What is the appeal of rice flour, which is also great for gluten-free meals? Towards a healthy Japan through rice flour♪


I'm Narita, a staff member of "Kome Dreaming ~GIFT & CRAFTMita~".

We are currently experiencing a scorching heat wave where just going outside makes you sweat. How are you all doing?

Now, what kind of image comes to mind when you hear the word rice flour?

This flour is made from rice and is used in making rice flour bread.

It can be incorporated into a gluten-free lifestyle that does not include eating wheat flour.

Originally, I only had this image in mind.

I have no particular objection to eating wheat flour, so I had little interest in rice flour.

In recent years, I learned that a close friend of mine has a wheat allergy and is living a gluten-free lifestyle, which involves not consuming the gluten contained in wheat, so I went to the supermarket to look for products that do not contain wheat flour.

However, most products contain wheat flour, and there are very few gluten-free products.

I learned how difficult a gluten-free lifestyle can be when I realized that just finding things to eat can be quite restrictive.

Since then, I have become interested in rice flour, and as I have researched it, I have come to believe that rice flour could be the key to revitalizing Japan.

To explain why, this time we will focus on rice flour and explain what rice flour is, as well as the differences and characteristics of rice flour from wheat flour.

1. What is rice flour? How is it different from wheat flour?

Rice flour is made by crushing rice into a fine powder, and is made from either non-glutinous rice or glutinous rice.

Its origins date back to the Nara period, when Japanese envoys to the Tang Dynasty brought over rice cracker-like "Tangashi" sweets made from wheat or rice flour and deep-fried in molds.

This was the beginning of rice flour.

Later, when Japanese sweets developed during the Edo period, rice flour was the main ingredient used.

Since then, the number of foods using rice flour has increased, and we continue to do so to this day.

*Reference: Japan Rice Flour Association

▼ Bread made with rice flour

Its main feature is its unique chewy texture, which can be enjoyed when eaten with white bread or sliced ​​bread.

Also, since it does not contain wheat gluten, which is the source of stickiness, when used to make croissants or cream puffs, it gives them a crispy texture.

Recently, fried chicken flour made from rice flour has also become available, which allows you to enjoy a crispy coating and has the advantage of absorbing less oil than wheat flour.

Rice flour is also used to make noodles such as udon and ramen, which are whiter and more transparent than noodles made with wheat flour and have a smoother texture.

*Reference: " Glico Nutritional Food Dictionary "

2. Is rice flour good for your health?

Recently, more and more people are choosing rice flour over wheat flour for health reasons.

The most common reason for choosing rice flour over wheat flour is that it does not contain gluten.

Wheat allergy is the third most common food allergy after eggs and milk, accounting for 15% of food allergies in adults.

It is said that 0.21% of Japanese people are allergic to wheat, but most people do not experience symptoms just by eating wheat.

In most cases, allergic symptoms occur as a result of a combination of factors, such as exercising after eating or taking a fever reducer such as aspirin.

*Reference : RIKEN

Rice flour is highly nutritious and contains protein and vitamins in addition to carbohydrates.

Also, as mentioned in the previous chapter, it absorbs less oil than wheat flour and has more water, so it keeps you full longer.

3. Things to note about rice flour

On the other hand, there are a few things you should be careful of when eating rice flour.

First of all, it's high in sugar.

Although it is lower than wheat flour, since it is made from rice, if you eat too much you will end up taking in too much carbohydrates.

Therefore, it is recommended to eat fermented foods such as yogurt and fermented red beans together!

Fermented foods break down sugar and also regulate the intestinal bacteria.

In addition, rice flour hardens faster than wheat flour and is more likely to crumble because it does not have the sticky gluten.

Rice flour cakes, for example, lose their chewy and fluffy texture over time and become hard.

If it becomes hard, warm it briefly in the microwave to restore it to its fluffy texture.

One thing that people who are following a gluten-free diet should be especially aware of is that even "rice flour bread" can contain gluten.

If it doesn't say 100% rice flour, it may contain gluten to help it rise.

4. Types of rice flour: glutinous rice flour

From here, we will introduce the types of rice flour.

First, let's start with rice flour made from glutinous rice.

Mochiko : When mixed with water, it becomes sticky and smooth. It is used to make Japanese sweets such as gyuhi, daifuku, cakes, and donuts.

Shiratama flour : Soft, chewy, and smooth in texture, it is used to make shiratama dango and daifuku.

Kanbaiko : The powder is fine and smooth, and melts in your mouth. It is heated during the manufacturing process, so it can be eaten raw. It is used in Sengashi, Mamegashi, Rakugan, etc.

Domyoji flour : Made by grinding in a coarse millstone, it has a granular texture. It is used in sakura mochi and ohagi.

Next, rice flour made from non-glutinous rice.

Joshinko : It is not sticky and has elasticity and chewiness. When it is ground and sifted, the coarse powder is called "ordinary" and the fine powder is called "joshinko". It is used for skewered dumplings, kashiwamochi, and uiro.

Infant powder : Used in baby food, weaning food, and thick soup.

There is also dumpling flour made from a mix of glutinous rice and non-glutinous rice .

5. Revitalize Japan through rice flour!

Currently, demand for rice flour is also increasing due to rising wheat flour prices and growing interest in gluten-free foods.

Recently, the decline in the number of rice farmers and the expansion of abandoned farmland have become problems, but increasing demand for rice flour could lead to improvement.

By utilizing rice flour, we hope to increase the number of foods that people on a gluten-free lifestyle can eat safely, contribute to resolving rice-related issues in Japan, and help make Japan more vibrant as a whole.

To that end, Kome Dreaming will continue to search for attractive rice flour products and communicate to everyone the new and unique value of rice flour and rice today.