Tuesday, June 20, 2017

THE GUIDE: ALTERNATIVE BAKING

T H E   G U I D E  |  A L T E R N A T I V E   B A K I N G
A guide to baking with alternative grain-free flours, four one-ingredient egg substitutes with a nut- and seed-free one that is gut healing, PLUS a round-up of autoimmune-friendly baked good recipes . . .

Read after the jump!


                                                               
                                                                 A L T E R N A T I V E   F L O U R S

b l a n c h e d   a l m o n d   f l o u r | Almond flour was my first introduction to alternative flours, as is the case for many. It was through the OG Paleo blog Elana's Pantry, which features predominantly almond flour-based recipes. Almonds are rich in magnesium, vitamin E, protein, many B-vitamins, manganese, potassium, and other essential minerals. It's lower in unhealthy omega-6 polyunsaturated fats per gram compared to other nuts. Another favourite similar nut-based flour is the expensive yet indulgent hazelnut flour, which yields a Nutella-esque flavour when combined with cacao.

However, it's important to be mindful of the quantity of nuts you end up eating when they're in ground, flour form. Almond flour-heavy baked goods can cause an inflammatory response or minor responses such as breakouts when consumed excessively. This is a worthy and beneficial but dense food. You can use almond flour to replace gluten-containing flours relatively similarly but it will not yield the glutinous elasticity or hold up in the same way. It will require extra binding with ingredients such as egg or egg replacements as outlined below.


c o c o n u t   f l o u r | Made from ground-up coconut pulp, coconut flour is the most dense and fiber-rich of the alternative flours although it's low in digestible carbohydrates. It's an absorbent and extremely sensitive/finicky flour; careful measurement is necessary here. It's rarely ever used as the dominant base flour but rather as a binding secondary flour. It replaces a quarter of gluten-based flour, with recipes often calling for a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of it. I love coconut flour based recipes because it yields a satiating, dense texture. It's also lower in anti-nutrient phytates that block the absorption of beneficial vitamins and minerals that other nuts and seeds contain.

t i g e r n u t   f l o u r | Despite the name, these are not nuts but starchy tubers. They are a source of gut-friendly resistant starches and thus act as a source of balancing "food" for the gut bacteria. It's a slightly gritty and nuttier flour that's harder to experiment with. 

Also, as it's one of the most expensive of the list, I recommend using it only for trusted recipes. 

p l a n t a i n  &   g r e e n  b a n a n a   f l o u r |  Both green banana and plantain flours are relatively new to the market and are great options to create a drier texture than would the whole fruits themselves. Both the fresh and dried flour versions are comparable to the density created by glutenous flours. The latter has a chewier texture, which for a texture fanatic myself, is very enjoyable in small baked goods such as cookies. They are higher in carbohydrates, though, so I recommend using them sparingly. They are also a source of resistant starch with green banana being so only in its raw form.

a r r o w r o o t   f l o u r   &  t a p i o c a   s t a r c h |  These are often interchangeable root vegetable flours. They yield a fluffier yet elastic texture that the previous two flours do not. I find that the elasticity allows it to render baked goods with a flavour and texture most similar to ones baked with gluten. Yet, they're my secondary choice as they're higher in carbohydrates (despite being unrefined) and still do affect blood sugar levels. 

c a s s a v a   f l o u r |  This is one of my absolute favourite replacements for gluten-containing flours as it's the only one-to-one replacement for it. It's dense yet fluffy, elastic, and has a flavour most reminiscent of white flour. It's auto-immune friendly, satiating, and easiest to work with. My go-to recipe using cassava flour is the tortilla recipe below. 

                                                                     E G G   R E P L A C E M E N T S 

c h i a   s e e d s |  Of the seed-based egg replacements, chia seeds are my preferred choice. Unlike flax seed below, they don't require grinding and do not go rancid (flax seeds should be refrigerated in whole seed form to preserve integrity). They're also higher in healthy omega 3 fatty acids, contain 6 more grams of fiber, and are easier to digest. The soluble to insoluble fiber ratio slows down glucose uptake, so it's beneficial for those with blood sugar sensitivity and diabetics. However, be cautious with chia if you are taking blood thinners or have low blood pressure as its high omega-3 levels can further distress both. 

To make a chia "egg," mix one tablespoon of chia seeds to 3 tablespoons of filtered water. Let it sit for fifteen minutes until it gels. Use it immediately or store it in the refrigerator in an airtight glass container for up to one week.


f l a x   s e e d s |  These are my secondary option for seed-based egg replacement for the reasons above and because of their nuttier flavour. They still boast a nutrient-dense profile with high levels of fiber, antioxidants, and minerals such as magnesium. They do contain phytoestrogens, however, so those with higher levels of oestrogen should consume it with caution. Keep your flax seeds in the refrigerator in whole form and grind them fresh. Measure again post-grinding as fresh and ground flax seed quantities don't equate. 

To make flax "eggs," combine a tablespoon of fresh ground flax seeds with three tablespoons of filtered water. Let it sit for about 10-15 minutes until it forms a gel.

p s y l l i u m   h u s k | I use psyllium husk not as a complete egg replacement but as an additional binder and to obtain a glutinous chewy texture in alternative bread recipes. Grind it up fresh and experiment with using about a teaspoon in a recipe. Heating whatever liquid is called for will "activate" the psyllium to bind more sufficiently. If you have a sensitive stomach or highly inflamed due to autoimmune disorder or a flare-up, I suggest staying away from psylllium. 

p u r é e d  f r u i t s   &   v e g e t a b l e s |  Puréed banana, applesauce, avocado and root vegetable purées such as pumpkin work the best in sweet baked goods. Just half a cup of each will replace on egg. These are best mostly for cake recipes or ones that call for more of a moist rather than a dense texture. 

g e l a t i n | Although the above seed- or fruit & vegetable-based egg replacements are often sufficient options, they don't always work. Fruit and vegetables purées aren't always compatible with savoury recipes, can provide too much moisture, or not create enough bind. I have found gelatin to be the best egg-free replacement in baking with a nutritional profile that is the most beneficial as well. Grass-fed gelatin such as this one heals the gut-lining (especially comprised ones from chronic or autoimmune disease and/or high stress); reduces cellulite and slows aging; supports lean muscle development; is easily digested and assimilated; supports the musculoskeletal system; increases metabolism; reduces inflammation; and balances hormones.

To replace one egg, use a tablespoon of this gelatin with three tablespoons of filtered water at rom temperature. To do so, follow the steps outlined below:

I. Add the water to the gelatin in a small saucepan, let it "bloom" or swell up as it sits for 2 minutes.
II. Once bloomed, turn the heat to medium and allow the gelatin to melt as you whisk to combine it well.
III. Once the gelatin has melted, whisk it further and vigourously until it becomes frothy.
IV. Use it immediately in your chosen recipe as unlike chia or flax seed eggs, this does not store well.


                                                                         R E C I P E   R O U N D -  U P  
s w e e t 
Baby Birthday Cake | AIP / Paleo / nut-free / sugar-free
Herbal Tea Jell-O | AIP / Paleo / refined sugar-free
Healing Strawberry Coconut Smoothie | AIP / Paleo / refined sugar-free
Banana Pancakes | AIP / Paleo / refined sugar-free / contains coconut
Lemon Cake Cookies | AIP / Paleo / refined sugar-free / contains coconut
Panna Cotta with Lemon Caramel | AIP / Paleo / refined sugar-free / contains coconut

s a v o u r y
BBQ Chicken Flatbread Pizza | AIP / Paleo / seed-free / contains coconut
Savoury Breakfast Biscuits | AIP / Paleo / seed-free
AIP Bread Rolls | AIP / Paleo / seed-free / contains coconut
Bread Sticks | AIP / Paleo / seed-free / contains coconut
Bacon Herbed Biscuits | AIP / Paleo / seed-free
Vaca Frita | AIP / Paleo / seed-free
Tortillas | AIP / Paleo / seed-free