Low Carb Basics: Baking with Almond Flour

I recently had the rather brilliant idea of doing a big low carb baking primer to answer the myriad questions I get on my blog, social media and by email.  I thought it would be so smart to do one big post that answered all of your questions in one go.  Alas, when I posted the idea on Facebook, I was flooded with a multitude of such varied and specific questions, I realized I couldn’t possibly write it all in a single post.  Unless, of course, I wanted that post to be so big and so long, no one would be able to read it.  So I decided to tackle one subject at a time, and do a series of posts that will be more useful for everyone.  Today’s lesson: Baking With Almond Flour.  Because almond flour is my go-to for most recipes, I am highly comfortable with it, and it’s perhaps one of the most versatile low carb ingredients.  And I like to consider myself something of an almond flour wizard!  I am not the end all, be all expert in almond flour, but I have far more success than I do failure and I want to share my experience with you.

Almond Flour Baking TipsChocolate Raspberry Thumbprints, Chocolate Donuts with Irish Cream Glaze, Low Carb Panini, Biscoff Cookies, Chocolate Layer Cake

What’s the difference between Almond Flour and Almond Meal?

Let’s clear up any misconceptions right now that all almond “flour” is created equal.  I get the above question a lot, and the answer is a resounding NO!  Sure, they are both made from ground almonds, but anything that calls itself almond flour *should* be so finely ground, you can make beautiful fine-textured cakes that rival their wheat-based counterparts.  And it *should* be blanched almond flour, so that you get no little dark bits of skin.  The only two products I’ve ever used which have the right to call themselves almond flour are Honeyville Blanched** and Oh! Nuts.  I am sure there are a few others out there, but the rest definitely fall into the category of almond meal, a more coarsely ground substance.

Both have their uses, for certain.  Almond meal is often good enough for baked goods where texture doesn’t matter as much.  Muffins, for one thing.  And since it’s often less expensive, it may be preferable to almond flour at times.  It can be both blanched (Bob’s Red Mill) and unblanched (Trader Joe’s and others).  And you don’t even have to buy almond meal, you can make it yourself if you have a good food processor.

So, if you’ve ever made an almond flour recipe and had issues with the final product holding together, leaching out the oils or butter, or not rising properly and holding its shape, a likely culprit is that you are using the coarser almond meal, instead of almond flour.   The larger particles mean less cohesiveness for the finished product.  For some things, it may not matter.  But if it’s cakes and fine-textured items, it certainly does.

**Honeyville also makes a “natural” almond flour, from unblanched almonds.  I haven’t tried it myself, but a reader of mine said that things made with it came out more dense and it didn’t rise as well.  This could be due to a heavier weight in the almond skins and perhaps a chemical (like phytic acid) that changes the properties of the baked good.

low carb Amish Friendship Bread

Low Carb Amish Friendship Bread

How do you sub almond flour for wheat flour?

Oh boy, I wish I could tell you it was as simple as swapping one for the other in a 1:1 ratio.  But it’s not and when you think about it, you can see why.  Almond flour is ground nuts, full of fat and moisture, entirely without gluten and not nearly as powdery, fine and dry as wheat flour.  So there are a whole range of factors you need to account for when adapting a wheat-based recipe to low carb and gluten-free.    A cup of almond flour also differs significantly in weight from a cup of wheat flour.  Out of curiosity, I just went and measure the two (literally right now, as I am writing this) and a cup of wheat flour came to 5 oz, while a cup of Honeyville blanced almond flour came to 3.98 oz.  That’s a full ounce difference!

So if you are a total beginner with almond flour, I’d actually suggest you stick to some tried and true recipes to get a feel for how it behaves and the overall proportions.  That’s certainly how I started, 2 and 1/2 years ago.  Once you have a good sense for almond flour recipes, you will find it easier to strike out on your own and adapt some family favourites.

Let me tell you what I do, when I start making over a recipe.  Take, for example, my Almond Crusted Butter Cake.  The original wheat-based recipe took about 50% more butter and 50% less flour.  And knowing that almond flour has a higher fat content but is less dense than wheat flour, I basically switched this ratio around.  Then I doubled the baking powder and added in whey protein to make up for the lack of gluten and to give the end result more structure.  Then I crossed my finger, said a little prayer, and popped it in the oven.  And it has since become one of my all-time favourite recipes!

You can also increase the eggs for more protein and structure, but too many eggs can give the final result a rubbery texture or make it too “wet” and gummy in the center.  I usually start with one more egg, and then add another closer to the end if the batter seems to heavy and thick.

One important thing to note when adapting wheat flour recipes is that your almond flour batter will almost always be thicker.  Don’t expect it to look exactly like a wheat-based batter and resist the urge to thin it out with liquids, or you will likely end up with a soggy mess.

Low Carb Cranberry Bread

Cranberry Lime Loaves

Can I use other nut flours in place of almond flour? 

I give the answer to this question as a tentative “yes”, with several caveats.  First off, I don’t know of too many other nut “flours” that are as finely ground as true blanched almond flour, so if texture and consistency of the end result is dependent on the grind, then you may have some difficulty.  But some muffin, cake, scone and cookie recipes would lend themselves admirably to a simple swap of one nut flour/meal for another.  Several of my biscotti recipes could be made with hazelnut meal instead of almond flour, as could some cracker and cookie recipes.  And my Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake could easily be made with another nut meal of choice (walnut, almond, pecan…all of those would do well).  Most muffin recipes would do just fine with a swap of nut meals.  But finer cakes and cupcakes might become too crumbly, to coarse and possibly leach out oil during baking if you attempt it with anything but the most finely ground flours.

How about coconut flour, can I sub that in?

As a direct 1:1 substitution, no you can’t and we will tackle coconut flour more fully in another post.  Coconut flour is an entirely different creature than any flour based on tree nuts.  It’s fine, powdery, dense and soaks up liquids like nobody’s business.  It also requires more eggs and sometimes more other “binders” like xanthan gum, to keep the final product together.  And you want to use WAY less coconut flour for a recipe than you would almond flour, sometimes as little as 1/3 to 1/4.  In essence, if you choose to make a recipe based on almond flour with coconut flour, you will need to restructure the whole thing.

If I were to take one of my basic almond flour recipes and rework it for coconut flour, I would start with half the amount of flour, twice the eggs, some xanthan gum, a little more leavening agent like baking powder, and then I would add my liquids like coconut or almond milk last and not all at once.  I would add some liquid, work it in and see how thick the batter was, then add a bit more and a bit more until it felt right to me.  Again, “right” in this case is likely be a thicker batter than anything wheat-based, so it take some experimenting to get it right.

One good thing about working with coconut flour (and almond flour) is that they don’t contain gluten so over-mixing is usually not an issue.  On occasion, I’ve been making a coconut flour recipe and suddenly thought it needs another egg or two.  I’ve added it at the very end and had no problems with the end result.  In this sense, at least, coconut and almond flours can be very forgiving.

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies 3 @dreamaboutfood

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

What about peanut flour?

The best answer I can give you here is “maybe”.  Peanut flour comes in a variety of forms, including roasted (light and dark), unroasted, partially defatted and full-fat.  I ordered some peanut flour once that was essentially just ground peanuts and it did well as a sub for almond flour in several recipes.  But the defatted ones are a little bit like coconut flour, they are very fine and powdery and soak up a lot of liquid.  So they are going to require some reworking of the basic recipe in some of the same ways as coconut flour, although to a lesser extent.

Do you pack your cups of almond flour or just scoop and level them?

I always use the scoop and level method, and never try to jam pack my cups to get more almond in there.  So all of my recipes will be written assuming you simply measure an unpacked scoop.  I would hope that if someone writes a recipe where the cup of almond flour needs to be tightly packed, they would specify this, as one does for brown sugar and such in conventional recipes.

Many gluten-free recipes are done by weight, not volume, because gluten-free ingredients can differ significantly by brand.  I don’t do this because although I do own a kitchen scale, many home cooks do not.  I want my recipes to be as accessible to as many people as possible.  Weight measurements are more accurate overall, but it does me little good if my readers don’t own a kitchen scale!

Cheddar+Jalapeno+Muffins+2

Cheddar Jalapeno Muffins

How can I get my almond flour breads to be more “bready” and less “cakey”?

Looking for a firmer bread you can toast and slather with peanut butter?  Yeah, me too.  Almond flour is by nature moist so if using it on its own, your end result is more cakey, or muffin-y.  I find that adding a little bit of a denser flour, like coconut flour or oat flour, without increasing the moisture content, can help stiffen the batter and thus firm up the bread.  I used coconut flour successfully in my Low Carb Panini Bread Recipe.  I do sometimes use oat fiber, such as in my  almond flour bread, but I can’t seem to find any gluten-free versions (I did source some gluten-free once, from a bakery supply store that seems to have gone under).  A little oat flour can help too, if you don’t mind some grain-based flour in your recipes.

Why do you use whey protein in so many of your recipes?

It isn’t, as some people think, to get more protein into my diet.  I am an unabashed carnivore and consume plenty of protein!  The simple truth is that gluten is itself a protein and it’s part of what gives wheat-based baked goods structure, allowing them to rise and stay risen.  In gluten-free baking, adding in a protein can help make up for this.  You can easily swap out the whey for your protein powder of choice (hemp, soy, even egg white powder), but the results may vary a little depending on the protein content per serving.

Are almond flour baked goods freezable?

Yes, thankfully, most of them are.  I have successfully frozen cakes, muffins, cookies, scones, and even some almond flour crusts.  I usually freeze after baking, although during the holidays, I froze some unbaked scones and then thawed them and baked them and they were wonderful!  In general I would suggest freezing things unfrosted or unglazed, as the low carb glaze may change consistency with freezing.

Low Carb Lemon Poppyseed Bundt Cake

Lemon Poppyseed Bundt Cake

How do you store almond flour?

I keep my unopened bags of almond flour in my cellar, which is quite cool year round.  Once a bag is opened, I transfer half of the almond flour to an airtight container and keep it on my counter.  The rest is frozen or refrigerated to keep help it keep.  I don’t recommend trying to bake with the almond flour straight out of the freezer.  The high moisture and fat content will make it very clumpy and hard to work with.

A few other almond flour baking tips:

Please, PLEASE let your baked goods cool completely!  It can be tempting to start cutting them up soon after they are baked, but try to resist or you may wind up with a heap of crumbs.  The texture and cohesiveness of almond flour baked goods ALWAYS improves upon cooling and sitting.  Crackers, cookies and tart crusts will crisp up better and breads and muffins will hold together better when left to sit for an hour or two.

An extension of this is rescuing a baked good by freezing it.  If you end up with an overly-moist baked good that is rather gummy in the center, it sometimes gets better after it’s been frozen.  You don’t need to eat it frozen, just give it a day or two in the freezer and see if it’s any better.

Almond flour baked goods can also brown more quickly than wheat flour recipes.  If I am adapting a wheat-flour recipe, I almost always lower my oven temperature by 25 degrees F, and I watch it carefully.  If the top and sides are browning too quickly, I cover the pan with aluminum foil.

Ready to become an almond flour baking expert?

I hope that helped answer some of your most pressing almond flour baking questions.  If you can think of anything I didn’t cover here, or you have some tips of your own you’d like to share, please leave a comment or send me an email.  I’d be more than happy to update this little (long) treatise to cover more ground!

 

 

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Comments

  1. Thank you!

    • I am diabetic, I am trying to eat healthier. I tried gluten free and found it is more agreeable with me. I eat less, am satisfied by a much smaller portion and tend not to eat late at night; all of which are better for me. I am new to baking my own gf bread so I am experimenting. I bought nuts in bulk to make my own almond milk(so good I just love home made) and the happy result was almond flour just for drying. I sift the meal( I do not use blanched almonds, made the choice for more nutrition) I am finally getting more palletable bread. YEAH. Then I see “do not use almond flour too high in calories” I found your blog and you have excellent suggestions. Thank You. A side note is by eating less, I am loosing weight( it’s a GOOD thing) It is a struggle. GF for me is the way to go, I have more energy and feel better and I like to play with my food…… ;)

      • Good for you! Don’t buy into the “too many calories” thing…it’s not true. Eating good foods rich in fats helps keep you satiated and you do eat less. Hang in there!

        • Thanks! I figure if I am eating less, not having cravings and being satisfied the 50 extra calories really don’t matter. If you eat 5 items @100 cal each and 1 @ 160 well, do the math LOL

    • Hi I would like to follow Carolyn’s blog but I”m clueless of how to do it! Can I get her gluten info blogs sent to my email, or how do I find her again? Great info! Thanks Ayn

  2. Thank you so much for taking the time to post this! Baking is tricky for many, and often the result is not good enough for the picky one’s of us. Your recepies lokes lovely, and I think I’ll try one this weekend :) But- How to choose????

  3. Nancy Mize says:

    Ok, at last I’m ready to give it a whirl. Thanks for answering so many of the questions I had about baking with almond flour! I think the only way I can get my dear husband on board with wheat-free living is with great baking…so wish us luck!

  4. Awesome info! Thanks so much!

  5. Very helpful. Thanks so much.

  6. brilliant pice, loads of great tips for those who have and haven’t tried baking with Almond flour.

    I have, with great success (your poppy-seed & lemon bundt cake)
    and with no success whatsoever (as with your almond butter cake. I know where I went wrong though: I made my own almond milk and thought it would be no problem to use the cup of almonds I had soaked for the milk in the cake recipe. WRONG!! And boy was it :( So good tip there too ;) )

    Loads of would be bakers will love you like we who know you already do.

    • Thanks. Oh dear about the butter cake. That one is definitely so reliant on the fine grind of proper almond flour. I think I have to make that recipe more specific.

  7. I always wondered how exactly a flour made from nuts could be substituted for wheat flour when nuts have so much fat in them. I feel enlightened now!

  8. This is great information! To be honest, I have found no need to try to convert a traditional recipe to one using almond flour. You have so many good recipes that my every wish for yummy baked goodness can be found here on your blog, as well as those of your fellow Low-Carbing Among Friends authors :)

  9. This is awesome! Thank you.

  10. I definitely need to read this over several times! Thanks for sharing all of your extensive baking knowledge with us!

  11. Thank you so much for sharing all of your research….Years ago I adapted a lower carb lifestyle and was quite happy with it…..except for baking…..never could seem to find the time to get the hang of it…..I am turning over a new leaf today….thanks for offering the information to help increase my confidence for the task.

  12. I posted this over on the Wheat Belly FB page. Always talk about almond flour over there :) Nice post.

  13. Carolyn, I can tell I’m going to refer back to this again and again!

  14. My husband and I are new to the wheat free eating, and all I can say is bless you for your information on almond flour, I had just about given up on being able to bake anything ever again, I will buy correct almond flour, and try again. Thank you.

  15. Thank you so much, this is one of those articles that makes me think, “well, this changes everything!”

    I had been using almond meal all along, until I purchased a bag of almond flour from Honeyville at your suggestion. Now, everything is so light and fluffy, almost indistinguishable from the regular flour versions.

  16. Alicia Allard says:

    This is a great tutorial on almond flour :) Thank you! I would like to comment on the 2 vendors you recommended and how excited I was to see their pricing for a 5 lb. bag of almond flour; however, living in Alaska which apparently isn’t part of the US according to them, charged me an extra $29 to ship it here.

    Thank you for the vendor referral. I’m still trying it out but disappointed with the price gouging on shipping.

    • That stinks, Alicia! Since I am originally from Canada, and all my family and friends have the same issue, I feel your pain!!!

    • Alicia, another reader just suggested this place, which sells almond flour to Canadians…maybe to Alaska too? http://www.jkgourmet.ca/products/almond-flour-2

      • Alicia Allard says:

        Wonderful!! Thanks, Carolyn :) I’ll check them out. At the end of the day, the cost is worth it to me to stay healthy and eat yummy, tasty food that isn’t full of preservatives, sugar, chemicals, etc.
        I love your site/recipes. Thank you for all your help :)

        • Alicia, I just noticed that Honeyville Almond Flour is available through Amazon.com, with their “Free Super Saver Shipping” option.

  17. Carolyn, a swell job covering the bases! I love how you included the tip to not cut into almond flour home baked treats until completely cooled. So many home bakers are tempted to dig right in while still warm and then, after falling to temptation, are disappointed when the cake or loaf falls apart or totally implodes…not unlike Clark Griswold’s turkey in the film, Christmas Vacation! Again, swell job!

  18. Thank you so much for this. Since removing grains and sugar from my diet, I feel like I’m learning to bake all over again. This is incredibly useful information and so beautifully accompanied by your photography. Lovely site!

  19. A great primer Carolyn. What I took away is the reminder all flours are not created equal and the characteristics of each must be considered when using them. One can’t just swap them ‘willy nilly’ with predictable results.

  20. Thanks for posting this Carolyn — I just attempted pancakes with coconut flour. Not a complete failure but still needs some work. I think I’ll try adding some Xanthum to the mix and see how that goes.

    LOVE your recipes girl – keep’em coming :)

    Blessings!
    Gail

    • Hi Gail. My best suggestion with pancakes is to keep them on the smallish side, no bigger than about 3 inches in diameter. They are really hard to flip and keep together, otherwise! Xanthan gum can definitely help a bit…so can a bit of protein powder.

  21. thanks for this… I used almond flour in a cake recently… a sugar, egg, and dairy free one… but I didn’t know the tip about letting it cool! So my cake was a total flop! I ended up layering the crumbles torte style, with strawberries and cool whip. But I have courage to try this again, thanks to you!

  22. Wow! Thanks so much for this! I do try to convert carby recipes for baked goods and, to some degree like the challenge, but my results are somewhat unpredictable. Not inedible but sometimes not as good as I want them to be. You are so nice to share this valuable information with us!

    I, like you I’m sure, am buried in snow this morning and may just have to amuse myself by baking something.

  23. Thank you for this post! I have always been afraid of almond flour, but now I have the confidence to try it!

  24. Great post, thank you for being so thorough! I haven’t had much luck with baking with almond flour when making my own adaptations so this definitely helps! You’re an angel. Thank you!!

  25. What a terrific article you created. I too, like many others had no idea of the difference between almond meal and almond flour. I certainly understand now and thank you very much for enlightening all of us. I now feel more comfortable using them. Thanks for your great recipes and information.

    • I didn’t think there was much difference at the beginning when I started baking either. But once I tried Honeyville, I saw a huge difference and knew it was worth my while.

  26. A great resource!

  27. Thank You so Much Carolyn!! This is so helpful, it is hard to believe how much you have accomplished in less than 3 years! I am in awe. Again, many thanks, Karen

  28. I have been low carbing for a year. Your blog, and the three low carbing with friends cookbooks have been among my greatest inspirations. Thank you so much for the flour recommendations! Hoping to receive an improvement in my low carb baked goods by changing my almond flour source!!! Really appreciate the specifics!

  29. You’ve created a masterpiece here, Carolyn, just like your recipes! Thank you so very much!!!

  30. Carolyn, thanks for clearing this up. I did have one question. I think I get hung up between the words almond flour and almond meal. On the Honeyville web site it says ” Blanched Almond Flour, also known as almond meal, can be substituted for flour in cakes, breads, cookies, muffins, and your favorite recipes that call for flour. The taste and texture is phenomenal.” It seems to say that blanched almond flour is also known as almond meal, but your post says that flour and meal are different. Still alittle confused. I will however try your brand recommendations because I have found my baked goods are alittle too heavy using what I have been using in the past.

    • Hi Pattie. In reality, there will always be a spectrum of how finely ground the almonds are. But I make a distinction between truly finely ground blanched almond flour (and Honeyville definitely falls into that category) and things that just aren’t as finely ground and may or may not be blanched. Trust me, the finer the grind, the more “floury” and the better your results for fine-textured things.

  31. a very nice, thorough write-up, Carolyn. Coulda, shoulda been a teacher.

  32. Thank you so much! I am ready to start baking again now that I know not to eat almond meal. I have not seen almond flour in the stores. I will search today and if I can’t find it I will order. Fantastic article! You are such a blessing in so many lives, Carolyn.

  33. Great post! I have just switched to using more almond flour and we really like it. Here is my question – what type/brand of whey protein do you recommend?

  34. So glad you posted this! I plan to refer back to it again in future. (Most important bit: knowing you do NOT pack when measuring. My first almond-flour recipes recommended packing the cup down, and I’m so used to doing it that it never occurred to me to wonder!)

    Also, in terms of almond flour that is actually ground fine enough to be called flour, I order mine from digestivewellness.com and it’s never failed me yet.

  35. I love this! So helpful. Now I want to bake everything with almond flour.

  36. What an amazing resource you’ve put together Carolyn!

  37. Carolyn, you are a rock star when it comes to this stuff. I only wished I had changed my eating habits back when I ran with you 3 times a week.

    • Christina says:

      Thanks for your informative info about Almond flour. I recently read that heating almonds/almond flour can lead to unhealthy, rancid results related to Omega 6′s etc. Do you know anything about this issue? I successfully made some banana muffins for my picky son with almond flour and was thrilled that he would eat them and excited to try more recipes but then heard that baking with almond flour is unhealthy. I’m very confused.

      • Carolyn says:

        Hi Christina,
        I am not a health expert expert by any stretch, and although I’ve read bits and pieces here about the “unhealthy” effects of heat and nuts together, none of it is from a true, unbiased scientifically-based and peer-reviewed study. It’s all opinion-editorials from so-called health bloggers who may or may not have any qualifications to back up their claims. So I personally take it with a grain of salt.
        Omega 6′s are NOT bad for us, and are, in fact, required for our health. The problem in modern society is that our diet is high in Omega 6 and not nearly high enough in Omega 3′s. It’s the skewing of this ratio that is at issue here, because our diets have long been reliant on grains as staples. Almonds and other nuts may be high in Omega 6 when compared to fish, but they are a far healthier choice than grain-based baked goods. Regardless, no one should be subsisting entirely on a diet of nuts!
        My diet is balanced out in Omega 3s by lots of fish, grass-fed meats (not grain-fed, so they are far higher in Omega 3s), cage-free eggs, seeds, etc. I have a lot on my plate to worry about about. One baked good a day made with almond flour isn’t one of them. :)
        Please know that these are my opinions only and not meant to be medical or health advice.

  38. Michelle says:

    Thank you for this very informative article! I just found your website and am looking forward to trying many recipes. I personally am only really looking to reduce the carbs in my diet. I don’t need to remove gluten So do you think it would it be helpful to just add a spoonful of gluten to things baked with almond flour or is there another reason using whey is better? Thanks!

    • Whey powder adds protein, and since gluten is actually a protein, you need to replace it to helps things rise. I think adding a tbsp of gluten would help too, but you’d need a bit more than that to get things to rise properly. Not sure how much, you will probably have to experiment.

    • I’m trying to do low-carb too because my husband was just diagnosed with diabetes and I have wondered the same thing about just adding gluten to stuff! I tried it with buttermilk pancakes today and they held together a lot better (I think about two tablespoons for one cup flour, so a lot) than yesterday when I made them without. I don’t see why low carb dieters who don’t have allergies to gluten haven’t talked about this online. Gluten plus almond flour will be my best friend if I can figure out how they work together. So basically whenever your recipe calls for protein, just replace with gluten, right?

      • Many people have chosen to go gluten-free even if they don’t have intolerances, because gluten has many other health issues. But you can do as you wish. I prefer not to bake with any gluten products.

  39. I found your site tonight, and want to thank you for the information. However, what I’m trying to find out is if i can use the meal leftover from making almond milk. If it’s dried, would that be considered almond flour/meal? Everything else makes sense to me, but I’m just curious about that. Do you know ? and thanks!

    • It would not be almond flour, because it wouldn’t be fine enough. But you could probably use it as almond meal.

  40. I am looking for a bread recipe that does not include a nut flour as my son is anaphylactic to tree nuts. I am not having much success with other flour substitutions in the recipes . Please help

  41. Thanks for the sharing !
    Is there a difference when adding yeast to almond flour?

    • Carolyn says:

      I wish I could tell you. Yeast is very tough with low carb and gluten free ingredients. Part of what makes conventional recipes rise with yeast is the way the gases get trapped by the gluten strands that develop. No gluten means no way to trap the gases properly. I haven’t experimented too much with yeast and low carb yet!

  42. Georgeanne says:

    This is a great tutorial. Thank you so much. My hubby and I found almond flour to be pretty expensive so I had read that I could try making my own. I am using it right now in one of your recipes as the sour cherries on our tree have become ripe and wanted to make a dessert with some of them. Being new to all of this, I was disappointed in my attempt to make the blanched almonds into ‘flour’. It really was quite mealy…nothing like ‘flour’. I was afraid to keep going as I feared I would end up with almond butter. I thought my processor was pretty good…that baby will chop and grind up anything. I know from your comments it won’t matter for this crust but should I just bite the bullet and put out for the packaged almond flour…what we fund was ‘Red Mill Flour/Meal’ and I have to say it looked like flour just seeing it through the bag.
    Would love your opinion. I am trying to fight some insulin resistance I seem to be developing….A1Cs are normal but fasting sugars are not. I am an RN and do NOT want to move on to being diabetic so am changing my (our!) eating habits now.
    Blessings.

    • Carolyn says:

      Hi Georgeanne. It’s true, you simply can’t grind almond flour fine enough at home. It will make a great crust, and some muffins will be good too, but if you’re looking for a fine-textured cake, you won’t quite get it. And I love Bob’s Red Mill, but their almond flour isn’t quite as fine either, although good for most baked goods. The cadillac of almond flour is Honeyville, which you can buy on the Honeyville website. Next to that, my favourite is from Oh Nuts!

      • Georgeanne says:

        Hi, Carolyn. Went shopping today to pick up some of the staples….some I couldn’t find and will order online. But I have 2 questions: I see that in a number of your recipes you use Stevia drops or extract……just wondering why you add those? Are the items not sweet enough with just the erythritol?? MUST these be used? Lastly, I was wondering why there isn’t a way to ‘save’ some of the recipes you have here to my ‘recipe box’ here on your site. I have a couple things I put in there but there were a couple recipes that didn’t have the option of saving them….for instance the recipe for your peanut butter/chocolate donuts. Should questions like this be addressed somewhere else?
        Thank you :-)
        Georgeanne

        • Carolyn says:

          Hi Georgeanne,
          In some ways, my use of two sweeteners is just habit. I started doing it that way in the beginning and so I’ve just kept doing it. But here’s why: 1. Erythritol is expensive and stevia is not. That little jar of stevia extract will last a long time. My readers can’t always afford erythritol in full quantities so it helps to use a little less of it per recipe. 2. I’ve always found that using the two together helps increase sweetness and decrease aftertaste. Now that I use Swerve, I don’t have the problem as much with either sweetness or aftertaste, but again, my readers can’t always afford Swerve in full quantity.
          I’d be happy to rewrite the recipes you want to save on Ziplist. It’s simply time and energy, so tell me which ones you want besides the donuts and I will make an effort to go back and put them in the Ziplist format.
          Thanks!

          • Georgeanne says:

            Many thanks…..no problem…you have plenty to do. I will get it a different way. I look forward o trying some of these out. Thank God for your dedication!
            Thanks for your help :-)
            Georgeanne

  43. Hi Carolyn. I use Honeyville, all ingredients at room temp, but often my baked goods sink in the middle. I only use recipes from your site and those of your friend at @ Low Carbing Among Friends. What am I doing wrong?

    • Somehow there is too much liquid, and/or not enough protein. It’s hard to say if I am not in the kitchen with you but try adding a bit more protein powder and either reducing the liquid by a few tbsp or adding more almond flour by a few tbsp.

  44. Thanks so much! For this and everything you do.

  45. Hi Carolyn,

    I have been following and sharing your FB page and recipes for a bit and I love your blog.
    I was looking for some type of ideas on how to use almond flour and this post hit it right no the nail- that was genius; no joke. On the joke note, love your funny memes and posts too :)

    I would like to as for permission to mention this post on my article to be published, being that I am also trying to remove as much sugar and grains from our family’s diet as possibly.

    Of course there will be the corresponding mention and link to your posts.

    Thanks in advance for your time. Keep up the great work!

    Astrid

  46. Baby Steps says:

    Do you suggest any modifications for gluten free/almond flour baking at high altitudes? I am about 5000 ft above sea level.

  47. Why my Almond Flour cookies, whic come out of the oven nice and crisp, turn limp and glob together after a few hours?

  48. Dee Reeves says:

    I tried using almond flour to make waffles for the first time today — they were super bitter. Wondering if I did something wrong, does almond flour have a bitter taste naturally or maybe I bought a rancid bag. Thanks

    • I have never heard anyone complain that almond flour tastes bitter. What other ingredients did you use? I am concerned that you might have bought a rancid bag indeed!

  49. I’ve been wondering about moisture additions in low carb cakes -

    I want to low-carb a recipe for a strawberry jello cake (paula deen’s – she adds the dry jello mix to the dry ingredients rather than a poke-cake method. already found a sugar free gelatin mix that works) that adds a bag of pureed strawberries to the cake batter. I am concerned about how the liquid might throw off the recipe, and how to counter it, however.

    Please advise what if anything I might need to change in an LC cake recipe, below are ingredients I have to work with:

    I’m currently using a Low-carb all purpose flour replacement as I only have about 1/2 cup of almond MEAL remaining, and maybe 3/4 cup coconut flour. I have xanthan gum, flax seed meal, carbquik, and whey protein powder, too.

    the ingredients of the all-purpose “flour” are:
    Vegetable fibers, wheat protein, wheat gluten, unbleached hard wheat flour, whey protein, low glycemic monosaccharide, baking powder (calcium acid phosphate, bicarbonate of soda), lecithin, yeast flakes, all natural monk fruit.

    • Because your low carb mix uses real wheat flour, I doubt you have to worry as much about the moisture content as if you were using almond. But when I do use almond flour and am including a “wet-ish” ingredient, I usually add about 1/4 cup coconut flour to help soak up that extra moisture. You could try that if you were concerned.

  50. Thank you for this post! When starting low carb, I purchased almond “flour” in bulk from my local grocery store. It is so coarse and I didn’t realize it was because I had purchased the wrong thing. I am almost out and just put in an Amazon order (using your link) for the Honeyville. I’m excited to see what the consistency is like!

    • Thanks, Sandy! Almond meal has its uses for sure, but if you want a fine-textured cake, you do need a finer grind.

  51. Thanks for the handy primer. Some good tips in there that I might not have thought of my first time around, like increasing the leavening agent and compensating for the lack of gluten. Will be starting a keto diet soon, but I’ll need some baked goods to get me through. I think almond flour will fit the bill nicely!

  52. Thank you so much for your post!! I have a quick question and wondered if someone could help me…. I live overseas and can access almond “meal” (as you described it) really easily, but it is very coarsely ground. Will it turn to mush if I put it in my coffee grinder or food processor to make it more finely ground? Anyone had any experience with that?

    Also, I have done a lot of homemade almond milk and saved the pulp leftover and dried it out in my oven. Now I have a ton of coarse, bread-crumb like stuff that I have no idea what to do with but don’t want to just throw out. It seems that it could be very valuable in low carb baking! Any ideas? Would this be more like coconut flour since the oil has been taken out during the milk making process? Like I said, I am new to this, so any thoughts and advice would be GREATLY appreciated!!! Thanks again so much for this post!!

    • My thoughts…I think you could grind your almond meal a little more finely without it turning into almond butter. Give a little bit a try and see what happens. If you have a large food processor, you will actually need to put in a fair bit…I find they don’t grind small amounts well. Do you have a coffee grinder? That might be worth a try too.

      The pulp you have will not be at all like coconut flour…coconut is SO dry and powdery. But don’t throw it out, I am sure it has great uses. Like this recipe, since it sounds like it would be great for the topping http://alldayidreamaboutfood.com/2011/11/cheesy-sausage-and-basil-stuffed-chicken-breasts-low-carb-and-gluten-free.html

      I’d try grinding that finer too. It’s worth a shot!

  53. Thank you SO much for this great article. My bf is dieting…which means so am I. I am a sucker for carbs and that’s #1 OFF his list. I’m in need of low card alternatives and this has given me a light at the end of the tunnel. Definitely going to try …probably all of these recipes. lol.

  54. Hi Carolyn, have just come across your website today whilst trying to find out why my baked goods using almond flour always have a horrid taste to them – I live in the UK and have bought ground almonds which if I’m reading your post correctly is basically almond meal and not the flour that I thought. I have 3 bags of it but it won’t go to waste as I have a couple of recipes which don’t require baking so can use them up. Does the ‘taste’ come from the almond meal (ground almonds) heating up i.e. the fats? Every single recipe I’ve tried just never tastes quite right, I’ve found it difficult to source blanched almond flour and to be honest, I’m probably scared to try it incase it still tastes weird. Maybe it’s just my taste buds, but I know not to expect bread for instance to taste exactly like bread made with wheat flours. Help!

    • Do you like almonds normally? If so, then I can’t think it’s the almond flour/meal. They are only different from each other in terms of texture. Mind you, the unblanched variety does have the skins and maybe it’s a little bitter to you. But I might also wonder if it’s the sweetener you are using – what have you tried? Have you tried it any sort of chocolate recipe? Try these basic muffins (I made them with almond meal, unblanched), because chocolate can really hide flavours you might not like as much. http://alldayidreamaboutfood.com/2010/05/mocha-muffins-with-chocolate-chunks-low-carb-and-gluten-free.html

      • Wow those muffins look great, will give them a try! I love almonds so was surprised with the weird taste, maybe it is the skins as it does seem to be quite bitter. Can’t remember all the sweeteners I’ve tried as have tried several different almond flour recipes from bread to english muffins – don’t think either even had sweetener. Will try the muffins and see if the chocolate helps – haven’t eaten bread in that long I don’t know why I keep trying to make it. Thanks for your reply.

  55. What is your opinion on Oat flour?

    • My opinion is that it can be useful in small quantities but it’s too high carb to use more than about 1/4 cup per recipe. I don’t usually use it at all anymore.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Link: Low Carb Basics: Baking with Almond Flour – Day I Dream About Food [...]

  2. [...] “Almond flour is ground nuts, full of fat and moisture, entirely without gluten and not nearly as powdery, fine and dry as wheat flour.  So there are a whole range of factors you need to account for when adapting a wheat-based recipe to low carb and gluten-free. ”  Source [...]

  3. [...] a total novice when it comes to baking with almond flour, but this almond flour cake is sensational. It’s inspired by a recipe from Food52 [...]

  4. [...] of work and in part because baking with coconut flour isn’t quite as much my expertise as baking with almond flour is.  There is also a great deal to be said about coconut flour, and I wanted to be as thorough as [...]

  5. […] Carolyn came up with her own formula for cooking with almond flour, and there is where I got the right ratio of  the right amount of whey protein and almond flour.   Basically,you want to add half the fat, double the flour and  baking powder from the original recipe.   Then add some whey protein to make up for the gluten.  And so that is what I did.  Read more on about Low Carb Basics: Baking with almond flour. […]

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