Can I substitute corn flour for wheat flour in corn bread recipes in order to make them gluten free? And if not - what other flours could be used to make gluten free corn bread?
if you use corn flour instead of wheat flour, your bread will turn out rock-like. you definitely need another flour. i have not actually made a gluten-free cornbread (though i do bake other gluten-free things), but i would try brown rice flour or a combination of brown rice flour (about 70%) and tapioca starch or sweet rice flour (about 30%). my experience with other gluten-free baked goods (quick breads in particular) is that they're better on day 2, especially when they're toasted.
My cornbread recipe calls for only cornmeal. I think you'd need to start with a recipe like that. and vvanessa, my cornbread is not at all rock-like.
The role that gluten plays in wheat flour allows the bread to rise - the gluten molecules allow the flour to bind but expand (or something like that - I think). So if you sub corn flour for a recipe that is supposed to have wheat flour, and therefore gluten, your bread will indeed be rock like because the corn just will not react with the other ingredients the way the wheat does and it won't rise properly. But if you start with a recipe like ChefJune's that didn't have any gluten in it to begin with, you should be fine! The recipe will be designed to react and rise without the gluten. So I think both of the answers above are correct - in no way does corn bread have to have wheat it in to be light and fluffy, but just subbing corn flour for wheat flour won't work. I hope that makes sense...
In my experience, you can substitute either buckwheat flour or spelt flour with excellent results!
LornaFarris, I've made my cornbread recipe with spelt flour and had great results. I would try that or a storebought/homemade gluten-free baking mix before trying corn flour. Please let me know how it turns out for you!
My favorite corn bread, even before the gluten issue couldn't be ignored, is from the Goldbeck's book, American Wholefoods Cuisine. House Corn Bread includes yogurt, egg and baking soda. It's not high and light, but tasty. There's also a muffin with corn and cooked rice; I haven't tried it.
Another good resource is Crescent Dragonwagon's book, The Cornbread Gospels. Wonderful book, many recipes are gluten free (and far more than cornbread, but plenty of them).
I did try a Thanksgiving stuffing with a gf cornbread, but it did not hold together in with all the other ingredients. I'm trying polenta this year.
I just happen to have posted yesterday on my blog a riff on my cornbread recipe:
I used some ground sunflower seeds in it and the flavor is amazing. The texture is also soft and perfect even 2 days later!
I made cornbread for stuffing with a mixture of corn flour and coarse ground cornmeal recently. I used the Epicurious corn bread for stuffing recipe. The cornbread really fell apart when I stirred the ingredients together. But as a stuffing, it was tasty. And the larger chunks were not at all rock like.