Friday, November 15, 2013

Paleo 3:2:1 Flour Blend (Gluten-free)


Are you as addicted to baking as I am?  Are you also, like me, trying to eat healthier food without spending all day and night in the kitchen?  This flour blend is for you.  When you bake grain-free, you can make delicious treats without all the guilt and gluten.  When I stay gluten-free, I have more energy and fewer tummy problems.  Even if you're not technically gluten-intolerant, you may still feel better without it!  I also guarantee your hips will thank you.  To save time in the kitchen, this flour blend creates a one-stop-shop for gluten-free baking: you measure once and get the benefits of three grain-free flours in precise balance with each other.  If you haven't tried baking without grains yet, whip up a batch of this flour blend!  Then start experimenting, and see who you can fool.  I bet you'll be hearing, "I can't believe this is gluten-free!" in no time.

I like to make my baked goods with a combination of almond flour, tapioca starch, and coconut flour. The almond flour lends flavor and richness, the tapioca starch adds lightness and helps with browning, and the coconut flour helps achieve a cake-like texture.  I've been experimenting with the best ratio for these three flours, and have settled upon 3:2:1--three parts almond flour, 2 parts tapioca starch, and 1 part coconut flour.  The next step is to sift the three flours together to make a blend, so that you only need to measure my flour once to make a recipe.  You can of course make any quantity of this flour blend by following the 3:2:1 ratio; the recipe below will make about four cups.

You can start by using this flour blend in these molten chocolate cakes--just use 6 tablespoons of the blend instead of the smaller quantities of each type of flour.  I also used this blend to make a delicious coffee cake this morning--stay tuned for that recipe later this week!  I'm experimenting with substituting this flour blend cup-for-cup for all-purpose flour in regular recipes, and will update this post to reflect which recipes I've had success with.  I can't guarantee that this will be an effective flour substitute in every case, but it's a great place to start.  If this blend works for you with a particular recipe, leave a comment with a link below so others can try it, too!

Update: I used this blend instead of all-purpose flour in this blondie recipe from Smitten Kitchen with great results!  I also used coconut sugar instead of brown sugar, but other than that I followed the recipe exactly.

Ingredients (makes about 4 cups):

2 cups almond flour, sifted*
2/3 cup coconut flour

Measure two cups of almond flour, and sift it*.  Add the tapioca starch and coconut flour, and fluff with a fork to combine.  Sift the mixture two or three times to evenly distribute the flours.  If you're not planning on baking with the flour blend within a few days, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  It should last for several months, but check the expiration date on your bag of almond flour.

*Finely-ground almond flour is best here.  If there's just a teaspoon or so in the sieve after sifting, you can discard those coarse bits and proceed.  If you're using a coarser flour, there may be more left in the sieve.  In that case, you have two options.  You can either grind that almond flour in a spice grinder until finely ground (don't go too far or it will turn into almond butter) and then sift it again, or measure the coarse almond flour left in the strainer, discard it, and add that much more (from your bag of almond flour) to the strainer.  After doing one of those two things, you should only have about a teaspoon of coarse flour left in the strainer, which you can then just discard.

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6 comments:

  1. This is awesome! My family and I are just starting Paleo and this recipe will be good to have for when I have an urge to bake something. Pinning!

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    1. Thanks, Christina! Let me know how it goes if you try it.

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  2. i'm curious as you say "my hips will like it" - does that mean it has fewer calories than whole wheat flour? I would of thought it perhaps had more due to the nuts. it is one of the reasons I have shied away from GF blends so I would appreciate knowing if that was correct or not. Thanks so much.

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    1. Hi Jacquie! I can't say exactly how the two would compare since I haven't calculated the nutrition information--you could plug it into a site like sparkrecipes.com to see the breakdown. My guess is that this blend is probably higher in calories than whole wheat flour (because almonds have so much fat--it's the healthy kind of fat, though), but is perhaps lower in carbohydrates. I usually try to include a moderate amount of healthy fat but limit my intake of simple carbs when I'm trying to lose weight, since that's what's worked for me in the past. Overall, though, this is definitely not a low-calorie food, so whether it's what you're looking for probably depends on your specific nutrition goals. Hope this info is helpful!

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  3. Also, coconut flour is more than 1/2 fiber so that helps, too! :)

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