GAPS-friendly baked goodies…
It may seem like a tall order, but I have the answer: almond flour.
As a nutritional therapist and GAPS practitioner, I get a lot questions about almond flour. Many of my GAPS clients miss their favorite baked treats from time to time. And almond flour usually fits the bill!
Almond flour is nothing more than ground almonds, yet it has important qualities. Let’s talk about them.
Why Use Almond Flour?
Almond flour is a wonderful alternative to wheat and other gluten-containing flours. Almonds are nuts, so it’s also grain-free. People sensitive to grains or on a gut-healing protocol like GAPS can often eat almond flour goods.
However, it’s not for everyone. Obviously, those allergic or sensitive to almonds or nuts in general won’t be able to tolerate it. And anyone with oxalate issues is wise to avoid almond flour because it is high in oxalates.
(If you answer to either of those descriptions, check out A Primer: Baking With Coconut Flour!)
Almond Flour Vs. Almond Meal
Say you’ve started exploring alternative baking flours, and you’ve seen almond flour referred to as both “almond flour” and “almond meal”. Is there a difference?
Well, many people use the terms interchangeably.
However, I think this is confusing. 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 often includes the skins, and I’m not a fan of this. Why? Almond skins contain phytic acid — an anti-nutrient that inhibits mineral absorption.
You can skip this hassle simply by purchasing blanched almond flour!
Blanched almond flour comes from almonds without skins. I buy and use this in all my almond flour recipes. Double check before purchasing that your favorite brand of almond flour has had the almond skins removed by steam — without chemicals. If they have used chemicals, opt for blanched almond flour instead!
Baking With Almond Flour
Now you know what almond flour is. How do you use it?
Because blanched almond flour is so finely ground, it substitutes 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 modifying a family recipe to use almond flour, substitute it at a rate of 1:1 with wheat flour and go from there. You may need more almond flour, so increase till you get the desired consistency. Most often, this method works nicely.
Keep in mind that almond flour does not contain gluten, so it will not behave the same way in loaves of bread. But, muffins and the like 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 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?
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