheat. It is high in iron, calcium and potassium, fairly high in protein and fibre, and is digested more slowly than other cereals, making it a good choice for diabetics.
AMARANTH: Amaranth is a tall plant with broad edible leaves, and thousands of tiny seeds that can be popped like popcorn or ground into a gluten free flour. It has a distinct grassy nutty taste, which can come across as slightly bitter when used in baking. Although it is treated like a cereal grain, it is actually a pseudocereal, like quinoa and buckwheat.
QUINOA: Quinoa has a mildly nutty delicious taste, and is the seed of a plant with edible leaves related to leafy vegetables like spinach, Swiss chard and beets. Although it is treated like other cereal grass grains like wheat, rice and corn, it is not a grain, but rather is usually classified as a pseudocereal.
MILLET: Millet is one of the oldest grains known to us; it has a mildly sweet, nutty taste and creamy texture. It is one of the least allergenic and most digestible gluten free grains, helping to alkalize the body, and also helps heat the body in cold weather.
BUCKWHEAT: Buckwheat may sound like it's related to wheat and may be used like wheat, but it is not related to wheat! It's not a grass, it's a pseudocereal related to rhubarb and sorrel, and completely gluten free. Buckwheat is sold either unroasted or roasted, the latter oftentimes called "kasha," from which a traditional European dish is made. Unroasted buckwheat has a soft, subtle flavour, while roasted buckwheat has more of an earthy, nutty taste. Buckwheat is also ground into flour, and often used to make buckwheat pancakes or soba noodles.
OATS: Oats are a mild grain and gain part of their flavour through the roasting process after harvest. The hulling process does not remove the bran and germ so the nutritional value remains. Those with celiac disease may worry about including oats, which are often contaminated with wheat or barley, in their diet; however, studies have shown that when on a gluten-free diet including uncontaminated oats the majority of celiacs suffer no ill effects. We use only pure, uncontaminated gluten free oats from Avena Foods Ltd, a company of farmers in Regina, Saskatchewan, dedicated to producing only uncontaminated oats and oat products under the brand "Only Oats".
CORN: Cornstarch is a flavourless powder created from the endosperm portion of corn, which is believed to have originated in Mexico or Guatemala, and constituted a considerable portion of the First Nations’ diet. Cornstarch itself imparts no nutritional value, but helps to produce a smooth texture needed in gluten-free baking, similar to the affect of tapioca. It also provides a crispy texture when used in drier baked goods like sugar cookies or pastry, or used in coatings or batters for deep frying food.
RICE: White rice flour, while less nutritious, has a delicate neutral flavour and light texture great for use in more refined baked goods. It is still an excellent source of niacin (vitamin B3) and a moderate source of protein, thiamin (vitamin B1) and iron, and easier to digest for those with sensitive digestive systems. Brown rice flour has a nuttier flavour, and, due to the bran, is high in insoluble fibre which helps regulate the bowels, and is believed to be vital in protecting the body against cancerous cells. It is rich in protein, iron, niacin, thiamin, vitamin D, calcium, thiamine, riboflavin, selenium, magnesium, and is an excellent source of manganese.
TEFF: Teff is a tiny seed from a grass originating thousands of years ago in Ethiopia. It's commonly used there to make injera, a sourdough-risen flatbread with a slightly spongy texture similar to a crepe. It has a mild, nutty flavour, and because it is so small it is ground whole to make a dark coloured flour rich in nutrients.
FONIO: Fonio is an ancient species of millet from Africa, possibly the oldest African cereal. It is called "the seed of the universe" in Malian mythology, and "hungry rice" in Europe. The seeds are tiny but nutritious and tasty! Fonio is high in iron, and rich in methionine and cystine, essential amino acids which are lacking in many major cereals. It also has a low glycemic index and is easy to digest.
ALMOND: We use ground almonds or almond paste in some of our sweets, such as our macarons, frangipane and almond cake, and to thicken our pumpkin pie filling. We do not use nut flours in our breads because they are a high allergen, but if you are ok with almonds, they are a great option for gluten-free flour in bread baking. This is a very popular flour for paleo diets.
CHICKPEA: Chickpeas, also called garbanzo beans, originated in the Middle East and have been cultivated for over five thousand years, eventually spreading from the Mediterranean to India and Ethiopia. They are a good source of protein, iron, copper, and zinc. Additionally, chickpeas contribute to a healthy heart because of significant levels of fibre, magnesium and folate.
FAVA BEAN: Fava beans have a buttery texture and a lovely, nutty flavour. Similar to lima beans in taste and texture, they are one of the most flavourful and meaty beans around. They are also a good source of fibre, protein and iron. Bob's Red Mill Fava Beans have been naturally blanched to remove the unsavoury skins.
ARROWROOT: Arrowroot is an easily digested starch extracted from the roots of the arrowroot plant, Maranta arundinacea. The starch is used as a thickener in many foods such as puddings and sauces, and is also used in cookies and other baked goods.
TAPIOCA: Tapioca is the starchy powder extracted from the tuberous root of the cassava plant (also called yuca or manioc), which originated in the Americas and is now cultivated throughout the tropics. Tapioca starch lacks significant nutritional value, but is useful in baking. It enhances the appearance, texture and natural flavour in baked goods, and helps to create a crispy outside and moist, expanded crumb like the regular bread consistency difficult to reproduce in gluten-free products.
POTATO: Potatoes have a mild taste and creamy or starchy texture, and help give a higher volume, soft texture and crispy outside finish to baked goods, as well as extend their shelf-life.
GUAR: Guar gum is a water-soluble fibre obtained from the seeds of the bean-like guar plant found mostly in Pakistan and India. It is used in small amounts, but is invaluable to gluten-free baking by producing a similar effect to the product as the structure gluten usually provides. It acts as an emulsifier, thickener and stabilizer.
XANTHAM: Xanthan gum was discovered in the 1960's by researchers in the US Department of Agriculture. It is a microbial polysaccharide that results from using the bacterium Xanthomonax campestris in the natural fermentation of glucose or sucrose (typically sugar from corn or cabbage). Due to its ability to greatly increase the viscosity of foods, xanthan gum plays an invaluable role in gluten-free baking. Just a very small amount provides a ‘stickiness' and structure to the dough, which, without gluten, could end up a flat crumbly mess.
Other Commonly Used Ingredients In Our Baking
SUNFLOWER SEEDS: Sunflowers most likely originated in Mexico and Peru, and were one of the first plants to be cultivated in America, being used for thousands of years by the Native Americans. After the Spanish brought them back to Europe, sunflowers spread to other countries and sunflower oil has now become one of the most popular in the world.
PEPITAS: The raw hulled seeds of pumpkins, also called pepitas, are flat, green, mildly sweet and nutty, and very nutritious.
FLAXSEEDS: Flaxseeds have an earthy nutty taste, and a hard, smooth, shiny shell. They release more nutrients to us in ground form, and are then a ridiculously high source of alpha linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fat which is an anti-inflammatory hormone-like molecule that helps conditions such as asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, migraines, and osteoporosis.
HEMP: Hemp hearts (shelled hemp seeds) are a very high source of protein, containing all 20 known amino acids, including the 9 essential amino acids our bodies can’t produce.
CHIA: Chia is such a superfood, similar to flax, that it is starting to become more widely recognized as a very healthy addition to our diet. Its botanical name is Salvia hispanica, and it belongs to the mint family Lamiaceae. The neutral tasting seeds are tiny with a diameter of about 1mm and multi-coloured black, brown, grey or white.