Please welcome Amy Love from Real Food Whole Health. She is a sweetheart, which I know for a fact because I got to meet her last year at the Wise Traditions conference! She’s a very knowledgeable GAPS practitioner and today she’s helping you discover easy and delicious baking with almond flour. –Wardee
As a nutritional therapist and GAPS practitioner, I get many questions about almond flour. Many of my GAPS clients miss their favorite baked goodies from time to time and need GAPS-friendly, real food alternatives — and almond flour often fits the bill! Almond flour is nothing more than ground almonds, but there are some important qualities we’ll talk about below.
Why Use Almond Flour?
Almond flour can be a wonderful alternative to wheat and other gluten-containing flours. It’s also grain-free (because almonds are nuts), so those who are sensitive to grains or on a gut healing protocol like GAPS can often eat almond flour goods.
While many people can eat and enjoy almond flour, it is not for everyone. Obviously, those allergic or sensitive to almonds or nuts in general would not be able to tolerate it, and those with oxalate issues would probably be wise to avoid almond flour because it is high in oxalates.
Kinds of Almond Flour
If you have started exploring alternative baking flours, you may have seen almond flour referred to as both “almond flour” and “almond meal”. Is there a difference? Well, many people use the terms interchangeably to talk about the same thing.
I think this is confusing, because I believe there is a real difference. For me, almond meal is coarser and almond flour is more finely ground. I prefer the more finely ground texture of almond flour all around, but especially in baked goods.
There are further differences as well. Almond meal will often have the skins in the blend, and I’m not a fan of this. Why? Because almond skins contain phytic acid — an anti-nutrient that inhibits mineral absorption. Neutralizing phytic acid is one reason that we soak/sour nuts, seeds and many grains, so almond meal would need to be made from soaked almonds if the skins are to be included or the recipe would need to be specially formulated to include soaking. But you can avoid all this with blanched almond flour.
Blanched almond flour is made from almonds without the skins. This is what I buy and what I use in all my almond flour recipes. Because the skins are removed, there is no phytic acid and the flour does not require any soaking. You’ll want to double check before purchasing, but typically the almond skins are removed by steam without the use of any chemicals. If they’ve used any chemicals, skip that brand and opt for blanched almond flour which has undergone the steam process only.
Baking with Almond Flour
So now you know what almond flour is, how do you use it? Because blanched almond flour is so finely ground, it can substitute for wheat flour in many recipes, both sweet and savory! I make a wide range of items like muffins, quick breads, tarts, cakes and even bread chicken and fish — all with blanched almond flour.
If you are modifying a family recipe to use almond flour, you can usually substitute it at a rate of 1:1 with wheat flour and go from there. So if you would have used 1 cup of all-purpose flour in your pumpkin muffins, try 1 cup of blanched almond flour instead and see how it goes. You might need more almond flour, so increase until you get the right consistency. Most often, this method will work nicely.
Keep in mind that almond flour does not contain gluten, so it will not behave the same way as in loaves of bread. But, muffins and the like will generally turn out great!
My Favorite Almond Flour Recipes
Here are some of my favorite almond flour recipes:
- Gluten Free/Grain Free Maple Blueberry Pecan Pancakes
- Gluten Free/Grain Free Blueberry Banana Muffins
- Gluten Free/Grain Free Stonefruit Tart
- Gluten Free Chicken Parmigiana *see notes on recipe for GAPS
- Gluten Free/Grain Free Harvest Cookies *see notes on recipe for GAPS
- Gluten Free/Grain Free Clementine Cake (also naturally dairy-free)
Also, Wardee shared these two recipes in the past: Blueberry-Lemon Muffins (pictured above) and Grain-Free Almond Bread. There are also cookbooks dedicated to baking with almond flour and many European recipes call for this traditional ingredient.
Have you tried almond flour before? What’s your favorite way to use it?
This post is shared with GAPS-Friendly Fridays.