Almond flour is a great alternative to grain flour. It is versatile enough to be swapped out in many dishes despite the fact that it has completely different characteristics. Whether you want to use almond flour for its own benefits like its nutty flavor or high protein content or you just want to avoid gluten, you should keep a few factors in mind to get the best results. Here are some almond flour dos and don’ts.
Do learn the difference between almond flour and almond meal.
If you are not familiar with either of these products, it can be easy to get the two confused. No, they are not always interchangeable. The difference comes down to texture, which can affect the success of all your baked goods as well as some other almond flour applications.
Almond meal is coarse and made from almonds that are ground their skin intact. The result is a powder with a texture similar to cornmeal. Almond flour is blanched and does not have the skins. The grind is finer with the finished product having a texture more akin to wheat flour.
Do store almond flour in the refrigerator.
The almonds that are ground to make almond flour are full of oil. Like other ground oily seeds — flax seed comes to mind — almond flour is prone to oxidizing, which means that it goes rancid quickly. While whole almonds are shelf stable, grinding them exposes the inner part of the nut to the air. Refrigeration can slow oxidation and help your almond flour to last longer.
Do use almond flour in combination with wheat flour for best results.
Almond flour’s main selling point is the fact that it does not contain gluten. This is great for people who are intolerant to the protein, such as those who suffer from celiac disease. The downside of almond flour is that it lacks the binding power of wheat flour. If you are not gluten intolerant, there should be no harm combining almond flour with wheat flour. You will get the additional fiber, protein and vitamin E that almond flour provides along with elasticity of wheat flour.
Do let almond flour baked goods cool before removing them from a baking pan.
One of the downsides of being gluten-free is the fragility of many baked goods made entirely with almond flour. In particular, cookies and pie crusts that contain no wheat flour make be particularly fragile immediately after removing them from the oven. It is best to wait a few minutes before removing them from the pan as this can allow them to harden and not fall apart on contact.
Do use commercially made almond flour for convenience and to ensure consistent results.
Because almond flour consists entirely of ground almonds, it is possible to make it yourself. Simply place some almonds in your food processor and pulse until they are ground. You will have to be careful to stop grinding them before they reach the butter stage since going too far produces almond butter. You will then have to sift the ground almonds to separate the finest particles, which are what you will use in almond flour recipes.
Don’t go overboard when consuming almond flour baked goods or foods.
Whether or not you are gluten intolerant, almond flour can be a healthy addition to your diet when you consume it in moderation. If you eat too much of it, almond flour may contribute to serious health problems. Almonds have a high concentration of omega-6 fatty acids that can cause inflammation, which means that going overboard with almond flour can increase your risk of inflammation-related health conditions including heart disease. It is also rich in the oxalates that cause kidney stones.