Unconventional Organic Flours Add a Twist to Conventional Recipes
Did you know that there is a great variety of organic flour to choose from, even if you’re trying to eliminate wheat from your diet? It may take some trial and error to get your recipes where you want them but with all sorts of gluten free organic flour options, there’s surely a variety that will work for your needs.
Using these different types of organic flour also means that you’re going to be getting a broader range of nutrients than if you just used organic wheat flour. If you’re not avoiding wheat and you want to increase the nutrition in your baked goods, just substitute a small amount of a different organic flour for the wheat flour in your recipes.
Let’s take a look at some of the more unusual varieties of organic flour and how to use them:
Organic Millet Flour – This type of organic flour is best used in combination with wheat flour, either to reduce the overall gluten content or to add nutrition and color to your baked goods. As a substitution, use no more than 1/3 millet flour in place of the same amount of wheat flour in your recipe.
Organic Amaranth Flour – Originally from South America, amaranth flour can be used to replace up to ¼ of the wheat flour in your recipes. It is also great for gluten free baking when combined with other gluten free flours. Organic Amaranth flour is particularly high in lysine, an amino acid which is not typically found in other grains. It is very high in protein, fiber and phytosterols.
Organic Buckwheat Flour – One of the best plant sources of protein, buckwheat is actually a complete protein, containing all of the essential amino acids. Buckwheat is naturally gluten free – don’t let the ‘wheat’ in the name fool you. Buckwheat flour has a mild flavor that is great for pancakes and crepes. It is also a great gluten free replacement for when you use organic flour as a thickener in gravy and sauces. Used with other gluten free flours, buckwheat flour is great in cookies and other baked goods.
Organic Quinoa Flour – One of the oldest cultivated grains in the world, quinoa is high in protein, calcium and iron. When using organic flour made from quinoa, you can completely replace the wheat flour in recipes, or just use any portion of quinoa flour as a substitute if you’re just looking to increase the nutrient content of your baked goods. The high protein content can cause dishes to be heavy or sticky so experiment with using a blend of flours. Organic quinoa flour can also be used as a thickener in sauces and gravy. Because quinoa is a seed, the flour can go rancid rather quickly so store it in the refrigerator or freezer to extend the shelf life.
Organic Coconut Flour – This organic flour is made from dried, defatted coconut meat that is ground into a flour. It is very high in fiber and very low in carbohydrates, with a tablespoon containing 2.5 grams of fiber and 4 grams of carbs. A favorite of the paleo community, it has a light coconut flavor that makes a great coating for chicken and fish in place of wheat flour or cornmeal. Add extra fiber to traditional baked goods by substituting up to one third of the wheat flour with coconut flour. Coconut flour absorbs quite a bit of liquids so you’ll want to increase the amount of liquid in your recipe to compensate. Since coconut flour is naturally sweet, you can also use less sugar in your recipes.
Organic Rice Flour – Made from ground rice, this organic flour is very popular in gluten free recipes. It doesn’t add much in the way of nutrition but it is a great base when mixed with other flours, for gluten free baking. Brown rice flour is made from the whole grain, while white rice flour is made from polished white rice. The brown rice flour will contain more nutrients; however it will go rancid more quickly. Both types of rice flour work the same way in baked goods. This flour can produce grainy baked goods when used on its own so you’ll want to blend it with other flours for a better end product. An easy blend for all purpose flour substitute would be 1 cup rice flour, 1/2-3/4 cup potato starch and ¼ cup tapioca starch.
Recipes using non-traditional organic flour:
Gluten Free chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons organic vanilla extract
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buckwheat flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare two cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper. In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until blended. Add the egg, salt and vanilla extract and blend until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buckwheat flour, rice flour and baking soda. In 1/3 cup increments, stir the flour mixture into the creamed mixture and blend until smooth. Add the chocolate chips and stir. Drop large teaspoons of cookie dough onto cookie sheet leaving 2 inches between each cookie. Bake one sheet at a time in the middle rack of the oven for about 7-8 minutes until they are just barely browned on top. Remove from oven and let cookies sit for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.
Quinoa Pancakes (courtesy of Bob’s Red Mill)
2 Tb Vegetable Oil
2 cups + 1TBS Water
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
4 tsp Baking Powder
2 cups Organic Quinoa Flour
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Add liquids and whisk to mix. Preheat pancake griddle until a drop of water will “dance” on it. (Oil or spray griddle as needed). Spoon batter onto hot griddle to make pancakes about 4-5” across. Turn when edges seem dry (they won’t brown much because they don’t contain sugar). Keep cakes warm while you cook remaining cakes (or cool on racks to use as flatbread). Batter may thicken as it stands. Before spooning subsequent rounds of cakes on the griddle, stir in 1-2 tablespoons of water as needed. Makes 12 pancakes.
Gluten Free Banana Muffins
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup amaranth flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/3 cup xylitol
1/3 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
2 mashed bananas
1/2 cup almond milk
1/3 cup liquid coconut oil
2 tbsp ground flax
Preheat oven to 350. Blend all of the wet ingredients then add the flax to the wet mixture. Whisk together the dry ingredients then combine the wet with the dry. Pour into muffin tins (makes 10) and bake for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.