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Baking Healthfully

Why substitute refined white flours for other more ‘healthful’ flours when baking?  For many in the nutrition world, white flour is known as the ‘white devil’.  This is because most of the nutrition has been removed through processing. These include:

  • The important fibre, vitamin B’s as well as the wheat germ and the majority of other nutrients.  All important for optimum nutrition
  • Within the process of creating white flour from wheat, the starchy or the gluten part of the wheat kernel is left, it is finely ground, followed by bleaching using synthetic chemicals
  • Often the remaining refined flour is enriched with synthetic vitamins and minerals.  The jury is out however, on whether the body actually absorbs these synthetic nutrients effectively or not
  • Refined white flour raises the body’s insulin and can contribute to blood sugar imbalances, weight gain as well as cravings and energy lows.
The very first time I attempted to bake more healthful flours was an absolute disaster!  Although it was very exciting at first, my enthusiasm quickly faded when I took the first bite! Needless I took a long break before my second attempt.

My second attempt I thought I would experiment on a more simpler platform and tried with wholemeal flour.  Perfect!  The taste was even better than white flour with a richer flavour and I was over the moon that my family was increasing their nutrient intake through a whole grain muffin!  I also tried oat flour instead which was an even greater success!
Baking with Alternate Flours Cheat Sheet:

  • Most whole grains, nuts and beans can be ground to make flour.  These, however, are not all interchangeable
  • Oat flour can be used as a replacement in the exact quantity the recipe calls for
  • Whole grain/wholemeal flour can be used as a replacement in the exact quantity the recipe calls for
  • When experimenting, do so in stages.  In other words, combine your flours.  If the recipe calls for 1 cup white flour, use ¾ cup of alternate flour and ¼ cup white flour
  • Wheat is the most versatile of the flours as it contains gluten which helps to bind the ingredients.  When baking with other flours, try adding Xanthum Gum as a binder. 
See table below for quantities:

Baked Good                                                       Quantity of Xantham Gum to Use
Cookies                                                                                ¼ tsp per cup of flour
Cakes                                                                    ½  tsp per cup of flour
Muffins and Quick Breads                            ¾ tsp per cup of flour
Breads                                                                  1 to 1-1/2 per cup of flour
Pizza Crust                                                             2 tsp per cup of flour

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