Baking Dog Treats with Non-wheat Flours

by Laraine

Laraine asked:
What non wheat flours have the best binding agents. My dough is too crumbly. Or do I need to add something to help it bind better? If so what?

Cheryl's response:

Hi Laraine,

Making wheat free dog treats is a bit different then baking with wheat flour. I struggled with this at first but now that I have the hang of it I actually prefer working with non-wheat flours. You can "re-roll" the dough multiple times much easier than with a wheat based dough.

One thing to note is there is a difference between "wheat free" and "gluten free." Some dogs have an allergy to wheat but do OK with other flours that contain gluten. On the other hand some dogs have dietary restrictions that require they avoid gluten all together.

One of my favorite flours to use is barley because it is pretty easy to work with. If your goal is to avoid wheat - then barley is one that I would recommend. However, barley is not gluten free.

Rice flour is probably the most common flour I've seen used to make gluten free dog treats. It can definitely be a challenge to work with. Oat flour is also possibility - but please note: while oats themselves are considered gluten free they can often be "contaminated" if grown adjacent to wheat or if processed in facilities that also process other flours. There are "certified gluten free" oats available.

Another gluten free flour that I like is buckwheat. Despite its name buckwheat is not wheat at all. In fact, it isn't a grain, it is actually a fruit seed and is related to rhubarb.

Ok, now to the heart of your question. Here are some tips for working with non-wheat flours:

  • Be sure to use enough liquid when mixing the dough. Squeeze a bit of the dough in your hand. If it seems dry and crumbly add a little bit of water until the dough will hold together.

  • Use pureed fruits or vegetables in the dough. I've had good luck using pureed pumpkin or sweet potato in the dough. Applesauce is another possibility. I don't know the science behind it but it has been my experience that the added fruit makes the dough easier to work with.

  • Use a combination of flours instead of just one kind. Often the use of two or more flours in the recipe results in a dough that is easier to work with.

Making wheat free dog treats is definitely worth the effort - especially if you have a dog that suffers from an allergy to wheat. Visit this hypoallergenic dog treats page for a little more information about allergies in dogs. You'll also find a wheat free recipe.

Hope that helps!


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Baking Dog Treats with Non-wheat Flours

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Mar 20, 2012
Thanks for your extensive answer.
by: Laraine

Thank you Cheryl for the wonderful advice. I will use it. And I did not know about buckwheat being gluten free. I use banana puree too.

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