Baking is a bit of an art at the best of times, but Paleo baking is a bit of different animal. You’re baking without gluten, sometimes with more fats, and definitely with flours that don’t act like conventional wheat flour. Here’s a little guideline that I’ve put together of the more common paleo flours to help you out…
ALMOND MEAL – this ones my go to. I’ve always got loads of this in my cupboard. It tastes delicious, but being courser than conventional flour it does create a denser bake in cakes, but I quite like that. Mixing it with other flours like arrowroot can help lighten up the texture of the cake. If you are trying to swap it in 1:1 for normal flour, be aware that it has a higher fat content, so you may need to reduce the fat elsewhere in the recipe. Depending on the depth of your bake, it may need a longer, lower baking time.
COCONUT FLOUR – this guy is super absorbent, so you definitely can’t swap 1:1 for normal flour, he’s too damn thirsty. Usually about 1/4:1 is the right swap, but you also need to double the eggs plus add a lot of extra liquid or your bake will be like a hockey puck. It’s a good one to use for the kids though, being nut-free and all, so Susan the helicopter mum at the school won’t freak out.
ARROWROOT – this guy combined with almond meal is a great mix. It helps make your cakes lighter and fluffier. Recommended ratio to normal flour is about 1/2:1. Its also a brilliant thickener for sauces and casseroles.
TAPIOCA – like arrowroot, it can help make bakes lighter, but can be a little gummier. Because of this its good for acting like a binder, so its particularly good for breads. You should always mix this one with other flours.
CHIA FLOUR – this ones a bit gritty and gummy like tapioca. Because it gets a little gelatinous when mixed with liquid, its a good binder, giving baked goods structure. This one needs to be mixed with other flours to make a nicer texture so a good replacement ratio for normal flour would 1/3:1
CASSAVA FLOUR – this guy is the most similar to regular wheat flour and can often be used 1:1 in a lot of recipes. Depending on the brand you use, it can tend to be a little thirstier than regular flour, so using fractionally less of it, or adding slightly more liquid can help balance that out. Besides cakes and muffins, I’ve used it to make pastry and a roux for sauces and its worked a treat.