Substituting for Almond Flour
Posted: 06 September 2012 07:06 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hello!

My husband is allergic to almonds and coconuts, which means that flours/powders from these sources are a no-go.  Unfortunately, almond flour is very common in baking.  I’m wondering what the best possible substitution is for almond flour?

I am wondering mostly about soy, peanut (the higher fat variety made by Byrd Mill) or maybe bennecake flour.  It would seem that the protein and fat content should be similar in order to not throw the recipe way off, but I’m not sure how much leeway I have there.  I’m a little concerned that the higher fat peanut flour might have too much peanut flavor to be a good substitute in some recipes.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks very much!

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Posted: 07 September 2012 11:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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It’s a little hard to say without taking into account a specific recipe.  In general any substitution needs to have differences in fat, structural elements (starches, fiber and protein) and sugar (if any) taken into account and adjusted for.  For instance, if you decide to use pistachios in lieu of almonds, you may need to adjust the fat content of the recipe to account for any difference in oil content between the two nuts. 

But you may not need to do that- in some recipes the nuts are treated as an add-in, not part of the structure of the cake, and so small differences aren’t so important.  Kind of like with chocolate- if you’re adding chips to a recipe, you can pretty much use whatever you like, as long as it has the same weight and chip size, the only issue to consider is taste.  But with chocolate that will be melted into a batter, the fat and sugar content become more important and substitutions may require adjustments elsewhere in the ingredients to compensate for differences. 

From a flavor standpoint, again, it’s hard to say without taking a specific recipe into account.  For instance, there are some recipes that use untoasted ground almonds for texture, and so a mildly flavored substitute would be desirable.  In other recipes, the nuts may be toasted and be a featured flavor, in which case another flavorful nut- perhaps pistachios- would be appropriate.  You may have to take it on a case-by-case basis.

I’ve never tried bennecake flour, but it sounds interesting, thanks for inspiring me to go look it up.  For some reason I want to go make pancakes out of it! smile

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Posted: 07 September 2012 03:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks, Julie.  I appreciate your responding to the post!  Most of the recipes are for cake-like pastries that use about 3/4 cups or so of almond flour in addition to wheat flour.  I think I will just have to play it by ear and see what happens!

Would you be so kind as to post if you find a source of bennecake flour?  I’ve found only one source, and while it is a very highly recommended company, I do like having choices for such things!  I’d actually not heard of bennecake flour until I read a recipe from The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook.  I think Benne has its American agricultural roots in the Carolinas, and I’m a New Yorker.  I’m blaming my Yankeehood for my ignorance on this one!  smile

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Posted: 07 September 2012 10:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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The place I saw bennecake flour was Anson Mills in SC, possibly the same place you saw. It might work in some things but must bring the flavor of sesame seeds, which may not be the best in all recipes.

I would speculate that ground pistachios might work in a number of recipes that call for a smaller portion of almond flour.  The amounts of fat, protein, sugar, carbs and fiber are similar though not the same.  Here’s a website that makes it easy to look up nutritional content:  http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/  And pistachios have a milder nut flavor (milder than pecans, hazelnuts, peanuts or walnuts).

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Posted: 09 September 2012 10:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thanks, again, Julie.  Unfortunately, pistachios are also on his allergy list. 

Yes, Anson Mills is where I found bennecake flour.  They do seem to be a very well-respected company with fine products, but I have not ordered from them, personally.  I am, however, putting a few of their products on my Christmas list this year.  We celebrate quite fully the traditional Christmas octave, so there is plenty of baking to be done after the 25th.  smile

Thank you again for your responses and suggestions.

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