Many people have gone flourless for specific health reasons. Some do so because they the gluten in flour aggravates other medical conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis or asthma. Others believe avoiding flour can help them feel better.
Celiac disease is one of the main reasons for going flourless. It is one of the most common autoimmune diseases. In fact, in the last 50 years, one in 133 people have been diagnosed with the disease. Another reason for eliminating flour in your baking is to reduce carbohydrates. White flour is high in carbs, though 100% whole wheat flour has less.
Removing flour from your diet can improve your health. Going with an all-natural diet like the Paleo Diet, can help free the body from chronic diseases such as:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Type II diabetes
- Autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, etc.)
- Myopia (nearsightedness), macular degeneration, glaucoma
- Varicose veins
- Diverticulosis, gastric reflux
Other reasons to go flourless could be due to an allergy to wheat or gluten. You may want a more natural diet that reduces many diseases and health problems. Maybe you just want to reduce the amount of carbs you take in every day. Going flourless may be very beneficial and just what the doctor ordered.
Tips for Flourless Baking
Flourless baking can be a real trial-and-error process. Flour, when used in baking, adds body, structure, texture and flavor to baked goods. It often acts as a binder, attaching ingredients together. When you remove the flour, you have to add something else in its place that will perform the same function.
Here are some tips to help achieve better baking results when going flourless.
- To increase the nutrition value, substitute up to 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds plus 1/4 cup water for 1/4 cup flour in a recipe (flax will absorb more moisture).
- To add more moisture to your recipe, add gelatin, extra egg or oil. Honey or rice malt syrup helps retain moisture.
- Substitute brown sugar for white for more moisture.
- To enhance the flavor of flourless foods, add chocolate chips, dried fruits or nuts and double the amount of spices called for.
- For better structure, add dry milk solids or cottage cheese to the recipe. Replace evaporated milk for regular milk.
- Add extra egg or egg whites if your recipe is too crumbly.
- Don’t overbeat since the kneading time is shorter with no gluten to develop.
- You can use ground oats in place of flour, but you need ingredients like banana or eggs to bind the ingredients together.
- Eggs can replace many functions of gluten such as binding enhancing texture setting the structure of the recipe. Two other starch-based products you can use to bind and thicken are guar gum and xanthan gum. They are interchangeable and used in small amounts.
The key to flourless baking is to experiment. You may have to try different ingredients or amounts to get the flavor and texture you want.
Simple Almond Cookies
Makes 32 cookies
Nonstick cooking spray, optional
2 1/4 cups whole almonds
3/4 cup sugar
2 egg whites (video included, showing a simple way to separate whites from yolks)
1 teaspoon almond extract or vanilla
32 almond slices (2 tablespoons)
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spray two large cookie sheets with cooking spray or line with parchment paper (best choice). Set aside.
Finely grind whole almonds and sugar in food processor.
Add egg whites and almond extract and process until mixed well.
Shape a large measuring teaspoonful of mixture into crescent shapes or balls. Arrange 1 inch apart on cookie sheet. Top with an almond slice.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until just brown on the top
Cool on wire racks.
When cool, drizzle tops of cookies with melted chocolate.
See our article: Healthy White Flour Substitutes
What Others are Saying About Baking without Flour: