Whether you’re searching for more low carb baking options or creating delicious gluten free desserts, almond flour is an excellent alternative to grain-based flours. When purchasing almond flour, you’ll likely notice two kinds: Blanched Almond Flour and Unblanched Almond Flour. Though the two can be used interchangeably, there are noticeable differences to consider before baking with them. If you’ve taken the time to find a tasty almond flour recipe and are curious about which type of almond flour to use, let us help. Continue reading to discover the difference between these two types of almond flour and when to use each.
What is Blanched Almond Flour?
Simply put, when an almond is blanched, the skin has been removed from the nut. Raw almonds are typically coated in a red-brown skin surrounding the nut, and when that skin is left on the almond, it produces flour with a different texture than when it is removed. Blanched almond flour contains no traces of an almond’s skin, and because of this, it has a smooth, delicate texture.
How is an Almond Blanched?
Blanching an almond isn’t a complicated process. To quickly blanch almonds, you’ll want to place them into boiling water and let them soak for about two minutes. After they have soaked, drain the water and wash the almonds with cold water. This should cause the skin to slide off of the nuts. Once the skin of all of the almonds is fully removed, they are considered blanched.
So, how and when is blanched almond flour used? The fine and smooth texture of blanched almond flour creates treats that are light and fluffy. Because of this, it’s often the preferred flour type when making desserts like pastries. Additionally, because the almonds are lighter and more uniform, the flour will add a consistent appearance to your dish. While the nutritional benefits of blanched almond flour may differ slightly from unblanched flour, it’s not by a significant amount.
Why Some Bakers Prefer Blanched Almond Flour
Aside from its super fine texture, some bakers prefer blanched almond flour for varying health reasons. Almonds contain high amounts of phytic acid, an anti-nutrient that can inhibit the proper absorption of iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium and copper. Phytic acid naturally occurs in other healthy foods like beans, nuts, seeds and grains and helps protect a seed until it germinates. However, some health experts believe that this acid is not beneficial for humans and that too much of it can cause health problems. Luckily, phytic acid is hardly present in blanched almonds since it’s found mainly in the skin of the almond.
Unblanched Almond Flour
While blanched almond flour is made with almonds without the skin, unblanched almonds are those that have the skin on. Because unblanched almond flour uses the whole almond, it has a red-brown color and darker brown specks throughout. Unlike blanched almond flour, this darker texture can change the appearance of baked goods, causing some cooks to avoid it. However, some individuals don’t mind the color change and may prefer its more natural look.
The all-natural nature of unblanched almond flour also comes with many health benefits. Loaded with health-boosting vitamins and minerals, almonds have been known to help raise energy levels, improve skin, and keep you feeling full for longer. Almonds can also help regulate your digestive system due to their high amounts of fiber.
What Are the Differences Between Blanched and Unblanched Almond Flour
When looking at the differences between blanched and unblanched almond flour, the most noticeable are their weight, appearance, and texture. However, these differences are not significant enough to derail a recipe if the wrong one is used. Therefore, in nearly all baking recipes, unblanched and blanched almond flour can be used interchangeably.
How to Use Each Type of Almond Flour?
Almond flour (no matter the type) is an excellent plant-based flour that can be used in various recipes and cuisines. Cakes, cookies, pasta and pizza crust can all be created with almond flour. Additionally, because almond flour is slightly sweeter and nuttier than most flavors, it will add a boost of flavor to savory dishes. Overflowing with nutrients like healthy fats and low in carbs, it’s the perfect flour to use when following a ketogenic diet. To begin baking with almond flour, look at our almond flour products, and decide which sounds best to you. Our almond flour is guaranteed to be gluten free, kosher, vegan and paleo.
Almond Flours Vs. Other Flours
Wondering how almond flour stacks up when compared to traditional wheat flours? While almond flour may be a bit higher in calories, it has much fewer carbs. This makes it a staple ingredient in low carb recipes. Additionally, almond flour contains significant amounts of healthy fats, a highly encouraged nutrient on a ketogenic diet. When enjoying baked treats made with almond flour, try not to overindulge as they may quickly put you over your daily caloric goal.
Is Coconut Flour a Good Almond Flour Substitute?
When searching for a grain-free substitute for almond flour, coconut flour often tops the list. Because coconut flour has a similar carb content to wheat flour, it's not usually considered low carb, like almond flour. But, while coconut flour may be higher in carbs than almond flour, it has significantly fewer calories and is nut and gluten free. This being, it's an excellent option for people searching for grain free flour or those with a nut allergy. One of the drawbacks of using coconut flour to replace almond flour is that it's can be pretty tricky to bake with. Coconut flour is excellent at absorbing moisture and can often leave baked treats dry and crumbly. If you're swapping coconut flour into a recipe that doesn't usually use it, then you'll want to review the recipe's specific substitution instructions or use almond flour instead.
Which Type of Almond Flour Should You Buy?
Both unblanched and blanched almond flour are a healthy choice when searching for grain and gluten free baking flour. And choosing which to buy comes down to your personal health goals and position. When deciding between these two types of almond flour, ask yourself the following questions.
How Do I Want My Final Baking Product to Look?
If you want your final baking product to have a light and uniform look, then we recommend choosing blanched almond flour for your baking recipes.
Do I Care About Phytic Acid?
If you are concerned about consuming too much phytic acid, we recommend choosing an almond flour that does not include the skin. Most blanched almond flours contain little to no phytic acid.
Does My Recipe Need a Flavor Boost?
Eager to add a bit of nutty flavor to your next recipe? Use an almond flour that uses the whole almond—skin and all. While most unblanched almond flours include the skin in the flour-making process, you'll want to check the ingredient list for "whole almonds" to make sure.
Which Is Better for a Low Carb Diet?
Because blanched and unblanched almond flour is made from the same product, almonds, they are both great low carb flour choices. When deciding which baking flour to use to create keto treats, it comes down to preference. Review the flour's differences above and determine which will best suit your baking needs.
Recipes to Create With Almond Flour
If you're ready to begin baking with almond flour and don't know where to start, let us help. The recipes below work well as a tasty introduction to almond flour—especially if you haven't cooked with it before.
An excellent and low carb way to start your day, these Almond Pancakes are the perfect recipe to make if you're new to cooking with almond flour. Developed with almond flour in mind, it creates a light, fluffy and irresistible pancake that everyone at the table will go crazy for. Pair it with delicious toppings like fresh fruit and maple syrup and enjoy.
Looking for a sweet dessert recipe that won't derail your diet. These Almond Brownies are all that and more. Made with almond flour and unsweetened cocoa powder, they're a mouthwatering dessert that can be served in several ways. Top them with festive icing and sprinkles for the holidays, pair them with a cold scoop of vanilla ice cream, or pack them with you to enjoy on the go. No matter how or when you want this dessert, it's sure to satisfy.
Now that you know the differences between blanched and unblanched almond flour, we hope you use them to create delicious recipes like the ones above. Using almond flour in your baked goods is the perfect way to avoid common food allergies while keeping them low carb. Ready to start your almond flour adventure? We can't wait to see what you come up with. From everyone at Bob's Red Mill, happy baking!