It can be not very clear when starting to learn about gluten free foods. What has gluten and what doesn’t? Are there any types of wheat that are gluten free?
Wheat is not gluten free. It is the main source of gluten. However, wheat can be found under several different names, creating confusion. The only type of wheat that could be gluten free is wheat starch. Wheat starch takes the part of the grain that is not gluten and mills it into flour.
Let’s look at all the different names you may find wheat and look at how and why they are or are not gluten free. All grains in this post are a form of wheat. I have included a section with each that gives an idea for some alternatives to use instead.
Is Whole Grain Wheat Gluten Free?
Whole grain wheat is usually on the list of healthier items in our diet, gluten free.
I can easily see how this can get confusing.
However, whole grain wheat is not gluten free.
Gluten is stored inside the grain, and when the entire grain is milled, the gluten goes right along with it.
This is considered a healthier version of wheat because the outside casing is kept on, increasing the fiber content. This outside casing is also what contributes to the darker color of whole wheat flour.
Any product made with whole grain wheat, or whole wheat, cannot be considered gluten free.
Alternatives To Whole Grain Wheat
Try using other whole grain products that give the gritty, rustic feeling that whole-grain wheat typically looks for.
Flours that can achieve this are sweet white sorghum flour, teff flour, amaranth flour, quinoa flour, and brown rice flour. If you tolerate gluten free oats, this can be an option as well.
Is Kamut Gluten Free?
Kamut is an ancient form of wheat.
While Kamut has more nutritional value than its modern counterpart, it still contains gluten.
Kamut is not gluten free.
Like whole-grain wheat, Kamut flour contains more fiber as it is milled with the outer part of the grain intact. It is not bleached like all-purpose flour.
Like whole wheat, the entire grain is milled, and therefore the inner parts of the grain that contain gluten are made into flour and everything else.
Kamut is the same as wheat and not suitable to consume on a gluten free diet.
Any product made with Kamut cannot be considered gluten free.
Alternatives To Kamut
Kamut flour is used as a whole grain replacement to all-purpose flour. So lighter, fluffier flours should be used as a replacement.
A blend of sweet white rice flour, white rice flour, and sweet white sorghum flour would do very well. You likely want to add tapioca starch as well.
Is Wheat Starch Gluten Free?
Wheat starch is made from the wheat grain, but the process is a little more complicated than making flour, and the result may or may not have gluten.
In general, wheat starch is not gluten free.
However, there is a process to make gluten free wheat starch where the gluten is washed out and removed. To be considered “gluten free wheat starch,” it must test below 20ppm (parts per million).
If you follow a gluten free diet and wish to eat wheat starch, make sure it is labeled as gluten free wheat starch or that the end product you are buying tests below 20ppm. Anything that tests above 20ppm is not considered a gluten free product.
Alternatives To Wheat Starch
There are so many alternative starches out there that are naturally gluten free.
Tapioca starch, potato starch, corn starch, and so forth.
If you are looking for a replacement for wheat starch, you will want to find one that is maybe blended with sorghum, teff, or brown rice flours.
Is Durum Gluten Free?
Durum is another strain of wheat. This one is known for being durable and hard. It is usually used to make pasta.
Durum or Durum wheat is not gluten free.
When making durum wheat flour, the entire grain is milled and combined. Gluten is stored inside the grain and, during the process, is not separated. Durum contains gluten.
No products made with durum as an ingredient can be considered gluten free.
Alternatives To Durum
Durum flour tends to be used in recipes such as bread. These can be complicated to replace, and you should take care of what you are trying to do in your recipe.
The most successful replacement is likely going to be a flour blend and not one flour. If you are looking for flour with a whole grain taste and texture, try finding a blend that uses brown rice, teff, and sweet white sorghum flour as the main ingredients.
Is Emmer Gluten Free?
Emmer is a grain originating in Europe and Asia. This is the type that is generally used for breakfast cereal.
The emmer grain is a form of wheat and one of the predecessors of modern wheat.
Emmer is not gluten free.
The emmer grain is ground up whole. Gluten is stored inside the grain, so gluten is incorporated throughout the flour when the entire grain is used.
No products made with emmer as an ingredient can be considered gluten free.
Alternatives To Emmer
While emmer and farro are the same things with different names, emmer tends to be used for flour, while farro tends to be used whole in a recipe.
If you are using it whole, try toasting brown rice with some olive oil before following the rest of the recipe.
If you want to use it as flour, try replacing the emmer with brown rice flour, sweet white sorghum flour, or quinoa flour.
You will want to make sure to add starches or starchy flours like white rice flour, sweet white rice flour, or tapioca flour.
Is Farro Gluten Free?
Farro is the name that emmer has been given in the United States.
Farro is an ancient form of wheat. Sometimes it is sold as healthier than wheat, but this is not due to the gluten contents of this grain.
Farro is not gluten free.
No products made with farro as an ingredient can be considered gluten free.
Alternatives To Farro
Farro recipes use it as a whole grain without breaking it down.
The best replacement is brown rice. However, I’d take dry brown rice and toast it up in a pan with a little olive oil before cooking it using a farro recipe.
If you tolerate oats, you may try gluten free steel cut oats or quinoa as a replacement.
Is Einkorn Gluten Free?
Einkorn is another form of ancient wheat.
Sometimes these ancient forms are billed as healthier because they are non-GMO and have not been hybridized.
This has nothing to do with whether it is gluten free.
Einkorn is not gluten free.
If you need to avoid gluten, Einkorn is never a safe option for you.
No products made with Einkorn as an ingredient can be considered gluten free.
Alternatives To Einkorn
If you are trying to replace Einkorn flour in a recipe, you can try amaranth or brown rice flour.
The purpose of it in many recipes is to get a rustic or homemade feeling.
Sorghum can work really well for this, even sweet white sorghum flour.
I do find that I need some starches or starchy flours to go with it, like white rice or tapioca flours.
Is Triticum Gluten Free?
Triticum is part of the scientific name of wheat, Triticum aestivum.
Triticum can sometimes pop up on an ingredient label when they are using scientific names for the ingredients. It can also appear as a compound or when it is changed in any way.
Triticum is not gluten free.
Any ingredient labels with Triticum should not be considered gluten free.
Alternatives To Triticum
Since Triticum is just wheat in a general form, many gluten free alternatives are available.
To replace Triticum, you can use tapioca, quinoa, rice, teff, amaranth, buckwheat, and more.
Are Wheat Berries Gluten Free?
Wheat berries are unprocessed wheat grain. They are sold as a whole grain.
Wheat berries are not gluten free.
Sometimes they can use wheat berries in products that are not food. I have found them stuffed inside of neck warmers.
If someone has a wheat or grass allergy, this could cause a reaction and not be considered a gluten free item.
Any products with wheat berries on the ingredients list should not be considered gluten free.
Alternatives To Wheat Berries
If you are replacing wheat berries in a soup, try using whole grain brown rice.
You may also find that quinoa or amaranth can make a good substitute.
One of the things that wheat berries are used for in recipes is to toast them for a nutty flavor. You can get this by chopping up nuts or toasting brown rice.
If you are looking for an alternative for a craft project, try using dry rice or beans.
Is Bulgar Gluten Free?
Bulgar is the whole grain of wheat. This form of whole grain is unprocessed and is used whole. It is not typically made into flour.
Bulgar is not gluten free.
If you are following a gluten free diet, bulgar is not something you should consume.
Any products made with bulgar should not be considered gluten free.
Alternatives To Bulgar
Since bulgar is usually cooked in whole grain form, most other whole grains will usually work as a replacement.
If you tolerate oats, try replacing bulgar with gluten free oats, especially steel-cut oats.
You can also try brown rice, corn, quinoa, or amaranth as options to replace bulgar in a recipe.
Any whole grains that do not contain gluten should work well.
Is Semolina Gluten Free?
Semolina is made from durum wheat. It is used to make pasta and is known to stop the pizza from sticking to the stone.
Semolina is not gluten free.
No products made with semolina as an ingredient should be considered gluten free.
Alternatives To Semolina
The best alternative to semolina will depend on the cooking method.
For the best results with pizza, I have found corn flour, grits, or polenta to be perfect options.
As an alternative to cooking pasta, a mix of rice, corn, and quinoa are my favorites.
Is Spelt Gluten Free?
Spelt is an ancient form of wheat. Many people prefer this because it is non-GMO and has not been hybridized.
Spelt is not gluten free.
This one has caused some confusion because spelt is marketed as having a lower gluten content.
Modern wheat has been bred to have a higher gluten content because more gluten makes baking much easier. However, spelt still has a significant amount of gluten.
If a product has spelt on the ingredients list, it should not be considered gluten free.
Alternatives To Spelt
Spelt products tend to be more whole-grain-like. To achieve this same result, you can try using other whole grains. Teff, amaranth, sorghum, and brown rice flour get that gritty feeling of whole grains to add to a product.
If you add these, you will want to blend some starches or tapioca or white rice flours to offset the gritty texture.
Everything on this list is another name for wheat.
Hopefully, the alternatives in each section helped you find a suitable replacement for your recipe.
If you would like to learn about how great gluten free flour can be and how it is better than wheat, follow this link.
If you would like to look at some different gluten free flours and their compositions to replace some ingredients above, look at this link.