If you have been a regular reader of my blog, you would have noticed that I don’t use any refined flours or any other ingredients in my baking. I have been using different kind of flours consciously or sometimes to make use of the left over flours lying in my pantry. Sharing with you a list of unrefined flours which can be used to create tasty and healthy bakes. Whole wheat flour/Atta/Chakki atta – I use whole wheat flour in almost everything I bake from cakes, breads,cupcakes to muffins. It is my best substitute to refined maida or white flour. This flour is a safe bet and if you are slowly switching over from white to whole flour, I suggest that you start with wheat flour. Your cakes or breads may turn out dense initially but you will soon learn to mix flours to give your bakes some nice body and lightness. Recipe for Apple Cake using whole wheat flour.
Ragi or finger millet – gluten-free and can give a little sandy taste at times. I personally, like to mix ragi with either one or more flours and some almond meal to combine a nutty taste. Recipe for gluten-free banana bread or egg-less chocolate cupcake.
Amaranth flour – this gluten-free and high on protein flour can be used in combination with various flour mixes. Amaranth flour tends to impart a strong flavor which may not be appealing to some. However, if the proportion of this flour in the baked item is less, you can add only the amaranth flour, like the gluten-free brownies or chocolate cake. Trying using amaranth & chocolate together, they are a match made in heaven! Recipe for Amaranth Brownies.
Brown rice flour – It is best to use in very small proportions. Brown rice flour is high on fiber as compared to the white flour. This flour can be used to make banana bread or cookies.
Buckwheat or Kuttu – this rarely found nutty flour can be a baker’s delight. Buckwheat like amaranth goes extremely well with chocolate and can be used in a lot of your baked dishes. Recipe for Chocolate Cake.
Corn flour or makki ka atta – This is another flour which should be used in small proportions, mixed with other flours. It is high on fiber. Do not confuse this flour to the refined corn flour which is used in Chinese dishes.
Cornmeal – Corn meal is also famously known as polenta. It is called polenta because the consumers don’t confuse it to be made of any other dish and also to indicate that it is ideal for making polenta. I had made this delicious cake with this ingredient once. This ingredient is coarse in nature unlike other flours. The other types of gluten-free flours are bajra (pearl millet) or jowar (sorghum) which I’m assuming will work well when mixed with other flours.
These flours work great in combination, rather than using just one flour due to its non-glutenous nature. Whole wheat works great for baking breads but you could also use finger millet or amaranth for that extra nutrition. You can also find mixed millet flours available in most of the organic shops which I’m yet to try. Different recipes call for different flours and I’ve been trying to include as many flours I can in my baking. The choice of using flours is up to you but the proportions is what you should be looking at closely. For eg: If you are using whole wheat and finger millet in a recipe, you could use 2:1 or can be even reduced to half the quantity in some recipes. The reason being that finger millet and most other flours come with a strong flavor and sometimes may over power your baked dish in taste and colour. Here is a quick recipe for you to start getting acquainted with unrefined ingredients.
Ingredients for Cranberry Coffee Cake
200 gms whole wheat flour
50 gms corn flour
1 tsp baking powder
100 gms butter (salted)
2 free range eggs
250 gms coconut sugar
200 gms frozen or dried cranberries/blueberries
1 vanilla bean split powder
100 ml milk
25 gms chopped almonds
Recipe for Cranberry Coffee Cake
- Pre-heat oven at 180 degree centigrade
- Sieve, weigh and measure all the dry ingredients, flours and baking powder
- If using frozen cranberries, coarse grind them with vanilla and not into a fine paste
- Measure butter and coconut sugar and beat until well combined
- Add egg one by one and beat until it is well in combined with the butter and sugar mixture
- Combine both the dry and wet ingredients. Add cranberries and mix well
- Add milk and mix well until well combined
- Add this cake mixture into a greased pan, garnished with chopped almonds
- Bake for 40 minutes. Once done, allow it to sit for 10 minutes in the pan, before transferring to a wire rack for cooling.
- Eat warm with your favorite choice of toppings.
Polenta is a new ingredient that I have been exploring in different ways, a cake is what I came up with; different isnt it? It is also a gluten free ingredient. Gluten is a protein found in many grains like wheat, bulgur (dalia), couscous, oats etc. A lot of people these days are either being diagnosed as gluten intolerant or choose to go on a gluten free diet for various reasons. What I realized was that polenta is a great ingredient to work with! From savory to sweet, it knows how exactly to blend in with its fellow ingredients. Polenta is also a great substitute for mashed potatoes or you could also serve them as a side in your steaks or bakes.
Polenta cake has a nice moist, grainy and crumbly texture. The minute I saw the finished cake, I knew it has to be good! This cake can be served with your tea/coffee or as a dessert. I recently had some guests at home and served it with some poached peaches, infused with vanilla. You could also use mixed poached fruits to give it a nice colorful and fruitful appeal. I also served mine with some cream cheese. However, my friends on the second serving suggested that ice-cream would be a really good option.
100 gms fine polenta
100 gms ground almond or almond meal
100 gms butter at room temperature
100 gms raw sugar
5 gms baking powder
2 eggs at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract or pure vanilla powder
- Sieve polenta and baking powder in a bowl. Add almond meal and mix. Keep this dry mix aside.
- Mix the butter and sugar in a separate bowl. Add eggs and mix until creamy in texture.
- Add vanilla and dry mix to this wet mixture. Mix until combined. Do not mix vigorously.
- Put this mixture in a round cake pan and bake at 180 degree centigrade in a pre heated oven for about 25 minutes or depending on your oven settings.
- Test the cake by inserting a tooth pick and checking if the center is cooked. Cool on a wire rack for at two hours and serve warm or cold with ice-cream or some poached fruits.
I’ve noticed that the cake tastes much better the next day or on a third day. You can store this cake at room temperature for 3 days in cold weather condition.
Ingredients like polenta & raw sugar are available at i2cook.com.