Did you know that acorns are highly nutritious and make for great flour for pasta? Or that coffee flour is a high fibre, gluten-free fruit flour that you can make bread with?
Whether you are looking for a new flour alternative to fit your special dietary needs, or simply looking to experiment with new flavours and textures, there are many options now available to any home cook or chef.
Read on to discover four types of alternative flours that are gaining traction in kitchens worldwide.
Coffee flour is made from coffee cherries, after the coffee beans have been extracted (coffee beans are the seeds of the fruit). The remaining skin and pulp are dried and milled into a fine flour.
As the flour is from the fruit itself, it has a slightly fruity flavour and doesn’t taste like coffee at all. Neither does it have a significant enough caffeine content, which is on par with the level of caffeine found in other foods like dark chocolate.
This high-fibre, gluten-free fruit flour can be used in sweet baking recipes. Start by replacing small amounts of gluten-free flour in a recipe with the coffee flour, say, 10-15%, and experiment with flavours.
Acorns are not just for squirrels. Flour made from acorns are edible, and have a subtle, earthy flavour that is becoming popular with foragers and keto-diet followers; some also suggest that acorns may just be the next superfood.
Acorn flour is not yet commercially available, and the process of turning foraged acorns at home is a lengthy process. The acorns need to be shelled, then leached to remove the bitter tannins which can take up to six weeks. They are then roasted and ground for flour.
Acorn flour has long been used in South Korea to make noodles and acorn jelly, and can even be used to make pasta. A nut flour that is naturally gluten-free, acorn flour is rich in protein, fats, fibre and essential minerals.
Many baking recipes with acorn flour use this nut flour to replace up to half of all-purpose flour. Keep in mind that this is a dry flour, so any acorn flour added should also be compensated with additional moisture in the recipe.
Milled from the whole root of the cassava plant, cassava flour is a gluten-, nut-, grain-free flour that is popular for gluten-free baking because it is white in colour and mild in taste.
Using cassava flour in cooking is easy. It can replace all-purpose flour in its entirety or in part, taking into account the moisture content - cassava flour tends to absorb more moisture than all-purpose flour so either reduce the amount of flour added or increase the moisture in the recipe.
Teff is an ancient grain that is widely used in Ethiopia. Teff also comes with the title of "super grain" due to its nutritional properties: it is rich in carbohydrates, fibre, proteins, essential amino acids, calcium, iron, magnesium, and more.
Teff flour is also gluten-free and very versatile when it comes to cooking. Its slightly nutty and sweet flavour works well in a wide range of baked goods such as breads, cakes, biscuits and pancakes, and it is also great as a thickener in soups and sauces.