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Almond Meal/Flour, the quintessential "paleo" and low carb baking ingredient, is a fabulous ingredient whether you're watching carbs or not. We started offering almond meal quite a while ago thinking it was just another neat, yet obscure, ingredient. Little did we know it would catch on like wildfire and become one of our top sellers. We recently expanded our nut flour lineup to include a Natural Almond Meal for those that want to use a whole food ingredient.
What Is Almond Meal?
Almond meal is sweet almonds that are ground into a “flour-like” consistency. As such, almond meal and almond flour are often times used to mean the same, but may differ in how fine the grind is. We offer two types of almond meal: natural almond meal and blanched almond meal. Because we came out with blanched first, it's really just known as almond meal around here, but if you look carefully at the packaging, it will say blanched.
What Is Blanched Almond Meal vs. Natural Almond Meal?
Blanched almond meal is simply almonds with the skins removed and ground into a coarse flour (meal). Our natural almond meal is made from whole almonds with the skins intact. There is only a slight difference between the two in their nutritional make-up (natural has slightly more vitamin E) and they perform identically in baking. The only real difference is in how they look. The natural is speckled with bits of almond fiber (skin), while the blanched is a creamy tan.
What Is the Difference Between Almond Meal vs Almond Flour?
Almond meal and almond flour are terms that are often used interchangeably. The main difference between almond meal vs almond flour can be how fine the grind is, with almond flour being finer and almond meal being slightly coarser. In some cases, almond meal is made out of the whole raw almonds, while almond flour is made from peeled almonds. At Bob’s Red Mill, we interchange the terms, calling ours both a meal and a flour.
Why do some manufacturers call their almond flour a "flour" and some a "meal" and Bob's Red Mill calls it both? A quick milling lesson: flour is the finest grind you can get. Meal is the next finest grind--coarser than flour, finer than grits. Almond flour is inherently coarser than conventional wheat flour. It has to be. If you grind almonds too finely, you know what you get? Almond butter. Some manufacturers get it super fine and pass it off as flour, while others err on the side of a coarser product, calling it a meal. Ours is on the fine end of the spectrum, but it's still coarser than wheat flour, so we call it a meal. When we first brought this product to market, we were concerned (and rightly so) that folks wouldn't know what to do with it. Adding the term flour tells the consumer that you use this product in baking.
Are Almond Meal and Almond Flour the Same Thing?
In short, yes, almond meal and almond flour are used interchangeably to mean the same thing. Almond meal might be a little more coarse while almond flour might be a little more fine.
Can You Substitute Almond Meal for Almond Flour?
The reality is that almond meal and almond flour are interchangeable terms, the only difference being the grind. The thinner the grind, and the closer it is to conventional wheat flour, the better it will be for baked goods. The more coarse it is, the better it is for breading or cooking if you need a flour substitute. It really comes down to a personal preference on the grind. Almond flour is a great gluten free flour to use in baked goods and is often used in many gluten free recipes.
Why Would You Use Almond Flour or Almond Meal?
As with Hazelnut Meal, there are many reasons one might use almond meal or almond flour, but they break down into a few broad groups.
- You are a baker looking for a decadent addition to your baked goods. Baked goods might taste better with a finer almond meal/flour.
- You are gluten free and looking for a way to boost the nutritional content of your baked goods.
- You are following a low carbohydrate diet or some variety, be it for weight loss or diabetes management. Lower in carbs than wheat flour or all-purpose flour, almond flour is lower is also packed with fiber and healthy fats.
How Do You Use Almond Flour or Almond Meal?
Almond meal can be used like any other nut flour, but those who might not be familiar with using nut flours in their daily lives would be wise to consider these points. Almond meal does not contain gluten and is light on starches, so it should be used in conjunction with other flours. Our suggestion is to replace no more than 25% of the flour in your recipe with almond meal. This will bring a richness and nutty texture to your baked goods. If you are looking to create baked goods with a low carbohydrate load, it can be used on its own or in conjunction with other flours that will help give it structure. As with coconut flour, we highly recommend using a recipe that is designed for almond meal to get started.
It also makes a fantastic coating for proteins like chicken and fish and a great addition to smoothies. When you find a recipe that asks you to grind up almonds, use our flour instead. It’s the same thing, only we do all the work for you and you don’t have to wash your food processor.
Almond Meal Recipes to Try
There are no shortage of almond meal recipes available online, but here are a few great starter recipes. Find even more, here.
- Almond Meal Bread
- Almond Meal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Almond Blondies (pictured above)
- Almond Cranberry Chocolate Chip Bread
- Classic French Macarons