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Non Wheat Flours and Grains

These are flours made from anumber of dried seeds, nuts, dreid grains and even form tubers and roots. They usually have a number of particular uses which were often derived from areas where wheat was scarce. Rye flour is one exception in that it has adequate protein for bread making. Corn is probably the most useful grain in baking other than wheat and is often milled into meal which can be used in batter and non yeast breads.

WHOLE GRAIN (MEAL): Grains are either wheat or non-wheat. Whole grains are foods that contain the entire plant kernel that is humanly edible, whereas refined grains are products that are stripped of the more coarse, fibrous part of the kernel as well as germ or seed. Research studies support that a heart-healthy diet rich in whole grains and other plant foods can be an ally in reducing your risk of stroke, heart disease and cancer.

AMARANTH: A strong, sweet, spicy, nutty-flavored flour. Best used as an accent flour in waffles, pancakes, cookies or muffins.  

BARLEY: Low in gluten and with a sweet nutty flavor. Mixed with wheat flour, it gives bread a cake-like texture.

BUCKWHEAT: The edible fruit seed of a plant related to rhubarb.  It is not related to wheat or other grains. Contains a low amount of gluten and cannot be used to make risen loaves. High proportion of essential amino acids; close to being a complete protein. Commonly used combined with wheat flour for pancakes, waffles, blintzes, and in pastas. Ideal for people with celiac disease. 

CORNMEAL: There are several varieties of cornmeal: white, blue and yellow. Adds a crunchy texture to bread, suitable for soft breads, muffins, doughnuts and pancakes. American cornbread is a good example. Southwestern Native Americans have been using colored cornmeal for centuries.

BLUE CORNMEAL: Higher in protein than yellow cornmeal. Turns lavender color when cooked and has a superior flavor to yellow or white. Use in pancakes, muffins and corn tortillas. The most popular color among the Pueblo Indians, the Navajos and the Hopis. It is available in some supermarkets and specialty stores.
YELLOW CORNMEAL: Contains germ and fibrous bran. Rich "buttery" flavor. Use for polenta, corn bread and muffins.


DIASTATIC MALT POWDER: An all-natural, barley-based product that improves both the flavor and appearance of the loaf. Use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon per 3 cups of flour. Its active enzymes help yeast grow fully and efficiently through the fermentation resulting in a better loaf, more flavor and improved shelf life.

GRAM OF CHICKPEAS: When milled, these produce a gluten-free flour that can be mixed with wheat flour for texture to chapattis and other flat breads.

GRANULAR LECITHIN: Cut back on a tablespoon or two of fat and substitute it with an all-natural, soy-bean based add-in. However, any time you start substituting fat with something else, the recipe is automatically altered in both texture and flavor.

MALT FLOUR: This flour is malted barley that has been dehulled and ground. Because it is rich in alpha amylase it increases the diastatic activity of wheat flour. The increases in diastatic activity will make yeast food more available.

NUT FLOURS: Nut flours are in reality ground nuts they come in hazelnut, almond and others varieties, which add flavor and texture to a recipe. You need to experiment in adding in the nut flours to your recipes--you can't use 100 % nut flour because it does not have gluten-forming proteins. When using, keep in 3/4 of the bread or white flour, and only substitute the remaining 1/4 with the nut flour. Nut flour goes rancid quickly due to its high oil content, so keep it frozen in an airtight bag. No need to thaw before using. see Bakewell - Frangipane recipe

Almond Flour is almost the same as ground almonds. The only difference is that almond flour has a finer texture. To make your own grind the slivered almonds yourself using a clean spice grinder. Using the food processor results into an oily almond paste, not a powdery result like flour. Since almond flour is not readily accessible in regular supermarkets, I would suggest grinding them using the spice grinder which produces a comparable almond flour product.
Chestnut Flour is used primarily in Italian and Hungarian cake and pastry making. The chestnut flour used in Italian cakes and pancakes is made from pulverized raw chestnuts, whereas in Hungary it is made from dried chestnuts.

OATS: Flaked, rolled or as meal, oats add fiber and texture to baking recipes.Store the oats in an airtight container or freezer bag. There is no need to thaw the oats before using as they will remain free flowing.

What oat is best for baking, quick or old fashioned? These oats can be used interchangeably in most recipes -- it just depends upon the results you are looking for. If you want something that looks very whole grain and is very chewy, you'll want to use old fashioned. On the other hand, quick oats are cut smaller and are less noticeable in the recipe.

Oat Bran: Contains soluble fiber, which can help lower blood cholesterol levels when eaten as part of a low-cholesterol diet. Add oat bran to muffins or bread. Use as a coating for chicken and seafood.

Oat Flour: has a relatively high protein content, 17 percent, but does not form gluten. Oat flour can be substituted for as much as 1/3 of wheat flour in bread.

Old Fashioned Oatmeal: The only difference between this and quick-cooking oatmeal, is that quick cooking is cut into smaller pieces and rolled to flatten them, so that it cooks a little faster. You can pulse the old-fashioned oatmeal in the food processor to get smaller pieces so that it's just like the quick cooking oatmeal.

Quick-cooking Oatmeal:  Perfect for using in baking recipes. (Don't use instant oats, which have been pressed even more finely.) The oat flakes in this type of oatmeal have been pressed more finely than old-fashioned, regular oats, and cook in a shorter time.  Their fineness gives a nice oat taste without bulking up the dough, which can happen with regular oats. 

Colloidal Oats: Oats that are ground into a very fine powder. Colloidal oats are typically used in health and beauty aids such as oatmeal baths, moisturizers and many facial scrubs and masks. 

Rolled Oats: Rolled oats are whole oat groats that are rolled to flatten them into an oat flake. Old fashioned, quick and instant oats are all rolled oats. However, Instant Quaker oats are not recommended for use in recipes unless specified in the recipe.

POLENTA:  Polenta is Italian for cornmeal.  It also refers to an Italian side dish.  It is prepared by boiling cornmeal and water or broth until thick and creamy.  It can also be cooked, cut into slices and fried or broiled.

POTATO STARCH FLOUR: You will see Potato Starch Flour also referred to as Potato Starch; they are the same thing. Potato Starch is a great flour to thicken sauces and add higher volume to your bread making. Made from ground whole, dried potatoes, it used in combination with other flours because it has no gluten and a mild potato taste. Substitute no more than 1/4 to 1/3 of the wheat flour in a recipe. It will give you a moist and longer-lasting loaf. 

RICE FLOUR: has about 6.5 - 7.0 protein content, but does not form gluten. If you can tolerate wheat, substitute no more than 1/4 to 1/3 of the regular flour in a recipe.

RYE FLOUR: Rye Flour is milled from 100% whole rye. It is graded or labeled as different types, based on the degree of bran removal or purification during milling. The greater the bran removal in milling the lighter in color, lower in protein and dietary fiber and the blander in flavor. There is cracked rye, light to medium rye flours, pumpernickel, the coarsest rye meal. There is a whole-grain rye flour called pumpernickel flour, dark rye, medium rye or white rye. Rye berries can be used like wheat berries.

Using rye flour yields baked goods that are moist and dense, with a slightly sour flavor. The gluten in rye is similar in character to the gluten in pastry flour, which is low, so it is often used in combination with wheat flour (bread flour or all-purpose). The wheat flour is included in order to make a gluten structure strong enough to form a framework that will hold the gases released from the yeast. 

Light rye flour can be successfully substituted for 40 percent of wheat flour in a recipe without loss of volume. Medium and dark rye flours should be limited to 30 percent and 20 percent, respectively, of the total flour amount. 

Rye flour also has a much higher percentage of carbohydrate gums, which make rye dough stickier to work with than wheat, so don't add extra flour when kneading. On the up side, the substances which yield the sugars in rye that the yeast feeds on, break down very easily so they usually ferment well. So, you may find it included in sourdough or sponge starter recipes.  

SORGHUM: A grain commonly used in Africa and India for flat breads and chapattis.

SOY FLOUR: High in protein, it is often used as a protein booster. Soy flour can be used to replace part of the wheat flour in bread, rolls, cakes and cookies, and to enrich bread and macaroni. Because it has no gluten and different properties than wheat flour, it cannot be used as a 100% substitute for wheat flour. Instead, substitute no more than 1/4 to 1/3 of the wheat flour in a recipe. But it is often used in recipes for those with special dietary needs.

SPELT: An ancient grain gaining popularity today as a wheat substitute. Similar to high protein wheat. If substituting for wheat in a recipe, reduce the liquid by 25%. Do not over knead; gluten is sensitive.

TEFF: Rich in calcium, protein and iron; sweet malty flavor. Use in quick breads, pancakes, and waffles. For leavened bread, use 5 parts wheat flour to 1 part teff. Use to thicken stews, soups and sauces.

TRITICALE FLOUR: is a hybrid of wheat and rye. It has an average protein content higher than that of wheat flour. In yeast bread dough, triticale flour has better handling properties than rye flour because it will form gluten, but does not handle as well as wheat dough. For a good quality dough, ferment yeast dough made with triticale flour for a shorter period than wheat flour dough.

Main types of milling: 
Hammer-milled: In this milling process high-speed steel hammer heads are used to powder whole grains . A great deal of heat is produced and this can destroy nutrients.
Roller-milled: Steel rollers or cylinders are used to grind grains at high speed. Again great deal of heat is generated, causing nutrients to be destroyed.
Stone-milled (stone-ground): This milling process employs a pair of ridged stones to crush and grind grains slowly. The ground flour is then sifted to catch larger particles of bran and germ, which are then re-ground and added back to the rest of the flour to produce a more nutritious flour.