Although humans have been enjoying almonds for nearly 100 years, replacing grains with almond flour is a relatively recent trend. The popularity of almond flour dates back to the early 2000s. It is during that time that people discovered that celiac, gluten intolerance and some digestive issues were brought about by wheat. Gut healing diets started rising in popularity about that time. As recommended in the GAPS protocol, one had to avoid grains on a temporary basis in a bid to seal and heal the gut wall.
Unfortunately, individuals who neither wanted grains nor gluten had very limited substitute options. Almond flour helped to fill this void, and it has become a favorite for Paleo and gluten-free consumers since then. When gluten free diets became a hit in 2010, almond flour took one of the top spots. Almond flour has continued to dominate the food industry even with the myriad of grain-free alternatives that are now available. This is not surprising considering the tons of ways that one can use it. With the best almond flour, you can make an almond cake, macarons, brownies, scones, cookies pudding and more.
The Best Almond Flours
What is the Best Almond Flour?
If you have an intolerance for gluten or have decided to cut down on your consumption of carbs, these almond flours are an excellent substitute for grain-based options. They come in an array of textures and flavors, enabling you to make a ton of savory treats.
1. 5LB Blanched Almond Flour
Are you planning to make some healthy, gluten-free snacks? If so, the 5LB Blanched flour will make an excellent ingredient. Since it’s made from skinless almonds, the flour has a super fine texture to make your baking process easy.
And if you’re Jewish, you’ll be pleased to know that the 5LB almond flour is kosher certified. Kosher certification simply means that a food is fit for consumption by observant Jews.
2. Wellbee’s Super Fine Blanched Almond Flour
The Wellbee’s blanched almond flour is the perfect choice for individuals on a low carb diet. This flour is rich in proteins but low in sugars and carbs. In fact, Wellbee’s flour has a much lower content of calories than coconut flour. This almond flour has 581 calories while coconut flour has about 660 calories.
One cup serving of the Wellbee’s almond flour also contains 23 grams of protein, 12 grams of fiber and 235 milligrams of antioxidants and calcium.
3. Bob’s Red Mill Super Fine Almond Flour
If you’re looking for an economical almond flour brand, the 4-pack Bob’s Red Mill is your best option. This flour is made exclusively from blanched almonds; hence, providing all the health perks that come with these drupes. And if you’re worried about cross contamination, you can rest assured knowing that this flour is processed in a gluten-free facility.
Bob’s Red Mill flour is available in a 16-ounce bag containing 16 one-quarter cup servings. Each serving offers about 160 calories and 6 grams protein. Based on customer reviews, this flour is ideal for both delicate culinary tasks like making French macarons and messy processes like battering.
4. Blue Diamond Finely Sifted Almond Flour
California almond growers supply at least 80% of the world’s almonds, and Blue Diamond is the state’s main almond cooperative. This company takes part in every aspect of the almond processing, so as to provide flour of the highest quality.
With this package, Blue Diamond provides 1 to 3 lbs of finely ground almond flour. The flour is suitable for stringent followers of Paleo and Keto diets. It’s also ideal for individuals who have an intolerance for gluten.
5. Kirkland Signature Almond Flour Blanched
Known for its high content of fiber, Kirkland Signature almond flour will serve you well when making grain-free baked products. This flour is incredibly easy to use since all the grinding has been done for you.
Kirkland Signature comes in a 3-pound bag, which is enough to make a couple of pastries. Plus, it’s pocket-friendly so you won’t have to spend too much on quality almond flour.
What is Almond Flour?
Put simply; almond flour constitutes almonds, which have been finely ground. You will find numerous almond flours being sold online and in retail stores. Buying from online vendors is usually the cheaper option.
At least 80% of the world’s almonds are obtained from California because of the favorable climate for growing almonds in this area. Another interesting fact about almonds is that they are not classified as nuts. Scientifically, an almond is a drupe. Drupes are described as fruits consisting of outer skins, pulpy middle and hard shells.
The seeds of these fruits are the ones used in making almond flour. Almond flour is made by first removing the skins of the fruits in a process known as blanching. The almonds extracted are then ground to form a fine texture.
Also important to note is that almond flour is different from almond meal. The latter is made using almonds with their skin on so it results in something different.
As with any food product, you should be careful when choosing almond flour, whether you’re buying from your local store or online. Whenever possible, purchase from a manufacturer who has a transparent production process.
The Benefits of Almond Flour
Almond flour is the perfect substitute for those who experience allergies when they take gluten-based products. Not only is almond flour gluten-free but it’s also low in carbs. The fact that it’s gluten-free means that it does not cause many of the issues brought about by conventional flours.
Another perk of almond flour is that it’s chock full of nutrients. In fact, it contains a nearly identical nutrient profile as whole almonds. It’s important to take note of this as almonds provide the most nutrients than any other nuts and drupes.
For starters, almond flour contains the essential omega 3 fatty acids. These are needed for blood clotting, to promote the growth of brain cells and to prevent stroke. From one serving of almond flour, you will get about 11 grams of fat, 7 grams of which are the healthy monosaturated fats and less than 1 gram is saturated fats. Almond flour is also rich in vitamin E, which serves as an antioxidant.
The health perks of almond flour can be summed up as follows:
As mentioned earlier, almond flour has a high content of monosaturated fats, which are regarded as a good form of cholesterol. As such, these nutrients help to ward off cardiovascular problems including heart attacks, stroke and atherosclerosis.
Based on several scientific studies, it has been discovered that consuming almond flour on a regular basis has anti-cancer effects, especially with regards to colon cancer. Almond flour is said to have certain ingredients, which discourage the formation and spread of cancerous cells.
If you’re looking for a healthy source of carbohydrates, almond flour is the ultimate remedy. Unlike the basic sugars found in conventional flours, almond flour contains healthy carbs that will boost your energy levels.
If you take into account the nutrient density found in almond flour, you will realize that it helps you feel satiated for longer, a factor that will help you lose weight faster.
Since almond flour does not contain any of the simple sugars incorporated in conventional flours, it makes it easier to control the release of glucose and insulin. This is crucial for diabetics or those who have a high risk of getting the condition.
Almond flour provides at least 10% of your daily dietary fiber requirements. Not only does almond flour improve your digestive health but it also boosts your peristaltic motion while also keeping the symptoms of constipation and diarrhea at bay.
Almond flour is rich in iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium. All these are nutrients essential for bone mineral density. These nutrients prevent the occurrence of bone diseases such as osteoporosis.
Growth and Development
Another perk of almond flour is that it contains copious amounts of protein, making it ideal for the overall growth and development. These proteins are also essential for the repair and recovery processes throughout your body.
What Are the Benefits of Blanched Almond Flour?
Put simply; these are nutrients which are required in large amounts to help with different processes throughout the body. There are three main macronutrients namely: proteins, carbohydrates and fat. Almond flour is rich in all three macronutrients, which is what makes it such a popular ingredient in recipes. A simple one-quarter cup of almond flour will give you at least 4.6 grams of carbohydrates, 5.2 grams protein and 3 grams fat. The carbohydrates obtained from almond flour are the primary source of energy for your brain. Proteins are a must-have if you want to have a strong immune system and experience healthy cell growth. The polyunsaturated fats present in almond flour help to provide omega-3 fatty acids, which are required in blood clotting and brain cell growth.
As you might have guessed, micronutrients are those nutrients required in trace amounts. These are elements such as vitamins and minerals. And the good thing is that almond flour also has a good amount of micronutrients. In fact, just an ounce of almond flour adds 6.8 milligrams of vitamin E to your diet. Vitamin E is an excellent antioxidant that is essential in preventing cell damage and cardiovascular complications. From one-quarter cup of almond flour, you will also get 0.8 mg of iron, 57.4 mg of calcium, 65.2 mg of magnesium and a whopping 160.4 mg of potassium. Calcium is the nutrient that strengthens your bones and teeth. It also aids the circulatory system in transporting enzymes and hormones to different parts of the body. Potassium, on the other hand, helps in controlling blood pressure.
If you use almond flour for most of your culinary tasks, learning how to make this product can save you huge amounts of money. Besides, making almond flour is not a complex process. Start by removing the skins of the almonds. Next, put your whole almonds in a bowl containing boiling water. Allow the almonds to sit in this water for a minute or so before extracting them using a strainer. Do not allow the almonds to remain in the water for too long as they may end being too soft.
Upon extracting the almonds, give them time to dry then place them in a grinder or blender for processing. The end result is finely ground flour, which you can use for macarons or waffles. If you have any recipe that requires wheat flour, you can use your newly prepared almond flour in its place. Ideally, the gluten present in wheat flour is what causes the baked item to rise. Since almond flour does not have this agent, you may have to mix the two flours if you want your pancakes and scones to have this fuller texture. You can use half a cup of wheat flour and a half a cup of almond flour.
Another nutrient that almond flour abounds in is protein. If you want more protein in your diet but don’t wish to add any meaty products, then almond flour is your best bet. Almond flour also helps to balance out your meals, especially when it’s served alongside fruits and vegetables. As mentioned earlier, almond flour contains dietary fiber, which helps to smoothen the digestion of fruits and veggies.
For a tastier meal, consider coating your fish, chicken and chops in almond flour. You can also incorporate fresh berries to the almond flour to boost its nutrient content. Other ingredients that you can experiment with almond flour include eggs, canola oil, coconut milk, flax meal and honey. And if you’re a strict follower of gluten-free diets, almond flour is the perfect option for baking needs.
Unblanched Vs. Blanched Almond Flour
If you’ve tried shopping for almond flours, you may have come across these two terms. So what is the difference between blanched and unblanched almond flour?
Blanched simply means that skin has been removed from the almonds. Raw diamonds usually have a red-brownish coat enclosing the fruit. To a large extent, it is this skin that determines the texture of the ground flour.
In contrast, unblanched means that the flour was made using whole almonds together with their skins.
How Is an Almond Blanched?
Blanching almonds is an easy process. Just put them in boiling water and leave them for a minute or two. Once you drain the water, you will notice that the skin comes off more easily.
What Are the Differences Between the Two Types of Flours?
There are considerable differences between blanched and unblanched flour. These flours vary significantly in terms of their weight, texture and appearance.
Unblanched Almond Flour
Considering that unblanched almonds retain the skin, these almonds have a red-brown color. Similarly, the flour made using these almonds ends up with red-brown flecks. This color is transferred to the resulting dished or pastries that use unblanched almond flour as an ingredient. For some, the color makes food look appealing. However, there are those who don’t like the color changes.
Unblanched almond flour confers a ton of health benefits. These all-natural flours are said to increase energy levels and to boost skin health. But according to a report made by Breaking Vicious Cycle, unblanched almonds also have potential of causing digestive complications.
Blanched Almond Flour
A majority of people prefer blanched almond flour because of its fine and smooth texture. Blanched almond flour also weighs much less and makes a better ingredient when baking or cooking. Almonds are white in color. Since once their skin is removed, the resulting flour does not have any color differences. Plus, blanched almond flour offers similar nutritional perks as the unblanched.
What Are Some Good Uses for Each Type of Almond Flour?
Whether you decide to go for the blanched or unblanched almond flour, it makes a healthy ingredient for an array of recipes. You can use it when preparing cakes, pasta, pie crust just to mention a few. Perhaps the biggest benefit of using almond flour instead of conventional flour is the fact that it has a nuttier and sweeter flavor. This makes your dishes very delectable. Furthermore, almond flour is chock of macro and micro nutrients ranging from proteins to carbs and minerals. So the next time you’re preparing desserts, why not use almond flour?
How to Use Almond Flour
As seen throughout this article, almond flour has multiple uses. One of its biggest applications is in the Paleo diet, which does not allow the consumption of refined sugar and cereal garins. If you’re planning to make some Paleo-friendly pancakes, muffins or waffles, almond flour will come in handy.
Baking and Cooking with Almond Flour
Baking and cooking with almond flour is no different from baking with regular flour. There are only a couple of changes you’ll need to make. For instance, if you are switching from all-purpose wheat flour, we recommend adding an extra half of an egg.
Also, some recipes will work better with an additional egg and lower baking temperature. We recommend setting the temperature 25 degrees lower than the normal setting. If you adjust the temperature, you’ll also have to add some more cooking or baking time.
How to Store Almond Flour
Whether you’re making your own DIY almond flour or buying some from your grocery, you will need to store it well. Start by putting the flour in a well-sealed container. Next, place this container in a cool and dark place. Alternatively, you can put the flour in your freezer. The important thing to keep in mind is to keep the flour away from heat and light.
Almond flour provides more health benefits than conventional flour. As people continue shifting from grain-based and gluten-containing products, almond flour is becoming the go-to alternative. In addition to the health benefits, this flour has a somewhat sweeter taste, making it the preferred ingredient for many recipes.
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