Hi everybody! Here’s the first installment in the “Healthier Ingredients” series. So excited to be sharing this good info with you. People ask me all the time about gluten-free recipes. I am still somewhat in the development stage of really feeling comfortable with my GF cooking. One thing I have been doing for quite a while, though, is making my own flours. True, some are easier to make than others, but, for the most part, homemade flours are pretty simple. Plus, it is decidedly less expensive than buying flour in the store. A win-win! So let’s get started……
Making Flour in the Food Processor
You will be grinding the ingredients in one way or another. In general, the larger or harder bulk ingredients should be ground–or at least started off–in a food processor using the “s” blade. These include: oats and any other large, hard nuts (i.e almonds and walnuts). I don’t advise you to try grinding your own chickpea flour, as chickpeas are REALLY hard and can eventually break the blade. Here’s what you do:
Put the ingredients in the food processor. Grind until a fine meal is made.
That’s it! You have your flour! Easy, no? Here are a few points to ponder:
- Oat flour: a little harder to get to a fine consistency than nuts. I have tried using the food processor and the coffee grinder. The pieces just don’t grind after a certain point. So if you want really powdery oat flour, you might want to think of buying it. If a bit of a bulkier consistency is ok with you, then this flour will do you just fine! Remember to use Gluten Free oats if you specifically want gluten free flour. Otherwise, any oats will do. I like the quick 1-minute oats because they are a little smaller to begin with and take less time.
- Nut flours: You can make wonderful nut flours in the food processor. When you grind almonds, the natural oils are released. If you keep grinding, you will eventually get nut butter! You won’t get to that point because you have to get much farther in the process and it becomes obvious when the flour starts to change over. However, at a certain point in the grinding process, the meal starts getting a little oilier than you want for flour. You will see that the meal looks stickier. My advice in order to avoid this is to stop grinding when the consistency becomes fine. It only takes about 2 minutes to get to that point. It may be trial and error for you in the beginning, but you will quickly get the hang of it. Promise!
Making Flour in the Coffee Grinder
Some materials are too small to put in the food processor. These include seeds, like sunflower seeds, and smaller grains, like quinoa and rice. You can easily make those flours by using a coffee grinder. True, the process is a little more tedious because you have to make the flour in batches if you want a large amount. However, it’s really worth it in the end. Plus, the coffee grinder makes into a beautiful, very fine flour. In fact, sometimes if my nut flours are not cooperating and I am finding chunks in the mix, I just give it a whirl in the coffee grinder and viola! That takes care of that!
So here’s what you do:
Put the bulk ingredients in the grinder up to the maximum point. Grind until the ingredients become a fine powder. You may need to lift the top open and check that there are not any stray seeds or grains and that every thing has ground up. Sometimes it takes a few pulses, but eventually everything gets wonderfully powdery.
Some helpful hints:
- Quinoa flour: when making quinoa flour, be SURE to rinse the quinoa very well first. Quinoa is coated with saponins, which tastes very bitter. Just stick the quinoa in a strainer and rinse thoroughly. Be sure you let the quinoa dry before you want to make flour or it won’t grind. Once the quinoa dries, you can proceed as described above.
- Rice flour: if you want to make rice flour, the rice does not need to be cooked first. Just grind the grains raw. Rice has a harder texture than than quinoa and seeds. It will take more checking and grinding, but you will come out with a lovely, fine flour if you are patient.
One more thing: storage. It’s important to store your flours in a cold place. Nuts can turn rancid if you don’t use them right away. I usually store my homemade flours in the freezer. I use either a plastic freezer bag (labled!) or container. The flours won’t freeze; they will retain their powdery form. Storing them in the freezer works beautifully and they keep for months.
Well there you have it! Homemade, less expensive, easy, beautiful flour! If you try it at home, please leave a comment and let me know how it goes!!! If you make other kinds of flours, share that with us, too!