One of the downsides of trying to eat organically is that it costs A LOT of money! Trying to keep expenses down is always important, especially on a budget, so slowly but surely I am developing ways to eat more organic foods without spending a fortune in the process.
A few months ago I came across a recipe that called for coconut flour. Off to the local natural market I went, only to drop about $7 on a bag of coconut flour! Not only was the price outrageous, but the real kick in the pants was that I didn’t care for the recipe at all. So, here I was with an expensive bag of flour on my hands and nothing to do with it. I researched a few more recipes, used it up and vowed to figure out a way to make alternative flours and meals myself. Low and behold, a girl can go hog wild with a Baby Bullet, making all kinds of flours for very little money! In fact, those of you who are low-carb or gluten-free can have a field day trying out different recipes until you find one that agrees with your gut AND your palette!
Now, before we get going with the recipes, one must be forewarned that the words flour and meal are usually used interchangeably. In all honesty, I find that a little misleading because you really can’t go into this thinking that the flours I am referring to are all going to be powdery. Many are going to be more coarse and crumbly than you might be used to. If you desire something more finely ground, do just that. Grind and sift until you have the consistency you desire. With the exception of all-purpose flour, I would suggest you ALWAYS sift your flours anyway. It aerates the flour and takes away that hits-you-like-a brick density you can sometimes have with whole wheat or non-wheat flours.
Coconut flour: Take ¼ cup or ½ cup (depending on what your recipe calls for) of unsweetened shredded coconut and place in the bullet. Blend until fluffy and flour-y.
*You can easily make oat and quinoa flour the same way.
Almond and nut flours: The process for nut flours is a little bit different, but not complicated at all. Just take the desired amount of raw or roasted nuts (I prefer roasted; it adds a nice depth of flavor and anything roasted is easier to grind) and blend in the bullet until they begin to look like finely ground bread crumbs. Be careful not to overdo it here, as you might end up burning out the motor in your Bullet or making a quasi-nut butter. (Only make nut butters in a food processor, trust me!) Once you finely grind the nuts, be sure to sift the flour.
*Be creative and resourceful, based on what you have in the pantry, what is cheap, and what is on sale. This recipe works really well with hazelnuts, cashews and sunflower seeds, for example.
Bean flours: Until I began making my own flours, I had no idea you could make flours out of dried or roasted beans, as well. Bean flours are awesome in savory loaves, gravies and to thicken soups. To make chickpea flour, simply take ¼ cup or ½ cup of dried chickpeas and grind them in the Bullet. Voila; it’s that easy!
*Feel free to try other beans and legumes, as well. (Lentils are very easy to grind!)
Flax Meal: This is a tried and true favorite you never see labeled as flax flour. You can buy a sack of flax seeds for MUCH cheaper than a bag of flax meal. I also love to add the whole seeds to salads, loaves, cereal, granola and other recipes anyway, so I always have the whole seeds around. In order to make flax meal, all you need to do it put ¼ cup or ½ cup of flax seeds in your Bullet and grind them into meal. Takes about 30 seconds!
As you can see, the process is super-simple and the possibilities are endless! Knowing that you can easily make flours with cheap ingredients many of us already have in the pantry can be liberating when it comes to trying out low- carb, wheat alternative and gluten-free recipes.