Alternative Flours : A Series – #1- Almond Flour

This series is a summary of information available on the use of flours made with ingredients other than wheat.

SFC-924299-1We are fortunate to live in a time when we have not only an abundance of food varieties from which to draw but also a wealth of medical information/help on addressing food allergies.  In our “be well” society, it is fantastic to have so many alternative “flours” available to us for cooking and baking that we don’t even miss the old standard: wheat.

As you will soon gather from the following summarized information a “flour” can be produced from almost any grain, root, vegetable, tuber, grass seed, or legume that can be truly dried.  The question that occurs as a result of this fact is whether or not it is reasonable to do so or how far should we go into the land of alternatives.

1.  ALMOND FLOUR:  Starting with my personal favorite alternative, Almond Flour, please allow me to share what I’ve learned about cooking with Almond Flour, sometimes in the place of and sometimes along with wheat flour.  (I do not have food allergy to contend with therefore, I can use all-purpose wheat flour without consequence.  Those who do have gluten issues CANNOT)  Hopefully what I’ve learned will be of help to you and give you the happy result I’ve experienced.  High in protein and low in carbs, Almond Flour‘s a good source of omega 3 essential fatty acids, shown essential for brain and heart health.

My Experience: I’ve learned that you can use a little almond flour or a lot, replacing a portion of wheat (all-purpose) flour with almond flour/equal parts or replacing all the wheat flour with almond flour.  To convert regular recipes for baked goods using *almond flour, simply replace the volume of flour in the recipe with the same volume of almond flour. You will have to use slightly more leavening agent than the recipe calls for, allowing for the heavier weight of the almond flour.   Your result with 100% replacement  odds are in your favor that you’ll never really regret the difference and your item will be *gluten-free and  low-carb.

Almond Flour has become popular enough so it is available at most large supermarkets in the baking aisle; sometimes in the bulk foods section.  I buy it at Costco, divide it between 2- 1 gallon ziplock bags, freezing one until I need it.   You can make almond flour in your food processor by processing almonds, either blanched or raw until they are a fine floury texture.

Look out for:  The only types of recipes which do not lend themselves well to the use of almond flour are yeast-based  bread recipes.

Also be sure to prepare pans with butter and line your pans with parchment or bakers papers to avoid sticking. After baking,  recipes made with almond flour should be allowed to remain untouched in the pan for a few minutes, then carefully loosened with a blade before removal because these baked goods are generally more fragile than recipes made with all-purpose wheat flour.

This is a summary of information available on the use of alternatives to wheat flours for the purpose of gluten-free baking.  It is intended to offer the extreme basics and is not intended for use as a definitive or expert reference.  There is no guarantee stated or implied.

Next:  Oat Flour

©Barbara A. Ziegler/ 2014  All rights reserved


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