Potatoes come from the Andes, where Andean Indians have been eating them for the last 7,000 years. They prepare the tubers in many of the same ways that they are prepared in Europe and North America — they are commonly roasted and boiled. While they never made potato flour with them, they came close.
The Andean potato dish called chuno involved repeated cycles of freezing and drying the potatoes until all their moisture was removed. This is the earliest known use of dehydration to extend the usable life of potatoes. Potato flour consists of dehydrated potato that has been ground to a fine powder.
There were bread recipes in the mid-1600s that included mashed potatoes as one of the starchy ingredients. The first references to potato bread are from this era. It wasn’t until the 19th century that flour was made from potatoes.
At first, bakers probably used potato flour in their bread doughs because it cost less than other common flours like wheat and rye. They quickly found out that it makes bread taste better than wheat flour alone.
Potato flour flavor profile
Potato flour has a sweet, mild potato flavor. Along with that flavor, it can give foods a lighter and fluffier texture. Adding potato flour to baked goods like yeast bread can make them moister. One of potato flour’s most distinctive properties is that it retains more water than wheat flour. It is important to note that potato flour is different from potato starch since the two are often mistaken for each other. Potato starch has no flavor.
Health benefits of potato flour
Many of the essential nutrients that you get from cooked potatoes are present in potato flour. It is a particularly good source of:
- Vitamins: Potato flour is a rich source of many important nutrients including several B vitamins like niacin and thiamin. You also get a moderate amount of vitamin C from it, which is unusual for processed food.
- Minerals: You can get a wide range of minerals from potato flour including potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
- Protein: With 11 g per cup, potato flour cannot be considered a rich source of protein compared to other flours, but it is still a significant amount.
- Fiber: Like the potatoes from which it comes, potato flour is an excellent dietary fiber source.
Add potato flour to your diet if you want to treat or prevent health problems like:
- Constipation: The fiber in potato flour can help food to move through your digestive system more quickly.
- Gluten intolerance: Potato flour is gluten-free, which means that it is a safe wheat flour alternative for people who cannot consume gluten.
Potato flour is versatile and can be used in baked goods and as both a binder and a thickener. When using it as a thickener it is important to exercise caution since it can develop a glue-like consistency in some cases.
To make it an even more effective wheat flour substitute, combine it with other gluten-free flours like rice flour. It works especially well in the breading for fried foods since it tends to crisp up faster than wheat flour. Potato flour was one of the ingredients in the original dough for Krispy Kreme donuts, though it has since been replaced by other flours.