8 New Types of Flour—and How to Bake with Them

05 Nov 2013 --- Flour in bowls and spoons, studio shot --- Image by © Lisa Bjˆrner/JohnÈr Images/Corbis

Not all flours make for easy food swaps. Switch out plain white for coconut flour, oat flour, and more for healthy baking that still tastes delicious

8 Types of Flour and How to Bake with Them

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A spin through the baking aisle of your grocery store reveals a lot more flour choices than whole-wheat, self-rising, and white, with everything from einkorn flour (made from an ancient strain of wheat) to ground chickpea flour. “These flours all taste different, which may make food more intriguing from a flavor perspective,” says chef, dietitian, and Academy of Dietetics spokesperson Sara Haas, R.D.N.Plus, they’re more nutritionally dense than plain old white or wheat, says Julie Montagu, author of Superfoods. But not every flour is an easy swap, warns Haas. Check out which ones to use when.

For Pizza Crust, Try Einkorn Flour

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An ancient variety of wheat, einkorn is higher in protein as well as antioxidants when compared to regular old whole wheat flour. It’s especially rich in lutein, says Montagu, which is a heart- and eye-healthy carotenoid. Since it’s more dense after baking than other wheat flour or all-purpose flour, try it for pizza dough or other crusty breads. (It’s more proof that Healthy Pizza Is a Real Thing!)

For Baking, Try Nut Flours

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Since nut flours like almond or hazelnut flour are usually made using just the nut, you get the nutrition benefits (like protein, vitamins, and minerals) of whole nuts, says Haas. She recommends using them when you’re baking, particularly piecrusts, crumbles, cookies, and cakes.

For Crackers, Try Bean Flours

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Chickpea or garbanzo bean flours will lend a sweet, rich flavor (similar to hummus) to your dishes, says Montagu. You’ll also get the health benefits of chickpeas, like fiber, protein, and folate. It has a strong flavor, so instead of using it for sandwich bread or cookies, try using this flour in crackers—and then slather them with hummus for an extra chickpea punch!

For Dredging Chicken or Shrimp, Try Coconut Flour

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If you’re cuckoo for coconut, add some more to your dishes with coconut flour, which is made from ground coconuts. Haas recommends dusting a little bit of this gluten-free flour on when coating proteins like shrimp and chicken.

For Savory Dinner Rolls, Try Potato Flour

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Potato flour has all the vitamins and minerals of the tuber, like potassium and vitamin C. (But Are Potatoes Fattening or Healthy?) Similarly to coconut flour, it absorbs a lot of liquid, so you may want to blend it together with other flours. That sticky quality works well with denser baking projects, like dinner rolls, and can help hold together vegan baked goods, says Montagu.

For Quick Breads, Try Oat flour

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The best thing about oat flour: You can easily make it yourself. Just toss some oats into your high-speed blender and pulse, suggests Haas. Oats have more soluble fiber than any other grain, making this a heart-healthy pick. You can use it when baking, but it’s not a 1:1 ratio with all-purpose flour, so try it with more forgiving recipes and don’t be afraid to experiment.

For Pancakes, Try Buckwheat Flour

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If you buy a buckwheat flour that’s made from a sprouted grain, you’ll get digestion-friendly enzymes along with your flour, says Montagu. The nutty taste works great in pancakes, but you can also balance it out by combining it with a sweeter flour, like coconut flour.

For Baking Bread, Try Ancient Grain Flours

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Teff, sorghum, millet, quinoa, and other grains all make great flours—and have the nutritional benefits of each of these grains (like high vitamin and mineral content). They have less of a distinct flavor, so combine them with spelt or buckwheat flour when baking bread for an extra healthy twist, suggests Montagu.

 

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