Almonds & Almond Flour
Posted: 30 July 2011 12:41 PM   [ Ignore ]
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When cakes call for sliced almonds, ground, I’m always unsure what to do.  The sliced almonds you can buy at the grocery store usually have so little flavor.  Rose says if you must use whole almonds, to grate them first, but I don’t have a fancy food processor (just a mini-prep), so I can’t grate them.

Soon, I’ll be making the almond shamah chiffon and the bittersweet cocoa almond genoise.  If you have made these, can you give me your opinion on the best way to handle the almonds?

1.  Buy the store’s sliced (or blanched, as specified) almonds, toast and grind them as indicated in the recipe.
2.  Use my own whole almonds and blanch (if specified), toast, chop and then grind with some sugar.
3.  Use Bob’s Red Mill blanched almond flour, which I can purchase locally.
4.  Run raw almonds through my juicer to make raw almond flour—the almonds can’t be cooked in any way for this, or they will come out pasty.

I would naturally like them to be as fine as possible for these recipes.

Thanks for your thoughts!

—ak

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Posted: 30 July 2011 02:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Coffee grinders work well for grinding almonds. I am talking about the kind of grinders that are like mini blenders. They are inexpensive. I keep several that I have bought at thrift stores for grinding spices etc. When grinding nuts with them simply put two tablespoons of flour or sugar in with the nuts to keep from turning the nuts into nut butter.

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Posted: 30 July 2011 05:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Anne, do you have a Trader Joe’s near you? Trader Joe’s also sells almond flour. I use it when I have a recipe that calls for almond flour. It’s not super fine, though.

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Posted: 30 July 2011 06:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Gene - 30 July 2011 05:28 PM

Coffee grinders work well for grinding almonds. I am talking about the kind of grinders that are like mini blenders. They are inexpensive. I keep several that I have bought at thrift stores for grinding spices etc. When grinding nuts with them simply put two tablespoons of flour or sugar in with the nuts to keep from turning the nuts into nut butter.

That’s right. A blender may do on grinding almonds. That is also what I use. You don’t need to have those expensive machines, just be creative and resourceful.

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Posted: 31 July 2011 08:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Anne, my advice would be to either buy King Arthur’s toasted almond flour or to grind your own using sliced almonds and toast them to improve the flavor.

A few thoughts:
-I love ground almonds in cakes but the success of them depends on achieveing a very fine texture. 
-Bob’s Red Mill almond flour is too coarsely ground, but King Arthur’s works well. 
-If you grind them yourself, you might want to grind, then strain, then return the larger pieces to the grinder, etc. until you’ve got a beautiful fine flour.  It’s totally OK to toast the fine flour, instead of the sliced almonds, if that works best for your machines.  Just be careful to stir the flour several times while toasting.
-Rose’s recipes normally do not need blanched almonds- I don’t have RHC in front of me to check the Almond Shamah, but I know the BCAG calls for unblanched.
-I agree with Gene, a spice/coffee bean grinder works better than a food processor, just be careful not to overfill even a little bit or it won’t do a good job. 

Have you made nut flour with your juicer before?  How fine does the flour get?

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Posted: 31 July 2011 01:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Thank you all for the many suggestions—especially how the coffee grinder works better than a food processor!

Since I can toast the flour, instead of the almonds, I’ll use my juicer.  It grinds them completely to a powder/flour—no paste at all.  I’ll post a pic when I do it so you can see!!!  Since Shamah calls for blanched (I think—now I’m not sure suddenly!), I’ll try running them blanched, also.  Blanching might have so little contact with heat that it might not affect the oils and allow it to still powder rather than ‘butter’ on the first pass. 

—ak

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Posted: 31 July 2011 04:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I too have been frustrated with trying to get nice fine textured ground almonds. I find the food processor just smashes the daylights outta them and they are still gritty/chunky or pasty. Even using sliced ones doesn’t give me “meal”. I remembered as a child grinding hazelnuts every week for my mom’s nut ring, and they were like fine snow. Imagine my delight when I discovered a little counter-top mounted Hand Grinder like mom’s in a flea market for only a few dollars! Now when I need powder fine almonds, I just prep them (blanch, dry or toast as desired) and then grind away! You could possibly also use a grinder with the little drum like those used to grate Parmesan cheese. Same concept. No other device comes close to the results obtained with it!

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Posted: 01 August 2011 08:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Thanks for that info, kb- any chance of a photo or link to a similar item?

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Posted: 01 August 2011 12:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I’d be interested, too, KB!  I remember my mother hand a hand nut grinder, but it made little teeny nuts (not powder). I’d love to learn of one that powdered them—juicer’s great, but, boy, is it a pain to clean!!!

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Posted: 01 August 2011 01:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I just found a couple quite like the one I have - pics may be seen at http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/475854102/160_nut_grinder_cheese_grater.html and at http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/213676013/MANUAL_Walnut_GRINDER.html My da.ughter brought a cast aluminum “core” grinder back from Romania but it is pretty coarse and only good for walnuts, which is what they use mostly there. The st. Steel ones could maybe be purchased at Italian, German, Swedish or Danish import shops also. The grinder results in dry little flakes of grated nut, almost like fine snow. This incorporates beautifully into any dough, pastry or filling without chunks or lumps. It’s also good for hazelnuts.

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Posted: 07 August 2011 09:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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thanks, kb smile

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Posted: 14 August 2011 04:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Bob?s Red Mill almond flour is too coarsely ground, but King Arthur?s works well.

Julie,

I saw the Bob’s (they didn’t have the KA), and it looks pretty finely ground.  It says on the package Finely Ground.  Do they, perhaps, have more than one grade and you saw a coarser one, or do you know the one I’m talking about, and it’s still too coarse?

It’s possible that the finer pieces are gathering around the coarser ones, so it looks finer (looking through the packaging) than it does when you open it and actually get your hands on the stuff.

I just wanted to make sure you saw the Finely Ground one.

Meanwhile, I have blanched my own almonds and will try making flour of them next weekend…

Thanks!!!

—ak

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Posted: 29 August 2011 01:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Anne in NC - 14 August 2011 07:59 PM

I saw the Bob?s (they didn?t have the KA), and it looks pretty finely ground.  It says on the package Finely Ground.  Do they, perhaps, have more than one grade and you saw a coarser one, or do you know the one I?m talking about, and it?s still too coarse?

I just bought some to make some macarons.  What I have read is that this flour is not quite fine enough for this and I need to whirl it in the food processor for a while (mixed with powdered sugar, of course.)

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Posted: 29 August 2011 01:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Yes to what Charles said, the Bob’s Red Mill almond flour isn’t fine enough to produce the best cake texture.

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Posted: 01 September 2011 01:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Anne, King Arthur’s flour is available from their Baker’s Catalogue or their online site.

I’m also looking for a way to make almond flour. I would order from KA but their shipping isn’t cheap and it takes so long to receive their orders.

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