Much like coconut flour, almond flour is an all-natural gluten-free flour alternative made from a single ingredient. All it takes to make almond flour is, of course, almonds!
There are two different types of almond flour – blanched and unblanched. These terms simply refer to the state of the almonds before they are ground into four. Raw almonds have a reddish brown skin on them which, in order to make blanched almond flour, must first be removed. Unblanched almond flour uses the unaltered raw almond. Many people who are used to baking with almond flour prefer blanched to unblanched almond flour because the texture is easier to work with.
Making Your Own Almond Flour
One of the downsides of almond flour is that it can be fairly expensive. If you visit your local grocery store or health food store, you might find a 1-pound bag for around $15. To save yourself some money, try purchasing it online – even with shipping costs it is much less expensive.
Another option entirely is to make your own almond flour! The process for doing so is really quite simple. Just take the desired amount of blanched raw almonds and pulse them in a food processor until they form a fine powder. Be careful not to blend them for too long or you will end up with almond butter.
Benefits of Almond Flour
After hearing about the price of almond flour, you may be wondering whether it is really worth it. Other gluten-free flours are, after all, much less expensive. Almond flour, however, is unique in that it is rich in both protein and heart-healthy fats – not many gluten-free flours can match those claims.
Almonds contain monosaturated fats, the same kind of fat found in olive oil, which has been shown to reduce the risk for heart disease. In fact, research studies have shown that substituting nuts for equivalent amounts of carbohydrate resulted in as much as a 30% decrease in risk for heart disease. Almonds are also rich in vitamin E, magnesium and potassium.
Top 10 Tips for Using Almond Flour
1. If you choose to make your own almond flour, process no more than one cup of almonds at a time – if you process too many at once you could end up with an uneven texture.
2. Almond flour can generally be substituted for traditional flour at a 1:1 ratio but you will need to make other adjustments in the recipe.
3. Keep in mind that almond flour is less absorbent than traditional flour so you will need less liquid in your recipes – there is no exact formula so test a small amount before you bake the entire batch.
4. Almond flour has a slightly sweet flavor so you may be able to get away with using less sugar or other sweetener in your recipes.
5. When using almond flour to make batter for pancakes, muffins or cakes, the batter tends to be thin and a little runny – don’t let this fool you, it will still bake up properly.
6. Unlike many gluten-free flours, almond flour does not require the addition of a binder (such as xanthan gum) when used without other gluten-free flours.
7. Almond flour tends to brown more quickly than other gluten-free flours so be careful not to bake anything at high temperature for long periods of time – cover baked goods with aluminum foil if you need to bake them for a long time so they don’t burn.
8. Because almond flour has a low carbohydrate content, it is generally not recommended for use in yeast recipes – you can, however, blend it with another gluten-free flour to help give the batter rise.
9. Eggs are essential when baking with almond flour – they help the flour to rise and stick together. Eggs also help to give baked goods a lighter texture.
10. In making your own almond flour, keep in mind that 8 ounces of raw almonds makes almost exactly 2 cups of almond flour.
Final Thoughts on Using Almond Flour
Remember, substituting almond flour for traditional wheat flour is not an exact science. Yes, there are certain additions and subtractions you know you will have to make but the ratios depend on the particular recipe.
As you are getting used to the properties of almond flour it would be wise to stick to recipes that were designed specifically for this type of flour. As you get comfortable with it, you can begin using almond flour as a substitute for traditional wheat flour.
Keep in mind that it will take a little bit of experimentation – you may need to bake your recipes in small batches, making adjustments to the recipe as needed when you see how the final product turns out. Though it can be tricky to get used to, almond flour is definitely worth the trouble.
This delicious gluten-free flour is full of valuable nutrients including protein, monosaturated fats and an assortment of vitamins. Don’t be afraid to experiment – almond flour has a great many uses. Try using it as a substitute for wheat flour in your favorite recipe for pancakes or use it to bread meat before frying!
There are plenty of almond flour recipes for you to plan and enjoy as a PrimalPal member. Start your free trial today. Start experimenting and enjoying the benefits of the diet we evolved to eat.
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