My friends are astonished but the number of different flours I have in my pantry, and I admit, I’m a little obsessive when it comes to this particular store cupboard treat. And yes you heard right, I said, “treat” because the flours have a distinct flavour profile they can be used for an array of things!
If a recipe calls for traditional wheat flour, I will almost always use wholemeal. Wholemeal flour contains all three layers of grain – the bran, the germ, and the endosperm; conversely, white flour is made only with the endosperm. In short, wholemeal flours retain the good stuff like vitamins, minerals and fibre.
When I bake these days, I will often use spelt flour. Spelt is an ancient variety of wheat, slightly sweet with a slightly nutty flavour. Additionally, it is easier to digest than other wheat products so are a good option for those with sensitivities. I like to use buckwheat for crepes or gluten-free pastry, and chickpea flour for fitters or the Italian dish ‘Socca’ which is like a thick pancake cooked in a frying pan and topped with mince or vegetables. And while I use basic wholemeal flour for baking bread, I’m inclined to throw some whole grains and/or seeds in for extra goodness, texture and to lower the GI. I also like to add rye flour to a loaf, it produces bread with a strong earthy flavour and a dense texture, so I tend to only add 1/3 rye flour to 2/3 wholemeal.
Some flours like spelt absorb more liquid than your average white flour, so when you start experimenting, trust your instincts. For example, if you’re using spelt as a substitute for white flour in a recipe, you may need to add a greater volume of liquid than it states in the instructions.
Here are some suggestions for how to incorporate different flours into your repertoire and keep an eye out for more recipes here!
- Flatbreads – use wholemeal spelt instead of white flour for a flatbread with a soft and delicate texture.
- Empanadas – use buckwheat flour to make a gluten-free version of these little Spanish pies and fill with corn and cheddar or pork mince.
- Soda bread – use a mix of wholemeal and rye flours for a dense loaf with a soft crumb.
- Crepes – use buckwheat flour for a traditional French crepe. Fill with ham & cheese for a savoury version or sliced apple and ricotta for a sweet version.
- Waffles – blend spelt and wholemeal with a touch of rye flour for a wholegrain waffle. Omit any sugar from the recipe and top with fresh fruit, a couple of sliced dates, and yoghurt.
- Muffins – make savoury muffins using oat or quinoa flour mixed with wholemeal.
- Pastry crusts – use wholemeal pastry flour for savoury quiche crusts.
- Crackers – use a mix of almond meal and buckwheat flour for gluten-free cheese crackers.
By Victoria Thaine,