I think many people who are moving towards a primal diet originally start out by removing gluten from their diet. For any of you who have tired gluten-free (but still grain-based) flour, you probably know as I do that it is terrible! At that point in my life I had decided that I would rather give up bread than have to eat bread made from rice and tapioca flour. So, I have good news. Nut flours, the most paleo-friendly flour, is your knight in shining armor. Cooking with nut flour can be a little bit of an adjustment, but the moisture content and texture is awesome, and sometimes better than real bread/baked products. The two most common flours used are Almond and Coconut. They both have very different cooking properties and bring different flavors to the recipe, so it can make a difference which one you use. I wouldn’t suggest using them interchangeably. Coconut flour tends to absorb more of the moisture of the baking recipe and will thicken quickly while you’re preparing to bake. That said, coconut flour has a wonderful coconut essence that it brings to the party and a much finer texture. Coconut flour is wonderful to make tortillas with, among other things (did I mention the kids love coconut flour pancakes???). Almond flour doesn’t bring any specific almond flavor to anything, but it does bring a delightfully thick and satisfying texture to anything you bake it in. I even put it in my meatloaf and meatballs. I love banana bread muffins for breakfast, but they have to be made with almond flour.In fact my family prefers almond flour banana bread to the regular stuff!
I am not going to attempt to convince you that I’m an expert on this stuff, although I do have a few recipes of my own. I will give you a link for the Queen of almond flour and the Queen of Coconut flour (at least, that’s what they are in my book!) at the end of my post.
One of the primary problems with these flours is the price and availability. Most places, if they have either, will carry Bob’s Red Mill brand. There’s nothing wrong with it, other than heaven forbid you need to make more than one thing with it… it only comes in very small amounts meaning you have to buy up a lot packages if you plan on cooking with it everyday. This is not budget friendly. Another thing is that sometimes Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour will not bake up the same (it’s more of a meal than flour).
While I have found coconut flour to be easier to find here in Colorado, I tend to get both online. I have had good luck on Amazon, but also through Honeyville and Tropical Traditions. The biggest thing is experimenting with the two most common flours to see what you like and don’t like about them before venturing further. I myself tend to prefer almond flour, but like I said before, sometimes it just doesn’t work and coconut flour does.
Keep checking back here as I continually add new recipes… my favorite kind of cooking happens to be baking, so I assure you that I will be adding many paleo flour recipes.
Oh, and if you’re interested in some great almond flour recipes, check out Elana’s Pantry. And if you’re the coconut type, check out The Spunky Coconut. They both rock, and I credit them with just about every great recipe idea/modification I’ve had.