When considering foods that are gluten free restaurants tend to concoct dishes with a gluten free item as the main ingredients. Quinoa salads, rice pasta, and soups (without flour, of course), are great dishes for customers with celiac as well as those interested in the gluten free diet plan for other health reasons. However, with the diversity of gluten free flours available, restaurants need not create new dishes, but rather adapt the existing ones to fit the gluten free customer. Below, three types of gluten free flours are described.
Teff is a wheat-like grain grown in Ethiopia and Eritrea, which is high in protein, calcium, and iron. Traditionally used to make sour injera bread, the grain actually has a nutty flavor, only getting a sour taste after a fermentation process similar to that of sourdough bread. Though its food costs are significantly higher than regular flour, some restaurant businesses may consider experimenting with teff flour because it is so rarely seen on restaurant menus in the US. Offering teff products which are gluten free foods can set a venue apart from other businesses in the area. Teff has a nutty flavor, making the flour ideal for flatbreads, pancakes, and muffins. Flatbreads served with homemade spreads or butter and honey can be a great addition to a bread basket, catering to customers following a gluten free diet plan, as well as those interested in unique foods.
Rice flour has a relatively neutral flavor compared to many other gluten free flours, making it ideal for use in gluten free foods such as pizzas, cakes, and other gluten free dough products. Rice is very popular in gluten free foods because of its versatility. It can be used to thicken blended soups, ground as flour, or in rice pasta dishes, as well as a base for a salad or as a side dish. When used alone, however, rice flour can produce a grainy texture. Therefore, it is best when used in a mix of flours and/or with gums used to bind the product.
This starchy, slightly sweet flour is extracted for cassava plant roots. It adds chewiness to gluten free foods such as baked goods, and crispness to crusts, making it ideal for gluten free foods such as pizza and focaccia. It can also be used as a thickening agent, similar to cornstarch. Like rice flour, tapioca flour is usually used in a blend of gluten free flours for the best results.
Gluten free foods do not have to sacrifice taste or texture. However, it often takes experimentation and creativity to create the best products. Gluten free restaurants and restaurants interested in catering to the culinary trend should allow time for experimenting with gluten free flours before offering them to customers, in order to guarantee the best products. Since gluten free flours tend to be a lot heavier than traditional flour, and lack the gluten protein that creates elasticity in foods with flour, gluten free flours are usually used as a mix, rather than one type of flour, and are often combined with gums to add elasticity to the product. Though the food costs of gluten free flours and gluten free food in general, are generally higher than food with gluten, offering dishes that cater to this culinary trend and dietary restriction can raise restaurant profit by appealing to customers following a gluten free diet plan.