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Affordable flours for paleo baking

by (298)
Updated about 18 hours ago
Created October 19, 2012 at 7:06 PM

I know that it's paleo to use almond or coconut flour instead of regular wheat flour for baking. But in my region one cannot easily find those paleo types of flours and making flour of raw almonds or even coconuts is a crazy and expensive idea :) So, are there some more affordable substitutes for almond/coconut flours to use in paleo baking recipes?

3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173
8057 · December 03, 2013 at 1:41 AM

Another option is to make a coconut flour or nut flour as a secondary product from making nutsmilk or coconut milk. Use blanched soaked nuts/seeds OR coconut (do not have to soak the coconut) and hot water in about a 1:3 ratio. Blend in a regular blender until there is a milky consistency. Squeeze the milk from the pulp (in a cheesecloth or nutsmilk bag). Dry the pulp in the oven or food dehydrator, then grind it in the blender or food processor to a fine flour. This has better consistency than grinding the nuts without water, and the resulting milk is nice to have, too.

3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173
8057 · December 03, 2013 at 1:37 AM

The trick to avoiding making nut butter instead of nut flour is to grind at a very low speed. I've turned my blender into a "Nutri-Bullet" by using the appropriate size canning jar on it (in my case a regular Mouth Ball canning jar works great). I put about 1/3 - 1/2 a cup of nuts at a time in a pint jar, and blend slowly at the lowest speed to get it to the right consistency.

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298 · September 07, 2013 at 1:28 AM

Thank you, KA24! I will try them :)

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6107 · October 22, 2012 at 12:41 AM

I misremembered it as pecan, but it's almond flour (though pecan sounds great!). 1/3 bag (1#?), add an egg white, salt & any herbs you like. Depending on how much flour, you may need to add another egg white, so consistency is like cookie dough. Add some oil if you like. Press dough out on baking parchment with your hands, then place a sheet parchment on top & roll thinly (like cracker-thin). Peel off one side of paper, put oiled pan on top, & flip. Peel off other sheet, & pre-bake at 350 until light brown. Add toppings & bake until done. Sorry this isn't more precise, but this is what I have.

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1190 · October 20, 2012 at 1:37 PM

Christopher, I only do small amounts at a time...especially with macadamia nuts since they are pure fat. With the soaked and dried almonds, that doesn't happen and I can do a cup at a time. The only problem there is that is isn't always uniform and there will be a few big chunks. I wish I knew the top grinder. Mine is a $50 KitchenAid which has earned it's keep, but I'd like to find the Vitamix of grinders! What is your pizza crust recipe? I'd love to know...I've sort of given up and just now just put the toppings on a grilled portabello cap.

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6107 · October 20, 2012 at 11:04 AM

Do you have any tips for avoiding that horrible moment while grinding nuts when they suddenly start turning into nut butter? This is what's prevented me from making my favorite pizza crust. It's ground pecans, but pecan flour seems harder to find than almond flour.

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6107 · October 20, 2012 at 10:59 AM

I think Luckie's got the right idea here. My version of the same idea came from attending a pie party. Any of those custard/mousse/fruit type options works well atop an almond meal crust done in a tart pan. Because tarts have less crust than regular pies, they require less almond meal than, say, a cake/muffin/bread. Browns nicely too, and if only very lightly sweetened, or even a little bit salted, it makes a nice foil for less sweetened fruit or custard/mousse. Bonus: no rolling out--just press into the pan with your fingers and blind bake. Sweet or savory toppings work.

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298 · October 19, 2012 at 11:51 PM

Unfortunately, no almond or coconut flour in my region. That's quite normal for here :(

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10480 · October 19, 2012 at 9:38 PM

... and pretty economical. Berries/stone fruit/general pie fruit, a little honey/stevia/maple if you want, in a ramekin or something. A little almond meal or coconut flakes for crunch, and top with whipped cream/coconut cream. I know these aren't "baked" goods quite like those you'd find with almond flours or coconut flours, but they are pretty tasty desserts, and you don't have to invest in a whole bag of weird flours.

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10480 · October 19, 2012 at 9:36 PM

Fair enough. :) I do desserts quite often, but have never used any of the "faileo" flours. If you're Primal, I find that heavy cream is just about the best ingredient for dessert ever. Chocolate mousses, pot de creme, creme brulee type things are luscious, sweet enough for the average person without being sickening to the Paleo-eater, and have way more fat than carbs. I also like flambeed/fried fruits (if they're not sweet enough for your guests, you can do a caramel syrup in the pan afterwards and serve it to them and not to yourself, if you choose.) Also paleo "pies" are great...

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298 · October 19, 2012 at 9:28 PM

Actually I'm interested in something paleo that can be served as a dessert and still be sweet-tasting to my guests :)

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5775 · October 19, 2012 at 7:27 PM

Just yesterday I made something very similar to no-bake cookies. About a 5:1 ratio of protein powder and coconut flour. Threw in some coconut water and let it sit in the fridge. Maybe not ideal for just eating casually, but I'm always trying to get quick protein calories and these turned out good.

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6 Answers

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10480 · October 19, 2012 at 8:59 PM

It is expensive. It's also not really the most nutritious food (not that every bite has to be as nutrient dense as possible, but things that aren't should probably not be a daily food).

If you want to have "paleo" baked goods on occasion, then consider the prohibitive cost a way to make sure that you don't overindulge. If you are looking for a cheap alternative because you'll be using it as a staple, perhaps you should reconsider that decision first.

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c
6107 · October 20, 2012 at 10:59 AM

I think Luckie's got the right idea here. My version of the same idea came from attending a pie party. Any of those custard/mousse/fruit type options works well atop an almond meal crust done in a tart pan. Because tarts have less crust than regular pies, they require less almond meal than, say, a cake/muffin/bread. Browns nicely too, and if only very lightly sweetened, or even a little bit salted, it makes a nice foil for less sweetened fruit or custard/mousse. Bonus: no rolling out--just press into the pan with your fingers and blind bake. Sweet or savory toppings work.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d
10480 · October 19, 2012 at 9:38 PM

... and pretty economical. Berries/stone fruit/general pie fruit, a little honey/stevia/maple if you want, in a ramekin or something. A little almond meal or coconut flakes for crunch, and top with whipped cream/coconut cream. I know these aren't "baked" goods quite like those you'd find with almond flours or coconut flours, but they are pretty tasty desserts, and you don't have to invest in a whole bag of weird flours.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d
10480 · October 19, 2012 at 9:36 PM

Fair enough. :) I do desserts quite often, but have never used any of the "faileo" flours. If you're Primal, I find that heavy cream is just about the best ingredient for dessert ever. Chocolate mousses, pot de creme, creme brulee type things are luscious, sweet enough for the average person without being sickening to the Paleo-eater, and have way more fat than carbs. I also like flambeed/fried fruits (if they're not sweet enough for your guests, you can do a caramel syrup in the pan afterwards and serve it to them and not to yourself, if you choose.) Also paleo "pies" are great...

7b4641bc7c610f2944da66f79cc3378a
298 · October 19, 2012 at 9:28 PM

Actually I'm interested in something paleo that can be served as a dessert and still be sweet-tasting to my guests :)

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1097 · December 03, 2013 at 12:02 AM

Baked goods are not paleo. Therefore I'm only worried about using 'safe' ingredients (gluten/soy free specifically) when making baked goods. I use mostly sweet white rice flour and tapioca flour. Works just fine for me, and I only get baked goods on my 'nonpaleo' day, once a week.

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0 · December 02, 2013 at 11:05 PM

I was able to find Nutiva Organic Coconut flour for around $2.19 a pound it bulk (25lb. bag) through allstarhealth.com. Maybe worth checking out:

http://www.allstarhealth.com/de_p_ref/26094/pla26094/NUTIVA_Coconut_Flour.htm?utm_source=google&utm_medium=GPS&utm_campaign=26094&gclid=CJ6524rTkrsCFdKEfgod3k0Abw

Also, I just heard a podcast lady mention that sunflower seed flour (homemade) is cheaper than Almond Flour...I just love the taste and convience of Coconut Flour myself...in addition to some great MCTs. : )

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1190 · October 20, 2012 at 10:43 AM

My solution to avoid paying $10.99/pound for Bob's almond flour at Whole Foods is to buy raw organic almonds ($6.99/pound). I soak them overnight in salted water a la Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions to remove the phytates. I slip the skins off and then dry the skinned almonds in the oven or under the woodstove in the winter, and store the dried, skinned almonds in the refrigerator. When I want to use almond flour, I just grind the right amount in my spice grinder. If is is a special occasion cake, I then sift the flour to remove any larger chunks, but usually I just use it as is.

Granted this method is incredibly labor intensive. I am trying to move away from the family expectation of a couple desserts/week, so I have my husband (motivated by his super-sweet-tooth) skin the almonds. (The reasoning being that he will find it a pain-in-the-ass and not ask for dessert as often.) The rest of the labor (soaking and drying) is passive. Grinding just takes a second. I know the savings is not great, but I feel better knowing the almonds have been soaked overnight and since the almonds sort of swell up after the soaking as seem to maintain this girth after drying, I think I might be using less/volume than if I hadn't soaked them.

Removing the skins is also makes for a much lighter and tastier result. That's why I avoid the Trader Joes almond flour which clearly contains ground up skins.

Hope that helps.

3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173
8057 · December 03, 2013 at 1:41 AM

Another option is to make a coconut flour or nut flour as a secondary product from making nutsmilk or coconut milk. Use blanched soaked nuts/seeds OR coconut (do not have to soak the coconut) and hot water in about a 1:3 ratio. Blend in a regular blender until there is a milky consistency. Squeeze the milk from the pulp (in a cheesecloth or nutsmilk bag). Dry the pulp in the oven or food dehydrator, then grind it in the blender or food processor to a fine flour. This has better consistency than grinding the nuts without water, and the resulting milk is nice to have, too.

3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173
8057 · December 03, 2013 at 1:37 AM

The trick to avoiding making nut butter instead of nut flour is to grind at a very low speed. I've turned my blender into a "Nutri-Bullet" by using the appropriate size canning jar on it (in my case a regular Mouth Ball canning jar works great). I put about 1/3 - 1/2 a cup of nuts at a time in a pint jar, and blend slowly at the lowest speed to get it to the right consistency.

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c
6107 · October 22, 2012 at 12:41 AM

I misremembered it as pecan, but it's almond flour (though pecan sounds great!). 1/3 bag (1#?), add an egg white, salt & any herbs you like. Depending on how much flour, you may need to add another egg white, so consistency is like cookie dough. Add some oil if you like. Press dough out on baking parchment with your hands, then place a sheet parchment on top & roll thinly (like cracker-thin). Peel off one side of paper, put oiled pan on top, & flip. Peel off other sheet, & pre-bake at 350 until light brown. Add toppings & bake until done. Sorry this isn't more precise, but this is what I have.

Ef32d6cc543a74319464e2100e5a9ffd
1190 · October 20, 2012 at 1:37 PM

Christopher, I only do small amounts at a time...especially with macadamia nuts since they are pure fat. With the soaked and dried almonds, that doesn't happen and I can do a cup at a time. The only problem there is that is isn't always uniform and there will be a few big chunks. I wish I knew the top grinder. Mine is a $50 KitchenAid which has earned it's keep, but I'd like to find the Vitamix of grinders! What is your pizza crust recipe? I'd love to know...I've sort of given up and just now just put the toppings on a grilled portabello cap.

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c
6107 · October 20, 2012 at 11:04 AM

Do you have any tips for avoiding that horrible moment while grinding nuts when they suddenly start turning into nut butter? This is what's prevented me from making my favorite pizza crust. It's ground pecans, but pecan flour seems harder to find than almond flour.

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25 · October 19, 2012 at 11:06 PM

If you have any health food stores in your area (in my area we have Sprouts or Henry's Farmer's Market), check them, and browse the bulk food section. In my area, I can find almond flour for $3.99-$4.99/lb there versus paying $12.99 for a small bag of the Bob's almond flour at another grocery store. Plus, if you catch them running a sale, or they offer coupons, you can generally save even more money that way.

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298 · October 19, 2012 at 11:51 PM

Unfortunately, no almond or coconut flour in my region. That's quite normal for here :(

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5775 · October 19, 2012 at 7:20 PM

I've made some interesting stuff with protein powder. Cauliflower, carrots, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, etc...all can be used in baking when you're talking about casseroles or hot dishes.

If you're talking about making cookies, muffins, other baked goods, etc...you're talking about using an extremely refined product (flour). Turning the source into flour is expensive. In the U.S. and many other areas, almonds and coconut are far less abundant than wheat. As your said, a cup of almond flour takes a LOT of almonds.

Coconut flour is the best, IMO, but it's just something you have to accept that it will be expensive. I'd try the whey protein. You can also try egg whites, especially if they are whipped.

7b4641bc7c610f2944da66f79cc3378a
298 · September 07, 2013 at 1:28 AM

Thank you, KA24! I will try them :)

68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905
5775 · October 19, 2012 at 7:27 PM

Just yesterday I made something very similar to no-bake cookies. About a 5:1 ratio of protein powder and coconut flour. Threw in some coconut water and let it sit in the fridge. Maybe not ideal for just eating casually, but I'm always trying to get quick protein calories and these turned out good.

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