We recently had a chair massage conference at out B & B in Stamford NY. Some of the attendees we on gluten free diets and wanted to eat cakes breads and pastries. Nut flours came to the rescue.
When you bake you don’t have to use wheat flour or the gluten-free rice or potato based flours. An alternative is nut flours especially almond or hazelnut flour.
Almond meal, almond flour or ground almond is made from ground sweet almonds. Almond flour is usually made with blanched almonds (no skin), whereas almond meal can be made both with whole or blanched almonds. The consistency is more like corn meal than wheat flour.
Almond meal has recently become important in baking items for those on low carbohydrate diets. It adds moistness and a rich nutty taste to baked goods. Items baked with almond meal tend to be calorie-dense.
If you are looking to lose weight or reduce your cholesterol levels nut flours are great. They are low carb and almonds have high levels of polyunsaturated fats in them. Typically, the omega 6 fatty acids in almonds are protected from oxidation by the surface skin and high vitamin E content. When almonds are ground, this protective skin is broken and exposed surface area increases dramatically, greatly enhancing the nut’s tendency to oxidize so the flour needs to be refrigerated and used quickly..
Nut flours work best in pastry and confectionery especially in the manufacture of almond macarons and macaroons and other sweet pastries, in cake and pie filling, such as Sachertorte – and is one of the two main ingredients of marzipan and almond paste. In France, almond meal is an important ingredient in frangipane, the filling of traditional galette des Rois cake.
Many people get confused by the difference between Many are confused by the difference between almond flour and meal. Both are ground up almonds. Almond flour is most often made with blanched almonds (the skin has been removed through blanching), whereas almond meal can be made either with whole or blanched almonds. In both cases, the consistency is more like corn meal than wheat flour. Most cooks use them interchangeably, although using flour from blanched almonds will produce a more “refined”, less “grainy” result.
Some chef’s find that they can make a bread with nut flour if they mix the flour with very high gluten wheat flour. This can produce a high protein, low carb bread. This super-fine almond meal is not easy to fine but can be ordered on-line at specialty shops.
Almond flour is best used in “quick-bread” type recipes, like nut breads, muffins, waffles and pancakes and some cakes. It’s not good for foods such as bread that require a real dough (you can’t knead it) unless you mix it with wheat flour and gluten. Usually, more eggs are will be added when baking with almond meal to provide more structure. This would normally be provided by the gluten in wheat flour. Almond meal can also be used in breading fish and other fried foods, but it will burn quicker than Panko bread crumbs or other grain based crumbs. If you are looking to add protein to recipes almond flour is also good since almonds are more nutrient-dense than grains.
As far as almond flour goes for increasing the quality of your nutrition intake, half a cup of ground almonds contains about 10 grams of total carbohydrate, 6 of which are fiber, for a net carb count of 4 grams of carbohydrate. That half cup also contains 10 grams of protein, 23 grams of fat, and 273 calories.
Many choose to make their own nut flour at home with a blender or food processor. It takes a few tries to get this right since if you grind the almonds too long you will end up almond butter!
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Today’s stress management blog is supported by a grant from Events Chair Massage –www.EventschairMasssage.com – a company that offers Corporate Chair Massage and Stress Management Services to meeting planner, event planners, party planners and HR for Trade show booths throughout the United States.
Below is a chair massage demo that shows techniques our corporate chair massage therapists use to massage their clients’ upper back, shoulders, and neck — using elbows and forearms, with minimal use of the thumbs.