We’re back today with another post in our Like It, Love It, Avoid It series. Today we are focusing on flours because choosing flour is not as simple as it once was. There are so many varieties of flours and hard-to-understand verbiage on packaging it can make picking a healthy flour very difficult! Depending on what you are using flour for, certain alternatives may be more suited for a given recipe due to the differences in density, moistness and flavor.
Like it: Whole Wheat Unbleached Flour
Whole wheat flour is an excellent alternative to bleached all purpose flour as it provides more nutritional benefits and can be subbed into just about any recipe. It provides a more nutty flavor and a slightly more dense product, though you’ll get added fiber and B vitamins by using this alternative. Another bonus: whole wheat flour is readily available in grocery stores. Make sure the label says whole wheat flour and is not bleached.
Love It: Almond Flour and Oat Flour
These alternatives to wheat flour are great for adding variety to your pantry and baked goods. I have never been big on recipes that call for uncommon alternatives that no one has in their pantry, or having to spend $$$ on a special ingredient for a recipe, but almond and oat flour are easily prepped at home with a blender or food processor. Simply add almonds, or oats, and pulse until they are finely shredded to a flour like consistency. Almond flour is more dense, moist and provides a nutty flavor. An added benefit is that it is low carb- so anyone who is looking to reduce the carb content of a recipe, this is a great alternative! Oat flour is a nutritious, gluten free, alternative to all purpose flour. The texture is more similar to all purpose flour, and the taste is relatively neutral in comparison to almond flour or whole wheat flour.
Avoid It: Bleached All Purpose Flour
This is the standard flour most people keep in their pantry, and the flour most recipes call for. All purpose flour provides the least amount of nutrition and is the most highly processed. When using in small amounts, say a tablespoon for a roux, there is not a huge benefit to using one of the healthier alternatives discussed above. However, in baking, using a more nutritious flour can make a big impact on the nutrition stats of the end product.