Potato flour is a type of flour that is made from potatoes.
It is typically used as a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour.
It can also be used as a thickener, binder, and breading for chicken, fish, and vegetables.
Gluten is a group of proteins usually found in wheat, barley, rye, and spelt.
The two main proteins are gliadin and glutenin.
When mixed with water, these proteins bind the compound into a sticky lump, giving the dough stickiness and elasticity.
In addition, it traps air molecules in bread, making it rise when heated.
Roughly 5% of people worldwide are gluten intolerant, while less than 1% suffer from celiac disease, the most severe form of intolerance.
Symptoms of gluten intolerance are:
- Weight loss
- Iron deficiency
- Itchy rash
While potatoes in their pure form don’t contain gluten, some restaurants that are not strictly gluten-free might have some cross-contamination in their cooking methods.
For example, potatoes could be boiled in water in the same pot that wheat-based pasta once was.
This could be problematic with people susceptible to gluten or with a more severe disease like celiac.
Celiac disease is the most severe form of gluten intolerance.
Surfaces like pots, pans, knives, and countertops can similarly contain trace amounts of gluten that can get into potatoes or other foods that are supposed to be gluten-free.
Diligent care must be taken if preparing food for the gluten-intolerant to avoid contamination of any kind.
Utensils and kitchenware have to be frequently washed with hot water and soap washing with hot water and soap if they are intended to prepare gluten-free food.
In addition, wooden utensils and chopping boards might have minute cracks in them, invisible to the naked eye.
These cracks can trap contaminants on a molecular level and cause problems to people with intolerances.
While most fresh potatoes are pure, sometimes frozen potatoes or french fries contain a coating of wheat or flour and will not be gluten-free.
If buying seasoned or processed potatoes, always check the ingredient label for gluten-free certification.
Is Modified Potato Starch Gluten-Free?
Gluten-free facilities typically use and maintain separate sets of industrial equipment.
Great care must be taken in preparing a gluten-free meal, as some gluten intolerances can have severe consequences.
Kitchen surfaces, utensils, and cutlery have to be cleaned thoroughly with soap and water before contact with gluten-free food.
Starch is often added to soups and stews as a thickener and is commonly used for baking in countries too cold for a wheat crop such as the Nordic countries.
Potato starch is gluten-free. However, although rare, people with potato allergies can develop symptoms after consuming potato starch.
An allergy happens when the immune system mistakenly thinks a particular trigger is a harmful invader.
The body then isolates these intruders like other viruses and bacteria and attacks them, triggering an allergic reaction.
While potato starch is typically gluten-free, modified potato starch is physically or chemically treated, changing its molecular structure.
Food labels should clearly state if the starch is derived from wheat or other gluten sources.
Potato flour is an excellent alternative for those with corn allergies
. Its many water-absorbing properties make it a popular choice for thickeners, baking, gravies, and sauces in gluten-free cooking.
In addition, it can be used at high temperatures and can last longer than cornstarch.
Is Sweet Potato Starch Gluten-Free?
The sweet potato is an underground tuber that is high in fiber, carbohydrates, essential minerals, and beta carotene.
Beta carotene is a potent antioxidant that metabolizes into vitamin A.
Antioxidants are essential in maintaining balance in the body, helping the immune system fight free radicals and prevent severe disease.
Sweet potatoes are also excellent sources of vitamin B6, a mineral responsible for helping maintain blood sugar levels.
A boiled, medium-sized sweet potato contains:
In addition, unlike its distant cousin, the potato, sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index.
They could be suitable for people with type-2 diabetes to incorporate into their diets in moderate amounts.
The glycemic index of sweet potatoes primarily depends on the cooking methods.
Boiled potatoes have a relatively low GI of 44, making them suitable for people with type 2-diabetes.
In comparison, fried sweet potatoes have a whopping 96, making them unsuitable for people with diabetes.
Some of the health benefits that sweet potatoes have been credited with include:
- Lowering inflammation
- Slowing mental decline
- Reduces risk of oxidative stress
- Could prevent severe illnesses like heart disease and diabetes
- Promote gut health and maintains a healthy digestive system
- Promote eye health and prevents eye infections.
Sweet potato starch is the powder made from the sweet potato after removing the skin and pulp.
It can be used as an excellent gluten-free flour substitute in baking and thickening agents for sauces, soups, and stews.
Although sweet potatoes are an excellent addition to a healthy diet, they contain oxalates, a naturally occurring compound in plants that bind to calcium and other minerals.
Excessive levels of oxalates might cause kidney stones. When in doubt, always check with your medical practitioner!
What Is Sweet Potato Starch Made Out Of?
Starch is a type of carbohydrate commonly found in some foods like potatoes, corn, rice, wheat, and soybeans.
The two primary starches are amylose and amylopectin.
Amylose is made up of long chains of repeating units of alpha-D-glucose molecules with branches on the polysaccharide chain.
It functions as the energy storage of plants and is more difficult to digest than amylopectin, making it a resistant starch.
On the other hand, Amylopectin is made up of short chains of repeating units of D-glucosamine molecules with branching on the polysaccharide chain.
Some encouraging studies show the health benefits of eating more resistant starch.
Resistant starch moves through the digestive system largely uninterrupted until it meets the hungry gut bacteria in your colon.
These healthy bacteria called probiotics are what is keeping your gut health balanced, fighting off infections, and protecting the cells from invading harmful bacteria.
Resistant starch functions in a similar way to soluble, fermentable dietary fiber.
Sweet potato flour has been used as a low-calorie alternative to wheat flour because it contains high dietary fiber and carbohydrates levels.
In addition, they are an excellent source of vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and iron.
It also contains more calcium than calcium-fortified wheat or soy flour.
How Do You Extract Starch From Sweet Potatoes At Home?
Sweet potato starch is often used in baking bread, puddings, pies, and cakes.
To make sweet potato starch:
- Prepare a grater with a thin shred, a cheesecloth, and a large bowl
- Line the bowl with the cheesecloth
- Grate the raw sweet potatoes and place the pulp into the cheesecloth
- Squeeze the cheesecloth to extract the starch
- Keep squeezing until the liquid turns clear
- The leftover pulp can be milled into flour, added to soups and stews for textures, made into hash browns, or added to pastries
- Pour the liquid into a container, letting the bubbles settle
- Let sit for about 4 to 6 hours
- Starch is heavier and will settle at the bottom, while water remains on the top.
- Discard as much water as you can without pouring out the starch
- Add a small amount of clean water to rinse the starch again
- Stir and refrigerate the mixture for one hour until the starch settles at the bottom again
- Scoop out the water and allow the remaining liquid to evaporate until the starch feels dry
For each sweet potato, you should get approximately ¼ cup of starch.
While sweet potato starch is a healthy, gluten-free alternative to wheat flour, it is also used for commercial purposes.
In the food industry, processed food like Asian noodles, sweeteners, beverages, and citric acid can contain sweet potato starch.
The health benefits of sweet potato starch are similar to that of dietary fiber, promote healthy bowel movements and ensuring good gut health.