You will see sweet rice flour mentioned many a time on this website. It is an ingredient in our signature Cheatin' Wheat Gluten Free Flour Blend and our go-to "dusting flour" of choice for rolling out things like pie dough, Christmas cookies and cinnamon rolls. "So what is the problem?" you say. Well, sweet rice has several other aliases and is also known as pearl rice, sushi rice, sticky rice and glutinous rice to just name a few. "Ah-ha!" you say. Now you see the confusion.
So, let's set the record straight right away, glutinous rice flour contains no gluten. Rather, the name refers to its glue-like, starchy and sticky properties. And don't let the fact that it's called sweet rice flour confuse you either. It's flavor is mild, neutral and not at all sweet. It is also important to note that brown rice flour, rice flour and sweet rice flour are very different things.
- Brown rice flour is milled from unpolished brown rice. It has a higher nutritional value and fiber content than white rice flour and is high in protein, iron, fiber and vitamin B. Brown rice flour has a slightly nutty taste and a noticeable texture. It is the most grainy of the three and since it is a heavy flour, using it on its own will create more dense baked goods.
- White Rice Flour is milled from polished white rice, has a very mild taste and is used in many gluten free products. It can be used in baked goods, to thicken sauces, as a coating, for fish and other proteins, etc. Although its flavor is innocuous enough, we still find the texture sandy and gritty.
- Sweet rice flour is made from rice that is very starchy and has exceptional binding qualities. Although referred to as a flour, sweet rice flour is much higher in starch than regular brown or white rice flour, and has the consistency of powdered sugar. It is used more like a starch than a "flour".
Luckily, sweet rice flour is easy to come by these days. You can find it online, at Asian Markets or even you own grocery. Happy Baking!