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Adding Nutrition and New Flavors with Alternative Flours

Adding Nutrition and New Flavors with Alternative Flours

Enjoy baking your own cakes, cookies and other goodies but trying to avoid wheat flour?

Perhaps you need to find gluten free alternatives, are experimenting with new foods or wish to find a new way to power up your protein intake.

If you want to find alternatives to wheat flour, now you are in luck because there are many substitutions that will allow you to enjoy cakes, quick breads, muffins and cookies in unique ways.

The good news is many different kinds of flour can be found at your local supermarket keeping you from hunting these products down all over town. Naturally, any variety can be purchased online as well.

If you specifically need gluten free flour for a diagnosed case of celiac disease, remember that wheat free doesn’t always mean gluten free.

Flours You Can Use In Place of Wheat Flour             

Many food items are being ground to yield a flour for people looking for alternates and gluten free options.

Most of these non-wheat flours are higher in protein and fiber and lower in fat than traditional wheat flours.

Several of these are considered ancient grains and have been used for centuries.

Because there are so many more types of flour available, you can mix different varieties together for a nutty or earthy flavor and increased nutrition. If gluten free is your choice, having variety readily available will keep nutritious and flavorful baked goods on the menu for your family.

Here are some options for you to experiment with new flavors and increased nutrition:

  1. Peanut flour – made from ground defatted peanuts, high in protein, use for coating since adds crispness when frying, use in baked goods especially cookies, use as thickener in soups or gravies
  2. Almond flour – made from blanched almonds, high in protein, fiber and fat;  the fat adds moisture to baked goods, 35% of your suggested vitamin E needs, keep refrigerated, best for replacement in recipes that call for breadcrumbs, replace only ¼ of the flour with almond flour, not recommended for quick breads or when using yeast
  3. Quinoa flour – made from gluten free quinoa seeds, high in protein and contains all amino acids (complete protein), good source of fiber, slight bitter taste, recommend not using more than 1 to 3 mix with other flour, good for cakes and cookies
  4. Buckwheat flour – doesn’t contain gluten, unrelated to wheat uses the fruit seed, often used in Asian cooking including for Soba noodles, nutty flavor, high in protein, favorite for pancakes
  5. Rye flour – milled from 100% whole rye, used in crackers and bread such as pumpernickel, good source of fiber, makes moist and dense product, best when mixed with other flours, stickier product
  6. Chia or flax seed flour – ground from the seeds, use chia as complete substitute for flour in recipe, flaxseed high in omega 3 fatty acids and turns rancid quickly; can use flaxseed as fat and egg substitute in recipes also
  7. Coconut flour – used for seafood coating, familiar flavor-fruity, high in fiber and fat, good in hot breakfast cereal, will go bad faster than other flours
  8. Chickpea, garbanzo, or fava bean flour – good source of protein and fiber, use for baking and cooking as thickener, can have a slightly bitter taste in recipes, may want to use only as 25% of flour; can lead to gastrointestinal distress
  9. Soy flour – used in cooking, high in protein, good source of calcium, can be full or low fat best if defatted, substitute 1/3 soy with other flours, sensitive to light and heat, don’t use in sautéing or frying
  10. Amaranth flour – ground from seed, high protein and iron, sweet but strong nutty tasting, ancient grain, best when only 25-30% of flour type
  11. Rice flour – milled from polished rice, about 7% protein, add to pie crusts and shortbreads for a tender product, use no more than a third in combination with other flour
  12. Oat flour – made by grinding oat groats, produces a dense texture, use with other flours if product needs to rise

Different Ways To Mill Grains

There are several different processes that these grains can be transformed into flour for your recipes. 

It is a good idea to be aware of how a particular flour is milled in order to be sure you get the nutritional value you seek.

  • Stone ground – stones are used to grind grain slowly and then it is sifted to remove larger unground particles. The particles are then sent through the grinding process again and added back to the flour to keep in nutrients. No heat is generated in this process so nutrients aren’t lost during this method.
  • Hammered – using steel heads, grains are pulverized in a high speed process that can create heat which can result in nutritional changes
  • Rolled – rollers grind grains in a high speed process which also creates nutrient altering heat so some loss of nutrients results

Store alternative flours in an airtight container in the refrigerator or even freezer to retain freshness longer. Bring to room temperature before using for best results.

Using a variety of flours, whether from nuts, beans or ancient grains, will give you different textures and tastes as well as a boost of nutrition in the foods you make with love.

Zucchini Quinoa Quick Bread
Serves 10
A healthy, fresh quick bread with added protein from quinoa flour!
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  1. 2/3 cup vegetable/canola oil
  2. 3 eggs
  3. 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  4. 2 cups zucchini, grated
  5. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  6. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  7. 1 teaspoon salt
  8. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  9. 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  10. 1 cup quinoa flour
  11. 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Apply quick release spray in two large bread pans. Set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat together oil, eggs, and sugar.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until mixed without overmixing.
  5. Spoon half of the mixture into each of your prepared pans.
  6. Place both pans in the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the center of each loaf springs back when touched or toothpick inserted comes out cleanly.
  1. Yield: 10-12 slices per loaf. Recipe makes 2 loaves.
  2. Nutrition facts per slice if cut into 10ths: 184 Calories, 2.6 g Protein, 23.9 g Carbohydrate, 9.4 g Total Fat, 1.5 g Fiber, 167.8 mg Sodium
  3. You can substitute different oils such as coconut or pureed fruit if desired.
  4. If you would like, substitute non-nutritive sweetener such as stevia for the sugar.
  5. You can add nuts, raisins, craisins, chopped dried apricots, or other seeds for variety and taste.
Nutrition for the Health of It

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