Today let’s continue our Grain and Gluten Free Flour Series. Not many have missed the low carb/keto/paleo/gluten free craze of almond flour. It is so frequently used because it’s a very quality grain/gluten free flour. The only main drawback is for those with an almond allergy! Almond Flour has probably become the most used of the grain free or low carb flours available. It is really easy to get your hands on, certainly less expensive than it used to be, and yields a pleasant result.
What is it?
As a general rule, almond flour is ground up blanched almonds. The almond have been blanched to remove the skins, dried, and then finely ground. This is a difference from Almond MEAL which “generally” means that the almonds still have the skins on when being ground. Almond Meal is also frequently a larger grain size than almond flour. None of this is standardized in the industry, though, so you need to look at the package when buying to determine what you are getting for sure.
Due to it being simply plain almonds, it is fairly high in fiber, high in fat, and low in carbs. Since it is naturally so low in carbs, it is frequently used in the low carb/keto world. Due to the high fat, it does lend a nice tenderness to baked goods.
How is it used?
I am not a really big fan of simply adding a random flour into a recipe to bring down the carbs. If you want to go that route, though, you can start with substituting 20-25% of the flour called for with almond flour and see how it goes. This will work in most recipes that don’t require a lot of structure from the flour (like cookies, muffins, and pancakes). There is no shame in playing around with recipes, heck it’s what I do haha, but if you want to guarantee a decent product, then grab a ready to go recipe. This will probably save yourself much grief.
Much like coconut flour, due to it being very low starch and gluten free, almond flour does not lend itself nearly as well to well-structured, lofty product. Cookies, quick breads, blondies, muffins, and pancakes are all great uses for almond flour.
Sandwich style loaves made in a loaf pan don’t stand up well with just almond flour. My favorite grain free bread mix uses almond flour, but they use several other things as well to achieve the great structure they have.
Are there any downsides?
As I said above, if you are allergic to almonds, almond flour is a bit of a no go. I would recommend pacing yourself if you are new to using it. There seems to be a phenomena for some people (even if they are not allergic to it) that it causes stomach upset if used in high quantities. We experienced this with our girls when we tried going totally grain free with them. Small quantities are fine, but not multiple servings every day. All things in moderation!
Where should I buy it?
As I mentioned in a previous post, almond flour is one of those flours where brand matters quite a bit. Even if you make sure to get flour instead of meal, the grind size can still vary. We really like the Costco brand and have found it to be consistently finely ground which gives a lovely texture to your baked good recipes. If you are looking for more of a bread crumb substitute, then a coarser grind is great; if you want to use it in baked goods, a finer grind is definitely best.
I highly recommend using almond flour as part of your baking repertoire. It lends itself to yummy baked goods, and can be a fantastic grain free and low carb flour to use.
What is your favorite way to use almond flour? Let us know in the comments or on social media!
Make it a tasty day,