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Alternative flours explained + recipe

One of the favorite topics here at Rocky Mountain Jew is food, and Passover is one of those times where food really matters. Suddenly a major foodstuff is removed from the equation and we scramble to fill the gap.

One way to do that is with alternative flours, a subject we’ve blogged about before. Baking is where the lack of the five forbidden grains — wheat, rye, oats, barley, spelt — is really felt. We’ve explored the plethora of alternatives out there — some easily available, others more obscure — and we’ve provided recipes. But one thing we haven’t done, which on reflection is quite essential, is examine how these different flours react. Anyone who has baked gluten free knows that these are no simple 1:1 substitutions. Luckily, the Israeli spice company Pereg has come through with an easy guide to alternative flours, which is published in this week’s IJN Passover edition — and condensed for RMJ readers, here.

Quinoa flour: Quinoa flour creates soft baked goods but is also a fantastic all-purpose type of flour. It is especially great for baking gluten-free breads because of its high protein content.

Banana flour: Because of the high starch content in banana flour you can use less flour than specified in your everyday recipes. Rule of thumb is to use 30% less banana flour than wheat flour. Banana flour mimics the results of wheat flour remarkably well, making for an easy transition in your everyday baking. Banana flour works well by itself, but also complements most other flours. Made from peeled, ripe bananas, the flour has minimal taste.

Almond flour: You’ll notice the texture tends to be more on the tender and cake-like side; that’s because of the higher fat content. Almond flour recipes tend to use more eggs (for structure and moisture) and less fat. Almond flour batters are almost always thicker than traditional wheat-based or other gluten-free recipes. Refrain from adding more liquid, because if you do, your baked goods won’t bake through. Great uses are in pizza crust, shortbread cookies and chicken nugget coating.

Coconut flour is super absorbent, but doesn’t have a lot of binding power. So recipes using coconut flour use a lot of eggs and very little flour. Without the addition of other ingredients to add body, it wouldn’t hold its shape well. The eggs provide moisture, act as a binder and also give structure. If you’re new to baking with coconut flour, stick with tried-and-true recipes. If you’re building a coconut flour recipe from scratch, a good rule of thumb is that for every 1/4 cup coconut flour in a recipe, you need to add two eggs. If you’re mixing in other dry ingredients, such as cocoa powder, your egg ratio will need to go up even higher.

Curious how this all works out in real life baking? Try this recipe featuring banana flour.

Passover Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes
Courtesy of

1 C banana flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar or less if you don’t want it very sweet
2 eggs
Sprinkling cinnamon
pinch of salt
chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, till smooth. Heat pan, put in a little oil to coat.

Use a 1/4 C measuring spoon to scoop up batter, drop the batter in the pan, make sure to have enough space so they don’t touch each other.

When the batter begins to bubble, the pancakes are ready to flip.  If you are adding chocolate chips, put them on the batter before you flip.

Let cook for another minute on the other side and serve. Servings: 4.

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