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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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. : )
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.