Thursday, April 16, 2009

Potato starch vs. potato flour

A reader just asked a good question: "is potato starch the same as potato flour?". The answer is no, so I thought I'd share this with other gluten-free readers, just in case you anyone was wondering. I'm also including a link to purchase the starch online if your local health food store doesn't carry it. If you bake a lot, I recommend getting more than one bag because you use it to replace the wheat flour and you can go through large quantities in a hurry.


This answer is from Ener-G, the egg replacement people. "What is the difference between Potato Starch, Potato Starch Flour and Potato Flour?"

Potato Starch and Potato Starch Flour are the same thing. However, Potato Starch (flour) and Potato Flour are different.

Potato Starch is a very fine flour with a bland taste, that is made by removing the potato peel, made into a slurry and watery mix, then dehydrated to form Potato Starch. The Potato Starch is not cooked, thus it does not absorb much water unless it is heated. For example, it will make an excellent gravy if heated with liquid in a saucepan.

Potato Flour is heavy with a definite potato flavor made from the actual potato including the potato skin and will absorb large amounts of water because it has been cooked and contains the peel. It is not used as main flour in baking as it would absorb too much liquid and make the product gummy. Small amounts are used to increase water, hold product together and so on.

FAQ again here: I actually use Bob's Red Mill Potato Starch and this blue box Swan Swedish potato starch which is usually slightly cheaper. Here's a link where you can buy online if they're not available at your local health food store.

PS. My boyfriend always complains when I bring starches out because inevitably they get all over the place and it looks like it snowed indoors, so be forewarned and get your paper towels ready!


Kim S. said...

I would be very careful of Bob's Red Mill. Every package I've ever picked up of it has a small, very hard to find warning that their foods are processed in a facility with tree nuts!

Laura said...

Also the flour contains protein, the starch doesn't. I go anafylactic eating flour (or 'real' potatoes) but I can eat the starch without any problems.

Reinele said...

Could this be the reason why my cookies never seem to come out right? I never knew there was a difference between potato starch and potato flour and have been using potato starch for everything. Whenever I try to make cookies, they are always flat and oily looking. Could this all be due to the starch/flour?

Anonymous said...

You are correct, most red mill products do say manufactured in a facility that has tree nuts. However, The Bob's Red Mill company has 2 separate processing areas for their products. They have a dedicated gluten free facility which is shared with only 2 nuts, Hazelnut and almond. All other nut products are manufactured at the non-gluten free facility.

The customer service for Bob's red mill is great and able to answer most any allergy question.

Pharmacist in IA

Anonymous said...

What about potato starch vs. Sweet potato starch? Can one be used in place of the other?

I looked at the list of ingredients on the bag and it said "potato starch, water." I grabbed a couple small bags because I course it was the same. Now, after researching online, I am worried that they are not the same and cannot be used for the same purpose (gluten free flour mix).

Food Allergy Queen said...

I would imagine sweet potato starch has the protein removed the same as regular potato starch. It may taste different but should perform similarly.

Just like anything else, when you experiment eat only a small amount at first, just to be safe.

Let us know how it works!


Amyloo said...

Is there any specific brand that sells potato flour, or should i use those dry potatoes that you add water to make mashed potatoes to make cupcakes?

Food Allergy Queen said...

Amyloo, dehydrated mashed potatoes are not the same thing. Don't use them for baking unless your recipe specifically asks for it. In gluten-free baking, potato starch is usually used because it's more refined. You can find it at Gluten Free Mall if your local health store doesn't carry it.

Anonymous said...

I was looking for info. about my experience with potato,wheat,peanut allergy.

I am testing the potato starch,its not looking good.....I just found a wonderful dessert :( potato starch is in too many things.


Food Allergy Queen said...

Anonymous, I'm so sorry to hear about your potato allergy, that is unusual. You're sort of in the same boat as me, many of the gluten free options contain rice, to which I am also allergic. And as you know, many contain potato starch. You might try cornstarch, tapioca starch for baking, or perhaps arrowroot starch.

Good luck!


Lindy said...

I'm at bursting point because I am in fact looking for potato flour to bake with - not the potato starch. I cannot find it anywhere....please please please does anyone know where I can buy potato flour?

Delores said...

King Arthur Flour carries potato flour.