Baking with Almond Flour

Image courtesy of Blue Diamond Almonds
 
A new report from Technavio finds that the global gluten-free bakery market is expected to grow at a CAGR of more than 10 percent between 2017 and 2021. This is due to various factors such as the rise in the number of people with gluten intolerances and allergies along with the increasing demand for bakery products with gluten-free claims.

Blue Diamond Almond Flour is perfectly poised to leverage consumers’ continued interest in a gluten-free, or gluten-restricted, diet. In recent years, consumer awareness of gluten-free options has grown significantly. In fact, the number of Americans going gluten-free has tripled since 2009, according to a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic. They found that around 3.1 million people across the United States follow a gluten-free diet and 72 percent of them are classified as people without celiac disease avoiding gluten. This growing consumer interest in gluten-free cooking and paleo diets makes almond flour a high-demand ingredient.

Jeff Smith, director of marketing, Blue Diamond Almonds Global Ingredients Division, points out that Blue Diamond Almond Flour is a popular alternative to traditional flour for baking because it contains the same nutritional properties as whole almonds, is low on the glycemic index and is naturally gluten-free. It’s also important for bakers to scoop and level when measuring almond flour. Unlike traditional flour, which should be spooned lightly into the measuring cup, scoop your measuring cup directly into the almond flour then level off. Don’t pack down, but use a heavier hand than you’re used to. Remember to bring the measurement of almond flour you want to use up to room temperature before baking.

Image courtesy of Blue Diamond Almonds
 
Generally, almond flour cannot be substituted cup-for-cup in baking applications. As a rule of thumb, fats and oils can be reduced by approximately 25 percent when baking with almond flour as the flour itself has a higher fat content compared to traditional flour. Sugar may also be reduced by about 25 percent in baked goods because almonds also have a sweet flavor on their own. Bake times may need to be increased approximately 5 minutes because of the extra moisture present in almond flour.

Without the gluten as a binder, almond flour batters and doughs need a bit of firming up. Egg whites are a great binder that doesn’t change the flavor. You can use whole eggs, but the yolks can add an eggy flavor. For an extra light texture, beat the egg whites with some of the sugar called for in the recipe to form a meringue. This will provide a sturdy mixture to lightly fold into your recipe. Almond flour may bake faster, so Blue Diamond recommends tenting with foil to prevent products from browning too quickly. After baking, let the items stand for 30 minutes. The center may not seem “set” but will firm up as it cools. Baked goods made with almond flour are very moist in the center. Freezing and thawing the baked goods can help improve this texture.

In most cases, almond flours can be used interchangeably. However, for items requiring a golden or light-colored appearance, blanched almond flour is available. Natural almond flour is ideal when the requirement for a lighter color, such as in brownies or chocolate chip cookies, is not as evident.

The great thing about Blue Diamond Almond Flour is that it produces moist baked goods. Unlike traditional baked goods, those made with almond flour have more moisture. However, do not store in airtight containers. Instead, store on a tray very lightly covered, or in a container with a loose-fitting lid. Sealing the container will make the food too moist and soft over time.

The extra moisture provides a key benefit — while traditional baked goods may become dry and stale in a day or two, those prepared with almond flour stay moist for days.