Rice flour is gluten-free because it is milled from a gluten-free grain. It is often used as a substitute for wheat flour in baking, but due to the lack of gluten, it requires other ingredients for binding such as tapioca starch, guar gum or xanthan gum. However, some rice flour may not be gluten-free, due to cross-contamination at the flour mill – check with your supplier if this is important.
Some types of rice flour:
- White rice flour – highly refined, generally best as a thickener or in combination with other flours; white rice flour is made from white rice and has a fine, powdery texture
- Brown rice flour – milled from the whole grain, so more flavour and nutrition than white rice flour; often not milled fine enough for baking, so select carefully
- Glutinous rice flour (also sweet rice flour) – made from white glutinous rice, better for baking than white rice flour
- Roasted red rice flour – used for making roti, dosa, or hoppers, especially in Sri Lankan cuisine
Rice flour is used in baked goods and in many national and regional cuisines. In Middle-Eastern cuisine, it is used in the dessert mihallabiyya. In Latin-American cuisine, it is used to thicken the drink horchata. Glutinous Rice Flour is used a great deal in Asian cuisine. It is also known as sweet rice flour, sticky rice flour, and waxy rice flour. Standard rice flour cannot be used as a substitute in a recipe calling for glutinous rice flour.