July 25, 2024

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Health is wealth

A Curious Eater’s Guide to Alternative Flours

5 min read

The COVID-19 pandemic boosted fascination in numerous domestic pastimes, but baking arrived out on top. Sourdough starters became a kitchen area staple, and shut-up pictures of homemade banana bread experienced their minute on Instagram. Then there was a run on baking supplies in the spring—when staples like wheat and bread flour sold out, numerous home cooks turned to choice flours like oat and quinoa.

But it can be challenging to stick the landing on your homemade baked goods with something like rice or coconut flour. Non-wheat options have diverse nutritional profiles than wheat flour, and most don’t incorporate gluten. That is a wonderful selling position for any person on a gluten-cost-free diet program, but it has a big impression on texture. Gluten provides dough its doughiness, aiding it extend and rise, trapping air bubbles, and making the concluded product chewy and fluffy. Never fret—as extensive as you know how your decision can impact density, texture, and dampness, you can make wonderful factors with choice flours.

No matter whether you are seeking to experiment due to the fact of shortage, a gluten intolerance, or culinary curiosity, here’s a valuable guide to the alternative flour landscape.

Oat Flour

You can acquire oat flour at the retailer or make it by yourself by grinding rolled oats to a wonderful powder in a foods processor or blender. Elliott Prag, guide chef at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, clarifies that oat flour absorbs extra liquid than other flours, which makes for drier, denser baked goods. It is wonderful in pie crusts or granola bars, but you’ll need to include a tiny additional liquid or body fat for dampness. If you are making bread, cake, or anything which is meant to be fluffy, you can not use only oat flour—the batter or dough will not rise. But if you even now want to add flavor and a crumbly texture, try mixing a few sections all-purpose flour with 1 element oat.

A quarter-cup serving of oat flour has a identical nutritional profile to all-purpose flour. It is primarily carbs—22 grams—with 4 grams of protein and two grams of body fat. It also packs in a few grams of primarily soluble fiber, which gels up when blended with liquid, slowing digestion and decreasing LDL cholesterol (the lousy variety).

Almond Flour

Whilst conventional wheat flour is made up of primarily carbs, almond flour is primarily body fat: 15 grams of it in a one hundred seventy-calorie quarter-cup serving. It has fewer carbs and more protein than conventional flour, with six grams of each and every, and it’s total extra calorically dense. The higher body fat written content keeps factors moist but can also weigh factors down. Prag endorses doctoring your recipes with substances that include rise, like eggs or baking soda, as well as include-ins that can assist lend some framework, like bananas. Almond flour is flavorful, making it a wonderful choice for a dense, nutty cake or a sweet quickbread.

Coconut Flour

Coconut flour has an even stronger style than almond, so Prag endorses employing it in recipes with complementary taste profiles, like pineapple upside-down cake or banana bread. Whilst its considerably higher body fat content—four grams per serving—makes for denser baked goods, it’s even now primarily carbohyrates. Eighteen grams of carbs lend sweetness and starch, so you can still get a cakey crumb when you bake with coconut flour. Just be completely ready to experiment with additional leavening brokers like eggs, baking soda, or baking powder. A 120-calorie quarter-cup serving has 4 grams of protein, which adds a tiny little bit of chew. One particular thing to note: all that body fat is saturated, which the Dietary Guidelines for Individuals advocate restricting to no extra than ten per cent of your total day by day calories. That is about 22 grams for men and women who consume two,000 calories per working day.

Chickpea Flour

Chickpea flour has traditionally been used in Mediterranean cooking to make carb-wealthy dishes like socca, a chickpea pancake. These times, men and women are employing it to make all types of baked goods—including a mean gluten-cost-free pizza crust. Its high starch written content will help bind batters and doughs jointly, not like crumbly oat or almond flour. With 120 calories, 1 gram of body fat, 21 grams of carbs, and 5 grams of protein, a quarter-cup serving is just about identical to all-purpose flour in terms of calories and macronutrients, but it has the added reward of 5 grams of fiber, which is wonderful for digestion and total overall health. 

Rice Flour

Kimberly Hansan, who wrote an whole cookbook about rice flour, explains that it has generally been a staple in Eastern cultures—it just comes about to be booming in Western cooking suitable now thanks to the rise of gluten-cost-free diet plans. Rice flour has nearly no fat and just two grams of protein—about half of what’s in all-purpose flour. It is higher in starch, with 24 grams of carbs per quarter-cup serving, which indicates it can bind doughs jointly and produce a chewy texture. Whilst rice flour is traditionally used in dense, flat recipes like scallion pancakes or noodles, it also operates for baking since it’s nearly flavorless and rises conveniently. Just be absolutely sure to use baking powder or soda to assist produce and lure air bubbles.

Quinoa Flour 

Although quinoa has been a essential element of South American cuisine for hundreds of years, the thought of grinding it into a flour did not definitely get keep until gluten-cost-free diet plans became popular. It has a little bit extra body fat than all-purpose flour—two grams per quarter-cup serving—but is if not identical, with most of its one hundred and five calories coming from carbs. Prag clarifies that quinoa flour bakes similarly to oat flour, generating a denser, extra crumbly texture. You can attempt mixing all-purpose and quinoa flour in a a few-to-1 ratio to add nutty taste to bread without sacrificing that squishy, chewy texture. If you are doing work with just quinoa flour, opt for a thing like muffins or pancakes.  

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