Gluten-free products have become tremendously popular in recent years, and non-gluten Japanese rice flour offers a safe alternative as it contains even less gluten compared to gluten-free labeled foods. More specifically, non-gluten rice flour undergoes a strict inspection criteria – containing less than 1 ppm of gluten, while gluten-free foods contain less than 20 ppm, according to the Japan Rice Flour Association.

Over the past few years, there has been a sharp rise in the popularity of non-gluten and gluten-free products. Shoppers with Celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity, along with those who are simply looking to enjoy a healthier diet, are swapping out common foods for options with far less gluten – including Japanese non-gluten rice flour.

One of the best products for people following a gluten-free diet is non-gluten Japanese rice flour. This flour adheres to the strictest standards for gluten content, which makes it one of the safest options for people with a gluten sensitivity. Additionally, rice flour contains nine amino acids (with an amino acid score of 65%), making it a great source of protein.

Cheesy rice buns

During a recent online Japanese rice flour demonstration, organized by the Culinary Institute of America along with Anna Tsumara from Japan Food Product Overseas Promotion Center (J FoodO) Chef Dianne Rossomando of The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY, associate professor, baking and pastry arts, demonstrated how to make cheesy rice buns.

The chef began by explaining that adding salt is going to help carry the flavor – and adding a little bit of sugar will add color and sweetness.

Pour the rice flour on parchment paper so that it does not clump. Then drop all of the flour into the pot at one time.

“It is going to hydrate very quickly, creating a starchy mixture that really thickens up,” the chef explains. “It will he hazy and firm – it will form a film on the bottom of the pot – when it is ready to transfer to the mixing bowl.”

Using a stand mixer, allow the steam to release while the mixer is on low speed.

Lightly whip in two eggs – one half at a time -- to a mixture that becomes “almost like a cookie dough.” It will be a bit thicker than a normal Pâte à Choux.

Then mix to combine the eggs and add parmesan cheese. Rest for 2 hours at room temperature.

“The resting period is so the starches start to really gel and then get an even shape,” Rossomando says. “The end result is there are pockets of creaminess on the inside.”

Preheat the oven to 450 F. You are looking for a quick oven spring, prior to lowering the temperature to 400 F for the final baking. You will get about 20 to 25 buns out of this recipe.

The second recipe the chef demonstrated was for gluten-free apple fritters. The addition of 5 grams of xanthan gum (1% of total recipe) gives the final dough more structure.

Use a low protein flour, the chef points out. “The lovely bonus is that it’s gluten free. You get a nice combination of flavors.”

One key ingredient is sour cream, which really can’t be underutilized, according to Rossomando, who adds, “sour cream works beautifully in a lot of our pastries.”

Mix on low speed just until the dough comes together. Fry dough pieces at 350 F.

Use granny smith apples for the tart, tanginess. Rolled in sugar, it tastes fantastic.

Bake 5 to 7 minutes at 350 F and then roll in cinnamon sugar.

“These are a great item to serve with ice cream or vanilla sauce. They are good any time of day,” the chef says.

Soy flour

As we look ahead to top trend for 2022, soy continues to be one of the reoccurring categories on the rise.

The Northern Crops Institute, based in Fargo, North Dakota, conducts training programs to help bakers include soy flour in wheat flour-based bread products. The following responses were provided by Brian Sorenson, cereal chemist in Fargo, with the assistance of Rachel Carlson, NCI food scientist.

There are a number of different soy flour options for use in baking, depending on the amount of heat treatment applied.

There are also soy flours with added soy lecithin and soy oil to replace some of all of the egg, milk and fat depending on the product.

Soy flour used in baking is often added at levels of up to 5% on a bakers’ percentage basis.

At levels of up to 5%, defatted soy flour can: Increase the protein content, as well as the nutritional quality of the protein, as the result of a improved amino balance of the final baked product.

Increase baking absorption and also retain much of the added moisture during and after baking for improved texture and freshness.

Increase loaf volume in breads, due to strengthening of the wheat gluten in the base flour.

It can provide added extensibility to the dough, which is beneficial in sheeted products, such as flat breads, pizza crusts and croissants and other laminated dough products

Soluble rice flour

Consumer demand for recognizable ingredients continues to grow, pushing food and beverage manufacturers to seek alternatives to less familiar ingredients. In response, Cargill has launched a soluble rice flour, SimPure™ 92260, that exhibits similar taste, texture and functionality as maltodextrin, an ingredient commonly used as a bulking agent and flavor carrier. 

As an ingredient, ‘soluble rice flour’ is also more appealing for label-reading consumers.

“Traditional rice flours aren’t very soluble at all – certainly nowhere near the fully soluble nature of maltodextrin,” explains Ali Weideman, commercialization strategy manager for Cargill. ‘Using its proprietary technology, Cargill overcame this hurdle, creating the first highly soluble rice flour. Equally important, Cargill research confirms that consumers view ‘soluble rice flour’ positively as an ingredient.”

SimPure soluble rice flour provides similar viscosity attributes, bulking agent functionality, and sensory profiles compared to 10 DE maltodextrin, enabling simple, one-to-one replacement in a variety of applications, including reduced-sugar bakery, convenience foods, sauces and dressings, snacks, cereals and bars, seasoning mixes, and as a flavor carrier. In some applications, SimPure soluble rice flour offers the added advantage of improved mouthfeel. For example, in powdered chocolate milk beverages, Cargill’s sensory testing found prototypes made with the soluble rice flour were perceived as creamier than the maltodextrin control.

“Consumers continue to be drawn to simple, familiar ingredients they view as less processed and better for their health,” Weideman said. “As a global leader in food ingredients, we’re keenly aware of these marketplace demands, and we support our customers with the market insights, technical expertise and a deep ingredient portfolio they need to develop food and beverage products that deliver on consumer expectations for taste, texture and label appeal.”