Rice flour is distinct from rice starch, which is usually produced by steeping rice in lye. Rice flour is a common substitute for wheat flour which causes irritation in the digestive systems of those who are gluten-intolerant. It is also used as a thickening agent in recipes that are refrigerated or frozen since it inhibits liquid separation. Rice flour is made from ground raw rice and is used to make rice noodles and some pancakes, such as South Indian appams. It can be used to thicken soups and stews, as well as providing an alternative to wheat flour in cakes and biscuits. However, it's gluten-free so can't be used to make yeasted loaves of bread.