'Tis the season for cookies, cakes, and treats… but what are you baking with? Many people have sensitivities to wheat flour and gluten, but what are the alternatives? Check out these 6 flours that you should try right now!
These flours are all gluten free, nutrient-dense, and make delicious baked goods. Of course, some are better suited for certain goodies than others, but once you start experimenting and trying out some recipes, you’ll get the hang of it quickly. Best of all, these flours add things like healthy fats, high fibre content, and metabolism-boosting benefits into your baked goods. Healthy baked goods? Too good to be true? Not when you use the right ingredients. Try these flours in your baking and let us know which one you like best!
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Almond flour is perhaps one of the most popular ingredients to use for gluten free baking. Made from whole almonds, you can use almond flour to create everything from cookies and cakes to bars, brownies, and even breads. While grains are sticky, light, and starchy, almond flour is heavier and coarser, so produces a darker, denser baked good. Almond flour baked goods may also not rise as much as wheat ones would, but they stay together nicely, are easy to make, and taste fantastic. You need to be careful when choosing and storing almond flour, though. Almond flour should be a light cream colour; if it’s dark, oily, tan, or brown, it likely has gone rancid. Furthermore, you should store almond flour in an airtight container in a cool, dark place away from sunlight (refrigerating or freezing is best to keep it fresh for weeks). Why choose almond flour? It’s heart healthy, easy to digest, balancing for blood sugars, a source of fibre, provides a plethora of good fats, and contains a number of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, iron, calcium, and phosphorous. Plus, it’s easy to use in baked goods on its own! JK Gourmet’s Almond Flour is one of our favourites—and comes with a lot so you can keep on baking. Want to learn more about almond flour and how to bake with it? Pick up Grain Free Gourmet by Jodi Bager at any Goodness Me!
One of the healthiest gluten free flour alternatives, coconut flour is made from pure, white, fresh coconut meat. It contains all the benefits of coconuts such as being rich in protein, fiber, and fat (making it filling and satisfying!), a good source of lauric acid (a healthy fat to support the immune system, skin health, and thyroid), and a great source of vitamin C, thiamin, and manganese (which supports bone health, nervous system, thyroid, and optimal blood sugar levels). While coconut flour cannot be used in a 1:1 ratio for regular wheat or grain flours, baking with coconut flour usually requires very little coconut flour to produce a delicious baked good. This is because coconut flour is very absorbent. In a recipe where you would use 1 cup of wheat flour, you might use 1/3 or ¼ cup coconut flour, making your coconut flour stretch farther in the kitchen. Coconut flour is dryer than nut flours or wheat flours, so you may need to increase the wet ingredients in your baking or just expect a dryer baked good. In fact, a lot of coconut flour recipes call for more eggs than you would usually see in a recipe. As a rule, it’s usually best to stick with a recipe when using coconut flour instead of experimenting. Once you get the hang of it, though, coconut flour is quick and great to use for baked goods, pancakes, waffles, and biscuits.
Teff is the smallest grain in the world. In fact, one kernel of wheat is equal to 150 teff grains. As a grain and as a flour, though, it packs a powerful punch. Originating in Africa thousands of years ago, teff has been used for centuries in certain cultures to make everything from breads to beverages, making it truly an ancient grain. It’s gluten free, versatile, and is a powerhouse of nutrition with high amounts of calcium, protein, iron, fiber, and other health promoting properties. Teff flour has a mild nutty flavour, making it great for baked goods like cookies, cakes, pancakes, quick breads, and muffins. Teff flour is best refrigerated to keep it fresh, and can be used in most recipes as a substitute for regular flour… but be sure to check the recipe to be certain.
Quinoa is an ancient grain that has gained much popularity over the last few years as a great gluten free substitute to rice and other grains. It likely has become a staple in many lunch and dinner meals, and is versatile as a side dish, casserole, or in a soup. Now it’s time to discover quinoa flour for your baking needs! Quinoa flour is made by grinding the quinoa plant, providing a cream-coloured, coarse flour that’s versatile and easy to use. Quinoa flour has a slight nutty flavour that might be a bit stronger than other flours, but provides an excellent taste for baked goods of any kind. You can use quinoa flour on its own as the star in a baking recipe, or combine it with other gluten free flavours like almond meal for a unique taste and texture. And the health benefits? Quinoa contains more protein than any other flour, making it a solid choice for a satisfying baked good. It also contains zinc, iron, calcium, vitamin B, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, and manganese… it truly is a powerhouse of nutrition!
Hemp seeds are another powerhouse of nutrition that are versatile, easy to use, and popular. They’re great added to yogurt or smoothies, or as a snack on their own. To make hemp flour, the oils are removed from the help seeds to produce a very fine but useful flour for baking. Hemp flour doesn’t rise, however, so for baked goods like bread or cake, you likely would need to combine hemp flour with another gluten free option to produce a “cakey” product. Once you learn your way around hemp flour, you’ll love using it in baking muffins, cookies, and pastries for its health benefits: loads of protein, good source of healthy fats, and excellent fibre content for a well-rounded, nourishing flour. It also adds a nutty flavour (similar to sunflower seeds or pine nuts) to your baked goods, making it delicious and nutritious.
If you can use nuts like almonds as a flour base for baking… why not hazelnuts? Ground from whole hazelnuts, hazelnut flour adds wonderful texture and flavour to any baked good while reducing the overall carbohydrate count. Hazelnuts have great nutritional value with loads of vitamin E and healthy fats in each serving, and these benefits shine through in the flour as well. They add a healthy boost of protein while being low in carbs, and of course the flour is naturally gluten free. You can use hazelnut flour in anything from pastries and pie crusts to cakes, cookies, and quick breads. It brings a rich, buttery flavour to your baking that provides a mouth-watering aroma and taste that you can’t find anywhere else. Or, for a different idea, try using hazelnut flour instead of bread crumbs in meatballs or as a breading for chicken or fish. It’s nutritious, rich, and oh-so-tasty! And we can't let you leave before requesting you sign up for our newsletter so you don't miss out on great content and deals!
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