The flours we use on the AIP diet can be confusing and unfamiliar when you’re a newbie. Here’s an explanation!
When I first started on the AIP diet, I would avoid any recipe that included flours that were unfamiliar to me. Where would I get them? What ARE they, anyway? I figured it was better to just not use them, or find other recipes that were a little more approachable. I would bet money that I’m not the only one that has done this. Now that I’ve been around the block a few times, I can tell you that if you can learn a little about these friends of ours on the AIP, a whole new world will open up to you!
Before going further, I’d like to offer a side note about flour substitutions. Very often, I will have someone ask me, “Can I substitute X flour for Y? I’m sensitive to Y.” Guys, I feel you. But subbing in most cases isn’t going to work. Imagine subbing cornstarch for corn meal… Each flour does a different thing. I’m trying to save you the many, many, many flops I’ve had in the kitchen testing different combinations of flours. (I once had pumpkin muffins that were like giant pumpkin gummie bears. I kid you not.)
Anyway, here’s an AIP flour primer for you…
Arrowroot flour is magical. It is super light, and has the consistency of cornstarch. It works like flour in baking recipes. I also use it as a thickener in sauces, gravies, and fruity things. As a thickener, it works almost instantly. See Salmon with Orange Maple Glaze, Black Forest Cake and Slow Cooker Korean Beef Zoodles.
Cassava flour is made from yuca root. This is the flour that is used most frequently in AIP recipes. If you get quality cassava flour, you’ll find the consistency to be most like regular all-purpose flour. Sometimes, I find the taste to be sort of salty. See Cassava Lavosh Crackers or Strawberry Pie.
Coconut flour is different from the others. It feels heavier, and it sucks up moisture like a giant sponge. (This is great if your muffin ends up like a giant gummie bear…) It does have a coconut taste to it, so unless that’s the flavor you’re going for, you may wish to combine it with other flours. See Banana Blueberry Muffins or Gordita Tortillas.
Tapioca flour is also made from cassava root, so if you are sensitive to cassava, best avoid this one, too. It has a consistency similar to arrowroot flour or cornstarch. I haven’t used it widely, but I found that it adds a lovely chewiness to my Gordita Tortillas.
Despite its name, tigernut flour does not contain nuts. It is made from a small root vegetable. It has an inherent sweetness, and a heavier consistency similar to whole wheat flour. See Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Bars.
If you’ve been afraid to try any of these flours, I urge you to try something new. There are so many recipes that you will be free to try!
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