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Potato starch and potato flour: what’s the difference?

Added on December 7th, 2012
Found in Baking, Flour Gluten Free, Gluten free, Gluten free cakes

Recently, a customer contacted us, looking for potato starch. Her husband had just been diagnosed with various allergies, and on his list of approved foods was potato starch, with a note that this was not to be confused with potato flour.

Unfortunately, this did then cause a great deal of confusion, as we attempted to sort out just what we had, and what exactly the difference was. I thought writing about it here might help anyone who is similarly confused.

In a nutshell, here’s the difference:

Potato starch:

This is starch extracted from potatoes and then refined. It is fine in appearance and completely white. It’s a very useful starch – good for binding and neutral to the taste. In general, it’s used as a thickening agent (though in fact, has uses ranging from photography and wallpaper, to junk food!). It’s gluten-free, so popular with coeliacs, and also used in Jewish cooking at Passover, where it fits the dietary restrictions of this time.

Resistant Starch:

Another really interesting thing about potato starch is its use as a resistant starch, highlighted by those following a Paleo Diet ( or Cave Man diet ) – basically it acts as a form of fibre which promotes bowel heath and general health. Have a look at the blog Marks Daily Apple for lots more information.

Potato flour:

this is a flour, not a starch, made by crushing, grinding and dehydrating cooked potatoes. The flour is heavy and yellow-ish and has a strong potato flavour. It is generally used in baking where the end-product needs to retain moisture, such as bread or loaf cakes. On occasions, it’s also used to give a more potato-y flavour to a dish, such as potato soup. This too, is a gluten-free food.

We do not sell potato flour at Naturally Good Food.

We do sell potato starch, (click here to see it on our site)

but – and let’s just complicate matters a little more – we list it on our website under  both ‘potato starch’ and ‘potato flour’. That might seem extremely contradictory, but we have found that many of our customers search for the starch under the wrong name, and we need to be able to point them in the right direction!

As a final contradictory note, ‘potato starch’ and ‘potato starch flour’ (another term you may come across) are exactly the same thing. They are both ‘potato starch’, and are stocked by us. Neither of them are potato flour. Phew!

If, like our customer, you need potato starch, you can order from us with confidence. We stock two pack sizes, from Infinity:

  • 500g pack, at £2.99, with our usual 10% case discount.
  • 25kg pack, at £97.02, for bulk purchasers, such as small manufacturers, small-scale caterers and serious home-bakers.

Scroll down either of those product pages for some great recipe ideas using this ingredient – particularly helpful for those new to gluten-free cooking.

And if you need any further clarification(!), please call us on 02476 541990 to discuss it all further.

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