02 October 2012

Beyond all-purpose: A guide to flour

I’d be willing to bet that everyone who bakes is familiar with all-purpose flour. We all grew up with it, and it can be found in virtually every baked good on the shelf of every grocery store.

Most bakers are also familiar with whole wheat flour– all-purpose flour’s healthier sidekick. There are dozens of other flours– often healthier and tastier than whole wheat flour– that are not on the radar of the average person.

You will find that flours can be made out of just about anything and can add exciting new textures and flavors to your favorite meals. This guide will walk you through some of the alternatives. NOTE: The asterisk (*) means that this type of flour is gluten-free. Due to the lack of gluten, these types of flours may need to be blended with other flours to achieve the best results in baked goods.

Millet*– Millet flour has a natural sweetness, so you can often cut a bit of sugar out of recipes when using it. This flour is rich in protein, iron, B vitamins, magnesium, and potassium.

Barley– This grain is wheat free, but not gluten free. It bakes up similar to all-purpose flour and has a nutty taste.

Rice*– Rice flour can be made from either white or brown rice and has a sweet nutty flavor. It is very absorbent, so you may need to add more liquid to recipes. Rice flour can also be crumbly, so consider pairing it with another thickener, such as arrowroot.

Chickpea*– Chickpea flour (sometimes known as gram flour) is rich in protein, folate, vitamin B6, and thiamin. In addition to being used as a flour in baking, chickpea flour can be used at a ratio of 1:1 with water as an egg replacer.

Spelt– Spelt flour is not appropriate for people with celiac disease , but it is often tolerated by people with gluten allergies. It is an easy substitute for whole wheat flour, and has a slightly nutty and sweet flavor. 

Quinoa*– Quinoa flour is not only delicious, but it is also packed with protein. This delicate flour has a distinctive earthy and nutty taste, and is easily adapted into a wide range of gluten-free foods. You can even use it as a protein booster in smoothies!

Andee Bingham | Blog
Albany, NY Andee has been vegan for 15 years. She is a full-time freelance writer, blogger, and mama to two sweet and feisty cats, Pippi and Nora. Andee also shares her time and love, volunteering at a local cat shelter.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/grongar