Quinoa flour is an underused gem in the world of gluten free baking. But I’m sure that’s not a statement you hear often..
Well.. lets just be honest. It smells like grass! (and can taste like bitter stinky weird grass too). For a very long time I avoided it just due to its sheer smell and flavor. I figured (and rightfully so) that there were plenty of other great flour options.
Back in 2010 prior to starting this website I went through a phase in which I was extremely interested in the idea of sprouting grains and legumes. I had this idea to make sprouted gluten free flours from scratch, it was one of my attempts to try to remedy my health issues. Most of my sprouting efforts turned into a moldy stinky mess! But the jar of quinoa cooperated beautifully. I knew that if I wanted to make flour that I would need to dehydrate my quinoa. So I did this, by placing the sprouted quinoa in my oven for many hours under very low heat.
And then I made my flour. and that flour BLEW MY MIND. It tasted SO good- absolutely nothing like the gross flour I had purchased. It had a gently sweet fresh flavor with just a tinge of sourness, which I found absolutely delicious. I figured the flavor had changed through the three-step process of my rinsing, sprouting dehydrating. Having a short attention span, and not loving to spend a lot of time on things, I never went through the process of making the sprouted flour from scratch again.
Roughly one year later I connected with an amazing food scientist- Linsey Herman. She was the brilliant R&D behind Enjoy Life foods for a number of years (and played a huge role in creating many of the EL’s foods that we love today!). Linsey and I got talking one day about baking, being a shared passion of ours and she started to tell me about how she had made this phenomenal quinoa flour. I jumped in and finished her sentence assuming she must have made sprouted flour! But no, Linsey had found an even better short cut.. She discovered the rinsing and sprouting step was not needed! That if the flour spend some quality time gently toasting in the oven for a few hours that it became equally delicious. So, today I am sharing with you Linseys “toasting” technique. You have to try it!
How to Toast Quinoa Flour :
- Preheat your oven to 215 degrees.
- Cover two rimmed baking sheets with a piece of parchment or foil.
- Take 1 pound bag of Quinoa flour and pour roughly ½ pound on each of your sheets. Spread out the flour on both sheets so that it is no more than ¼- ½ inch thick.
- Place into the oven and set the timer for 2 ½- 3 hrs. During this time you will notice that the quinoa’s strong smell will take over your kitchen- but then slowly diminish. You know the quinoa flour is ready when the smell is pretty much gone and to taste the flour has a mild flavor.
- Remove the quinoa flour from the oven and store it in a container or bag. It’s recommended to store the flour in the fridge or freezer to keep it fresh for a long time!
Quinoa Flour Baking Tips:
- Quinoa flour has an ever so slight “sour” flavor. It works magnificent in recipes like English muffins and bread. (I have a phenomenal Gluten Free/ Vegan English Muffin recipe using it in my Essential Gluten Free Baking Guide Part 1).
- It works beautifully in bread recipes due to its high protein content. Gluten is a protein, so when you remove it- its important to use high protein flours for the best results. The protein from quinoa flour helps provide structure. Shape and Rise to gluten free bread.
- It handles surprisingly well in pastry applications! Try it in pie crust and cookies. It’s a fairly light flour- and you can get a great fluffy texture when using it, especially when combining it with eggs. I have a devils food cake recipe using it in my Essential Gluten Free Baking Guide Part 1).
- It is a middle of the road type of flour. It creates soft baked good, but can also work great for bread as I mentioned above. It’s a fabulous all-purpose type of flour as it really can and will perform well in all kinds of applications.
Most of the info from this post was taken from the Quinoa chapter in my Essential gluten free baking guides. The book included a big handful of recipes featuring quinoa in its own chapter (Such as focaccia, crackers, vegan buttermilk biscuits, fried red velvet donuts and more!). If you’re interested in learning how 12 different gluten free flours work- these books are for you ( each chapter features a different flour!)
Ps. Come back tomorrow as we will be making the most incredible grain free tortillas using this toasted quinoa flour!