Baking with Almond Flour
Both almond flour and almond meal have long been pantry staples of avid gluten-free bakers, and right now it’s more popular than ever. From the surge of gluten-free baking recipes to our undying love for French macarons, baking with almond flour has become more popular than ever before.
We’re starting at the very beginning, introducing you to almond flour and almond meal, the similarities they share, and what sets them apart.
How are almond meal and almond flour different?
When it comes to flavor, both almond flour and almond meal retain much of their natural flavor. Both options lend a sweet, nutty aroma to baked goods. Overall, it’s their texture that sets them apart.
- Almond flour is finely ground almonds typically made using blanched almond with no skins. It’s commonly used in baked goods, like cookies, cakes, and quick breads. It has a finer texture than almond meal.
- Almond meal: Has a more coarse texture, and it typically (although not always) contains the skins.
Using Almond Flour and Almond Meal in Your Baking
Almond flour and almond meal can largely be used interchangeably, although there are some exceptions. Since the two have a different texture (almond flour is more fine, and almond meal is more coarse), it can have an impact on your recipe.
For example, if you’re making delicate macarons or a light, airy cake, you’ll want to reach for finer almond flour so your baked goods retain the light texture you’re looking for. However, if your recipe is more forgiving, like quick bread, tart crust, or cookies, either is acceptable.
As almonds don’t contain the gluten found in flour, Almond flour or meal isn’t a direct substitute for wheat or whole-grain flours. Almond flour may need to be mixed with other alternative flour’s to create the ideal texture for your dish. This will differ with each recipe.
Store almond flour in the refrigerator or freezer.
Almond flour has a high level of oil, making it more prone to oxidizing and going rancid. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to six months, or in the freezer for 12 months. This slightly differs from the cabinet-storage for most whole-grain flours.
Baking tip: If your almond flour has an off smell or bitter taste, it’s gone bad. Fresh almond flour should have a sweet yet nutty aroma and taste.
Check out this great blog on Almond Flour and Almond Meal by TheKitchn.com.