As more people are turning to healthier and gluten-free ways to eat, almond flour has become more popular as a replacement for white flour. Baking with almond flour, though, can be a confusing endeavor.
I have thrown out many a recipe when using almond flour because I really didn’t understand how to use it. Hopefully, this post will teach you an easy way to use almond flour in your baking and help you avoid the mistakes I did.
Almond Flour vs. Almond Meal
The main difference between the two is that almond flour is made by grinding blanched almonds (almonds with no skins). It is not good for “yeast” bread as it cannot really be kneaded properly. You also need to provide more eggs for structure.
Uses of almond flour:
- “quick bread” recipes
- nut breads
- some cakes
Almond meal, on the other hand, is made from either whole or blanched almonds and it resembles the consistency of cornmeal. is good for breading fish and other fried foods. Be careful though as almond meal and flour burn easily.
Making Almond Flour
Almond flour can be easily made at home. Simply place almonds in a food processor and use the pulse option. Be warned, over processing almonds will lead to almond butter, which is actually very good! Remember that the finer the flour the less “grainy” your baked goods will taste.
Many homesteaders who are lucky enough to have a grain mill will process almonds into a flour using their grain mill which allows a lighter and less “grainy flour.
Buying Almond Flour
I can purchase almond flour in our local grocery stores, however, the only brand they carry is Bob’s Redmill which in my opinion made everything I baked with it feel way too moist and almost mushy. I’m told Trader Joes and Whole Foods sells a pretty good version too.
I found a brand called Honeyville that I really like and I order mine from Amazon. I’m sure there are other good sources to find it, so if you have suggestions let me know. Also, I order no more than 5 lb. bags because I don’t use it often enough to warrant ordering it in bulk.
Storing Almond Flour
If placed in the pantry or a cabinet, it will last about 2 to 3 weeks depending on the room temperature. If placing in the fridge it usually lasts anywhere from 1 to 6 months.
I store mine in the freezer in quart size freezer bags. It does freeze solid so I simply break off the amount I need when baking and place the remainder back in the freezer. I have had pretty good luck with freezing it and have kept it up until 12 months. The recommendation is 6-8 months.
If you have any doubts whether your flour is still good you can smell it. It should still smell nutty. You can also dip a wet finger into the flour, if it is going bad it will start to taste bitter.
Using Almond Flour
Using almond flour isn’t rocket science but you do need to make some minor adjustments to your recipes. The simplest way to use it as a replacement for other flour is to use 1/3 of the amount of regular flour and 2/3 of others like potato starch and rice flour.
There is no exact substitution for using almond flour in place of white flour, so try and find recipes that use almond flour so you know they have been tried with successful results.
There are some other important mentions to using this flour when baking. For example, always let the baked good sit until cool or you may end up with a crumbled mess. Also, you may want to add an egg or half of an egg for a quick bread recipe to provide more structure. Lastly, always bake at 25° lower than the recipe calls for and for a longer time. You may want to cover whatever you are baking with foil to avoid burning.
Adding Xantham Gum
If you wish to try your hand at bread making, or simply need more elasticity for your recipe you can add xantham gum. The simple rule of thumb here is for every cup of white flour you will add the following amount of xantham gum.
- bread: 3/4 tsp.
- Cakes: 1/2 tsp.
- Cookies: 1/4 tsp.
Now that you know the basics of using almond flour, you can start replacing that gluten-filled recipe with a healthier gluten-free version! Watch for my upcoming post next week on gluten free recipes using almond flour!
Do you use almond flour? Share with us your thoughts and recipes in the comment box below!