When it comes to baking, wheat flour tends to dominate our kitchen shelves. But legume flours — such as chickpea, lentil, and others — offer a delicious and nutritious alternative. These flours not only add a unique flavor and texture to your baked goods but also provide a host of health benefits.
What are Legume Flours?
Legume flours are made from ground, dried legumes. They're naturally gluten-free and packed with protein, fiber, and other nutrients, making them a great choice for those with dietary restrictions or health-conscious bakers.
How to Use Legume Flours in Baking
You can use legume flours in a variety of baking recipes, including cookies, cakes, bread, pancakes, and more. However, because these flours behave differently from traditional wheat flour, a direct 1:1 substitution often doesn't work. Here are some tips for baking with legume flours:
Substitution Ratio: Start by replacing 25% of the regular flour in your recipe with legume flour. You can gradually increase this amount as you get comfortable with the new texture and taste.
Mix Flours: Mixing legume flour with other types of flour can help achieve the right texture and taste. For example, combining chickpea flour with almond flour can result in a light and fluffy texture.
Hydration: Legume flours tend to absorb more liquid than wheat flour, so your dough or batter may need additional moisture.
Cooking Time: Baked goods made with legume flours may require a longer cooking time, so keep an eye on them to prevent burning.
Popular Legume Flours
Here are some popular legume flours and how to use them in your baking:
- Chickpea Flour: It has a nutty taste and works well in hearty recipes like bread, pizza dough, and pancakes.
- Lentil Flour: This flour is slightly sweet and is great for making pasta, cookies, and brownies.
- Pea Flour: Use this in your bread or muffin recipes for a unique flavor profile.
Storing Legume Flours
Legume flours should be stored in a cool, dry place in an airtight container. They can be kept for up to 6 months in the pantry, or longer in the freezer.
The Benefits of Baking with Legume Flours
Baking with legume flours can offer many benefits:
Nutrition Boost: Legume flours are high in protein and fiber, and they're a great source of vitamins and minerals.
Gluten-Free: These flours are a great option for those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
Diverse Flavors: Legume flours can add a variety of flavors to your baked goods, from the nutty taste of chickpea flour to the slightly sweet flavor of lentil flour.
Experiment with different types of legume flours and see how they can transform your favorite recipes.