In the past 2 weeks, I've done a little bit of something I'm not particularly well known for: baking. I've made some homemade breads, some breakfast rolls, and a small batch of cookies - all made with almond flour. Clean and delicious, but I used some recipes specifically written with almond flour. I wondered if I could substitute almond flour in any old recipe that I come across that calls for wheat flour. I wondered what the difference is between wheat flour and almond flour - specifically when it comes to the science of baking.
This is a biggie: In a few select applications it can be substituted at a 1:1 ratio, but because its weight, fat content and absorption rates are so different from that of wheat and other grain based flours, it does not reliably cross over. For instance, a wheat flour recipe might call for more liquid than what can be reasonably absorbed by almond flour. So if you simply substitute 1 for 1, your finished product will likely be soggy, grainy feeling and “sunken” in. You can, however, adjust the ingredient ratios to account for that and come out with almond flour baked goods that are nearly indistinguishable from the grain based recipes that you know and love.The moral of this paragraph is….unless you’re something of an adventurer and don’t mind some “baking fails”, you might find it best to stick with recipes that are intended for almond flour from a source that you trust (I have listed some great "sources" at the end of this post).
A note on breads: Almond flour is most often best suited to quick breads, cookies and crusts . This is due to it's lack of starch and gluten. If your diet allows for starches and even yeast, you might enjoy experimenting a bit by adding yeast, arrowroot, tapioca and other “non-grain” based starches to your almond flour baked goods
It's not as well suited for recipes like cakes and other baked goods that require yeast with a rising time ( almond flour won't stretch and hold together with that stickiness wheat flour has ). It also doesn't absorb and hold as much liquid as a wheat flour, so that's an important factor to keep in mind when substituting: liquids might need to be tweaked down.
This post also answers a lot of questions about almond flour I had - including which types of almond flour are best, how to best measure almond flour in recipes, and even some recommendations of brands to buy. So much to learn.
Thank You SO much, Urban Poser!