We all love to have our fair share of baked goods once in a while. Homemade bread, delicious cookies and amazing cupcakes are just some of the things we enjoy. That’s why we have all-purpose flour at all times in the house. Unfortunately, there are people whose bodies don’t tolerate all-purpose flour for many reasons. Luckily, there are so many healthier alternatives for those who follow special diets or have food intolerance and allergies.
This type of flour is not that common and there’s a chance you haven’t heard of it. Lotus flour is made from the roots of the lotus water lily. You can also find it by the name of lotus powder or lotus root powder, but it’s the same thing. An interesting thing is that in China people use it as herbal tea in their folk medicine.
So right from the start you know it has healing properties. In colour, lotus flour is off-white with a greyish shade, and texture-wise it’s granular. When it comes to flavour, lotus flour has a sweet, tender taste that can get lost easily when mixed with stronger flavours so, if you like mild, sweet notes, this is the right healthy cooking flour to buy.
Lotus can absorb smells, that’s why storing it properly is important. Keep it away in a cool and dry place where there won’t be sudden temperature changes. Put it in an airtight container to avoid getting any moisture or unpleasant smells. There is a red lotus flour made in Thailand and it has a low gluten content of around 8-8.5%.
On the other hand, the flour made from lily roots has 0% gluten and it’s safe for consumption for people who follow a gluten-free diet. You can use it for sponge cakes, cookies, biscuits and more. It goes through a special milling process and will make your baked goods soft and fluffy.
Coconut flour is another delicious and healthy cooking flour that’s a great alternative to all-purpose flour. It’s a soft powder of finely ground dried coconut meat. It acts as a good replacement for white flour by 20% more or less, meaning you can’t cook with coconut flour only. It has a white colour and a very strong, distinctive coconut aroma and flavour. This means that it won’t work with all recipes.
You should know that this flour doesn’t act as all-purpose flour would because it doesn’t have starch. This means that it won’t gelatinise, absorb liquid or bind with proteins as starch does. But on the other hand, it’s rich in carbs and fibre. Because coconut flour is made from dried fruit, it’ll absorb a lot of liquid, so using it up to 20-25% can be a good choice. Otherwise, it’ll get soggy and when it cooks, you’ll get a den and heavy product.
That’s why it’s recommended to follow recipes that were measured correctly and not experiment with the replacement of flours. If you don’t want your recipe to be overpowered by coconut, add a stronger flavour to mask it. Chocolate will do the trick in this case. When it comes to storage, you can keep the unopened bags in cool dark places, and the opened ones sealed in a container for 6 months in the fridge.
Even if you’re not a professional baker, you’ve probably heard of tapioca flour at some point. It’s one of those things that can take your recipe to the next level. This healthy baking flour will be your best friend in the kitchen and your new favourite ingredient. Tapioca flour comes from the cassava root.
Its starch is extracted by washing a pulling. When the pulp is gathered, manufacturers squeeze it to extract the liquid full of starch. It’s naturally gluten-free and doesn’t have any flavour or smell. This means you can add it to many different recipes and it’ll bind the ingredients perfectly. As a result, you’ll get a soft, spongy texture. If you want to combine it with other flours, do it with other gluten-free types. This will add to the consistency.
Be careful with the amount of liquid you add because this flour can turn into a paste. Because it absorbs liquid, people use it as a thickening agent in sauces and soups and it’s a great way to add moisture to your baked goods. It’ll give a good structure to the final product, and make cakes fluffy and airy, plus, you can make bubble tea with it. There are many tapioca flour recipes you can try at home and witness its amazing benefits.
Almond flour is another healthy alternative. In order to make the flour, almonds are blanched in boiling water to take off their skins, and then they are ground and sifted into a fine powder. It’s one of the most nutritious flours that has protein, carbs, fibre, vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, copper and phosphorus.
This flour is especially good for your blood sugar because it’s low in carbs but high in fibre and healthy fats. It’s gluten-free which makes it a great white flour replacement. You can use it as a replacement for all-purpose flour in many baking recipes but the final product may be flatter and denser than usual. You can also replace breadcrumbs and coat fish, chicken and beef.
This is a healthy cooking flour that helps lower the bad cholesterol and increase the good one. It reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases because it increases the levels of antioxidants in your bloodstream. Plus, it’s good for your bone health because of the ample amounts of iron, potassium, calcium and magnesium.
This flour is made just as any other. The quinoa grains are milled into a fine powder that has a yellowish, sometimes ivory colour. White quinoa is the most popular one, but there are also red and black quinoa flours. This flour can be expensive so people buy it in bulk as quinoa grains and mill it at home in their food processors. You can use it to make bread, muffins, pancakes, pizza crusts, pie crusts and much more.
It’s usually combined with other flours and can be used as a thickening agent in soups and sauces. Always store it in airtight containers in a dry place to make it last for a couple of months. It has a rich nutritious profile containing proteins, fat, carbs, fibre, folate, vitamins B6 and E, zinc, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese and phosphorus. Because of this quinoa has a lot of health benefits that include:
- Managing diabetes;
- Helping in weight loss;
- Preventing damage to the heart;
- Providing anti-inflammatory compounds;
- Being gluten-free.