5 Reasons to Cook with Speciality Flours
Here’s why you should learn to cook with rice flour, coconut flour, and other speciality blends
We’re in the middle of a baking boom, with more and more people kneading dough, rolling pastry and mixing batter. Recipes are getting increasingly inventive, but have you ever thought about making a change to that staple ingredient - wheat flour? There are all sorts of different speciality flours available on the market - potato flour, sorghum flour, millet flour and even hemp flour - and plenty of reasons why you should try baking with them, whether or not you’re on a gluten free diet!
1. Because it’s good for you!
In particular, flours made with different grains, nuts and seeds help feed your microbiome.
“Our body is covered in trillions of microorganisms, and the biggest collection is in our large intestine. Those microbes not only keep our bowel healthy, but they also release the hormones our bodies need as they feed,” David Atherton, a health advisor and former Great British Bake Off winner explains. “What they feed on the most is something called indigestible starches, found in vegetables, nuts and seeds.”
According to David, the more diversity of food that you eat, the more diverse and healthy your microbiome will be.
“I would encourage people just to switch out 5% of the white flour for brown flour in a recipe,” he explains. “You won’t change the lightness of the sponge, but you’ll still be feeding your microbiome with the brown flour.”
Many speciality flours are high in protein and fibre too; quinoa and teff flour are even made from superfoods!
2. They’ll add variety to a gluten-free diet
Many speciality flours are naturally gluten-free free, so can be used to create a variety of delicious gluten-free recipes for those with coeliac disease. Oat and almond flour make delicious muffins, while chickpea flour is delicious in savoury fritters. We love making gluten-free bread with teff flour too. Meanwhile, tapioca flour helps add structure to gluten free baking recipes.
3. Because they taste great!
We love the textures and taste of speciality flours! While wheat flour acts as a binding agent, it doesn’t have any taste of its own. But almond flour, for example, adds a nuttiness and a sweetness to recipes that will really elevate your bakes!
4. Because they’re unrefined
White flour has been heavily refined, with all sorts of chemical agents added to process it (sometimes even bleach!). Research has shown that consumption of white flour raises blood sugar and insulin levels too, and it’s also depleted in nutrients.
Buying ancient grain flours, wholemeal flour or any other speciality flours (especially those using organic grains) means you’re getting all the good bits alongside the great taste!
5. It’ll help you expand your baking horizons
Each speciality flour blend has a different quality, texture and taste. It’s fun to experiment and substitute them in all sorts of bakes, from bread to muffins. To help inspire you, head over to Doves Farm for recipes!
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