I’ve been promising to share photos and a description of how to make your own quinoa flour with plain quinoa seeds, and now (at last!) I can cross it off of the to-do list.
I *LOVE* baking with quinoa flour, so I hope this encourages you to give it a try!
Quinoa Flour 101
Quinoa flour is made by grinding quinoa seeds to a fine consistency. It looks and feels like all-purpose wheat flour and is easily adapted to a broad range of baking recipes, from desserts to muffins to breads (with the exception of yeast breads). Quinoa flour can also be added directly to soups and stews as a thickening agent, or used like a protein powder in smoothies and shakes.
Gluten-Free + Fuss-Free!
Unlike other gluten-free flours or flour blends, there is no need to add gums (such as xanthan gum or guar gum) to make quinoa flour “work” in baking recipes, a feature that is particularly appealing to home bakers interested in gluten-free baking, incorporating nutritious non-wheat flours into their diets or creating baked goods that fit into a high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet. Most importantly, quinoa flour, with its naturally nutty and slightly sweet flavor, appeals to anyone interested in delicious baked goods.
Trying it For the First Time
Because quinoa flour has a distinctive earthy, nutty flavor, you may want to begin with recipes that feature other bold flavors, such as dark molasses, cocoa powder or a mix of strong spices. The more familiar you become with quinoa flour, the more you will love the unique flavor it imparts to recipes.
You can also substitute a small amount (e.g., 1/4 to 1/3 the total amount of wheat flour) with quinoa flour for a healthy, high-protein, whole-grain boost.
Some enlightened cooking quinoa flour recipes to try:
Quinoa Flour Biscotti
Double Quinoa Cookies w/ Cranberries and Walnuts
Quinoa Soda Bread
Quinoa Banana Bread
Quinoa Flour Cheddar Scallion Drop Scones
A few quinoa flour Recipes from other sites
Quinoa Almond-Butter Cookies (from wellsphere)
Quinoa Peanut Butter Cookies (Bob’s Red Mill)
Amaranth Quinoa and Dark Chocolate Cake (La Tartine Gourmand)
Make Your Own Quinoa Flour!
While quinoa flour is readily available in many supermarkets — typically in the health food section — and natural food stores, you can also make your own at home, using a grain mill or a clean coffee or spice grinder. This is a great way to experiment with quinoa flour without buying an entire package of it; it is less expensive to grind your own.
Rinse 2 cups of quinoa through a fine mesh sieve for at least 1 minute to remove any remaining saponins. Shake off as much water as possible, then spread on an ungreased large rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350F for 12 to 15 minutes until dry, slightly golden and fragrant. Cool completely.
Place 1/4 cup of quinoa seeds in the grinder (adding any more will overload the grinder and prevent the seeds from being ground to a fine consistency). Using on/off pulses, process, shaking the grinder every few pulses to ensure an even grind, until the seeds are finely and evenly ground. Repeat with more seeds until you have the desired amount of flour.
1/4 cup whole quinoa seeds yields about 1/3 cup of fine quinoa flour. Store quinoa flour in an airtight container of the refrigerator for up to 6 months, or freeze for up to 1 year.
Note: I have tried grinding seeds in a blender and two types of food processors without good results. The coffee/spice grinder is the only device that will grind the seeds into a fine flour, The other appliances create a more coarse meal. Fortunately, the grinders are very affordable and can be used fro, well, spices and coffee, as well as grinding other whole grains into flour. A worthy purchase!
Here is a great one for under $15: Proctor Silex Coffee Grinder
Do I need to rinse my quinoa before grinding?
Yes. Virtually all quinoa that reaches consumers in North America and Europe has already had the saponin removed (this includes quinoa flour and quinoa flakes), but some traces of saponin typically remain due to processing.
Toasting the quinoa gets rid of any remaining bitterness and lends a deepened nutty flavor that is wonderful in baked goods.
|Pulse for about 10-15 seconds at a time, shaking the grinder up and down as you go. The shaking is key: it ensures that the flour will be very fine and evenly ground. Keep it up until the flour is very fine to the touch, about 1-1/2 minutes total.
|And there you have it! Ultra-fine quinoa flour in just over 1 minute!