Gluten-Free FAQs

What is gluten?
Gluten is the general term used for proteins found in certain cereal grains such as: all varieties of wheat, (durum, semolina, faro, kamut, einkorn, graham, and spelt) along with rye, barley, and triticale. Return to FAQs

If a product is labeled Wheat-Free is it gluten-free?
No.  Products that are wheat-free are not gluten-free.  Often they contain a blending of grans that include: rye, barley, spelt, triticale, and non-gluten-free oats. Return to FAQs

What is triticale?
Triticale is a mixture of wheat and rye, it is Not gluten-free. Return to FAQs

Do oats contain gluten?
Although oats do not inherently contain gluten they are often processed using the same milling equipment and stored in the same grain silos as wheat.  As a result, a substantial amount of gluten cross contamination occurs making them unsuitable for individuals with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Return to FAQs

Is there such a thing as gluten-free oats?
Yes!  Several companies are now growing and processing oats that are “Gluten-Free Certified”.  Be sure to read the label carefully. Return to FAQs

What gluten-free flour alternatives can I use when cooking and baking?
Fortunately there are many gluten-free options: amaranth, arrowroot, rice, buckwheat, corn, bean flours, millet, nut meal flours, potato, quinoa, sorghum, soy, tapioca, and teff.  Also don’t forget seeds such as flax, chia, and hemp, they’re gluten-free too! Return to FAQs

Is there a substitute for potato starch in your Gluten-Free Flour Mix (page 172)?
Yes. For those who cannot tolerate potatoes (a member of the nightshade family) replace the potato starch 1:1 with arrowroot starch, aka arrowroot flour.  Look for Bob’s Red Mill and Authentic Flours brands; both come in larger sized bags. Return to FAQs

What is xanthan gum?
Is a powder made from a microorganism Xanthomonas campestris that has been fermented with a very small amount of corn sugar.  It is well tolerated by most but for those with corn allergies you many want to use guar gum instead.  Xanthan gum is flavorless and is a key ingredient in holding gluten-free baked goods together. Return to FAQs

What is guar gum?
Is the powder derived from finely ground guar seeds, the botanical name for this plant is Cyamopsis tetragonobus.  Guar gum is flavorless and is used as a thickener, stabilizer, and binder.  Guar gum can be used interchangeably 1:1 for xanthan gum in a recipe.  In some people guar gum can have a laxative effect. Return to FAQs

Do I have to use xanthan or guar gum when baking gluten-free?
No.  Both of these gums act as binding agents in a recipe mimicking gluten. Depending on the amount of binders (eggs or flax meal gel for example) in a recipe you may or may not need xanthan or guar gum. Return to FAQs

What is the best way to store my gluten-free flours?
It depends on the flour.  Any of your protein flours and seeds should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.  As for the “white” flours they are pantry stable.  Regardless of where they’re stored they should all be placed in an airtight container. Return to FAQs

  • Refrigerator: amaranth, bean flours, brown rice, buckwheat, corn, millet, oat, quinoa, sorghum, and teff.  Xanthan and guar gum.
  • Freezer: nut meal flours (almond, hazelnut, coconut) and seeds and seed meals (flax, chia, hemp) all of these have higher oil contents and can go rancid more quickly.
  • Pantry: “white” flours (white rice, tapioca, potato starch, arrowroot, cornstarch) as well as baking soda and baking powder.

Are Buckwheat Soba noodles gluten-free?
Yes, if they are 100% buckwheat noodles.  Look for Eden Foods and Muso 100% buckwheat noodles (for those who are severely intolerant, double check that they are not make on shared equipment that also process wheat).

No, for most other brands of buckwheat soba noodles.  Carefully read labels as soba noodles are blended with wheat flour.  This includes Buckwheat Soba Noodle Soup as found in many Japanese restaurants. Return to FAQs