At the moment I can't buy plain or self raising white or wholemeal flour at the supermarket. I am talking about the ordinary stuff made from wheat most people have in the pantry. I have read this is a common problem, not just in Australia but also in other countries. It is another side effect of COVID19. When I went shopping this morning I grabbed some coconut flour which came in a 330gram bag. Not surprisingly it was considerably more expensive than basic white flour. When I got home I figured I better find out how to use it.
I have done some reading on the internet about different types of flour which can be used instead of wheat flour. It's not as simple as substituting a cup of some other type of flour for the same amount of wheat flour. Each type of flour has its own characteristics and absorbs moisture at a different rate. I think I will start learning how to use coconut flour by using a recipe designed specifically for it.
There are numerous different types of flour and many are gluten free.
Four different types of gluten free flour are -
chickpea (also called gram or besan flour)
Coconut flour Coconut flour is made from the pulp of the coconut as a by product of the coconut milk making process. It is high in fibre and protein, contains healthy fats and has a lower glycemic index than white flour. Some label it a 'super food'.
It is highly absorbent so you don't need as much coconut flour as you would flour made from wheat. Because it is dense it won't give a fluffy texture in baked goods. Coconut flour can be used instead of bread crumbs in meatloaf, rissoles and meatballs. It is suitable for thickening sauces.
Coconut flour can be substituted for bread crumbs Image:AndyM from Pixabay
This flour should be stored in the fridge for up to six months or in a freezer for up to a year to prevent it becoming rancid.
Almond flour Almond flour has a low glycemic index and contains vitamin E, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese and copper. It is high in healthy fats and fibre and contains more protein than flour made from wheat.
It can be used as a substitute for bread crumbs. It is suitable for some cakes, biscuits, muffins, scones and is great in macarons.
Storing almond flour in the fridge extends its shelf life and keeps it safe from weevils.
Almond flour can be used in baked goods such as muffins Image:webvilla from Pixabay
Chickpea flour Chickpea flour is high in protein, fibre, selenium and B vitamins. It has a nutty, earthy flavour which some people may find off putting in some recipes.
This flour is recommended for making crepes, pancakes, dumplings and some breads.
It has a shelf life of approximately six months but will keep longer if stored in the fridge.
Brown rice flour Brown rice flour has a texture similar to that of white flour so can be substituted for it in many recipes. It is high in B vitamins, iron and manganese. It can lower blood sugar levels and give protection against heart disease.
It is recommended for use in pasta, noodles, pancakes, muffins, bread, pastry and pizza bases. Brown rice flour is good for thickening sauces and gravy.
Brown rice flour should be stored in the fridge or freezer if you are not going to use it up within six months.
As there are health benefits to using various substitutes for wheat flour I am keen to try some different types of flour in my cooking.