When I realized that I had some control over my illness through the foods that I ate I was motivated to get pretty creative in the kitchen.
Over the years I’ve dabbled with a variety of alternatives to the traditional ingredients that I previously had been cooking and baking with. And, I have found
some flours that I love and keep stocked in my pantry at all times.
So what flours should you try ... and why?
Baked goods… pastries, cakes, brownies, doughnuts, muffins… make me a happy girl.
When I realized that wheat, sugar, and dairy increased the swelling in my joints and the pain in my body I will admit to you that I grieved the loss of those delicious treats. It’s not easy to bake without flour, milk, or sugar. But, that’s when the creativity began. I researched and experimented, and I learned that I could still enjoy all of these things that I loved, I simply had to the tweak recipes and ingredients and make them work for me.
I believe that everyone has the wonderful freedom to decide for themselves what diet works for them, and for me sticking to any one way of eating, 100% of the time, doesn't seem necessary or useful. I am able to handle small amounts of gluten in my diet so do still eat wheat products but I am very careful about limiting the amount. Usually my gluten consumption comes in the form of a small slice of indulgence when there is a celebratory birthday cake within my reach! The rest of the time I focus on the flours that are easier on my system.
My Three Favorites
Almond flour is quite versatile, naturally grain free, and is full of protein and healthy fat. You can also find this flour labeled as “almond meal”. The almond meal can be used just as the almond flour but will have more texture. Although almond meal is great for use as coatings on chicken and in heartier bread, you may want to look for the finer milled almond flour if you’re concerned about the chunkier texture when baking.
Tends to be drier and absorbs moisture more than any of the other flours, so it can be a bit tricky to work with sometimes. Still, it is an excellent option for certain baked goods and is my first choice when making tortillas or flat breads. Coconut flour is high in fiber and one of the better options if you are looking for a wheat free, low carb, option.
Four Flours I Keep On Hand For Occasional Use
Made from the tapioca root, I use this flour most often as a thickener in soups. However, it is also good for baking. I’ve had success mixing a bit into my almond flour when I want a lighter scone or cake. Be careful with this flour though, it can become a bit gummy in some recipes.
Similar to tapioca flour, it is a great choice for thickening stews and sauces, and it also gives a bit of “hold” to baked breads and muffins.
Gluten Free Flour
A blend of gluten free ingredients that typically includes a combination of rice, millet, teff, buckwheat, and tapioca starch. Gluten free flour can be substituted 1:1 for all purpose white baking flour so it's great when you want to bake a traditional recipe and are unsure how to convert the recipe to make use of one of your other alternative flours.
Typically used in pie crusts and tortillas cassava flour has a similar texture to regular white flour. It’s quite high in carbohydrates though. Because of the way carbs affect the symptoms of my disease I limit my use of this particular flour.
A few other options to consider, but ones that I have less experience with, are hazelnut flour, chia seed flour, quinoa flour.
Curious about what recipes to use these flours in? Give these a try! ....