Can almond flour be used as a thickener? Well, I truly understand where this question comes from.
I have been trying to stick to the primal/paleo diet, but it has been difficult because I constantly seem to need a way to thicken things like soups and sauces.
Like most others, I was taught to use flour and cornstarch at a young age, but I have often wondered if there is a good low-carb/primal substitute.
And this led me to ask, “Can almond flour be used as a thickening agent?“
Yes, it is possible to take advantage of almond flour when you want to thicken soups, sauces, and gravies without really affecting their total carb count.
Can Almond Flour Be Used as a Thickener or Not?
There is a lot of misunderstanding about how to thicken liquids like gravies, sauces, and soups without using flour.
One of the challenges I confront whenever I attempt a new recipe is figuring out how to thicken the sauce.
Although it may not have a huge effect on the carb count, using a little cornstarch or flour makes sticking to a low-carb diet more difficult.
Thankfully, there are alternatives, and I discovered that using almond flour in place of regular flour can definitely help thicken liquids.
Tip: For every cup of wheat flour called for in a recipe, be sure to use a little less than a cup of almond flour.
How Do Regular Thickeners Work in Cooking?
Starches from tubers and grains, like cornstarch, arrowroot, flour, and potato starch are the most popular thickeners used in the kitchen.
The way they function is very similar. The starch molecules swell when you introduce water.
With an increase in temperature, the molecules can loosen from their tense state.
In doing so, they start to join forces with nearby starch molecules.
At a specific temperature (which varies across different types of starches), the molecules quickly form a diffused network, literally immobilizing liquids quite like a sponge.
As a result, your sauce will now have a very pleasant consistency thanks to the soft gel produced.
How Does Almond Flour Work As a Thickener?
It was common practice in the Middle Ages, particularly in the Mediterranean region, to utilize nuts as a thickening agent in sauces.
A few regional delicacies, such as the Spanish sauces romesco and picada, as well as the Italian pesto made famous in Genoa, still use nuts.
They utilize nut flours and other variations to achieve their desired consistency.
In a separate way, nuts can also thicken a sauce.
For one thing, the dry nut pieces soak all the sauce’s extra moisture.
During the process, small globules of nut oil emulsify throughout the liquid, making it dense.
This resembles the emulsification of oil with eggs and lemon juice used to make mayonnaise.
Why Is Almond Flour Useful as a Thickening Agent?
Almond flour is made from grinding blanched almonds that have had the oil removed.
You may use almond flour to make a wide variety of delicacies, including streusel scones, sweet bread, muffins, cookies, cakes, and more.
Moreover, almond flour can be used to successfully create a roux.
But keep in mind that the proteins in the flavored whey protein isolate prevent it from thickening like the unflavored kind.
What to Consider?
You can modify any recipe calling for cornstarch by substituting 1 tbsp of almond flour.
Also, remember that you may have to adjust the recipe a little.
It is mainly because you need more eggs or any other binding agent when using almond flour.
Can You Use Almond Flour When You Want to Thicken Gravy?
Yes, it is possible to use almond flour in case you want an alternative to thicken white sauce or gravy.
However, you have to be a bit careful here.
Using too much flour might make your gravy thick and unpleasant to eat.
Therefore, the best idea is to add just a little at a time until you get the hang of it.
Also bear in mind that if you use almond flour in larger quantities, it could make your gravy taste a little nutty.
If you do not want this to happen, proceed slowly.
Can You Use Almond Flour in Baking?
Paleo dieters are big fans of almond flour because of its delicious and textural improvements to paleo baked goods.
It is great for making pastries, sweets, and breakfast foods like bread and pancakes.
You may use finely ground flour in place of regular flour to produce delicious grain-free versions of traditional baked goods.
For instance, you can easily use it to make stuff like bread, pancakes, cookies, and more.
Should You Worry about Yeast Reacting with Almond Flour?
You cannot separate yeast and baking, not at least in a majority of recipes.
And that is when most people often worry if mixing yeast with almond flour is a bad idea.
Adding almond flour to your yeast-based recipes may result in rolls or bread that are more moist and tender.
It is not a bad thing, really.
In fact, it is great if you are going for soft dinner rolls but not so great when making crusty/chewy bread.
Tip: Xanthan gum can be used in place of cassava or arrowroot to provide a gravy-like consistency without adding any more carbohydrates to the dish.
Is It Possible to Use Almond Flour to Thicken Sauces?
What do you think is the truest measure of a cook’s expertise, whether at home or in the most prestigious restaurants?
Well, it is the ability to turn cooking liquids into a sauce that is both tasty and well-textured.
A sauce’s optimum consistency is one that sticks to your food, keeping it moist and flavorful.
It would often be done with cornstarch or flour.
However, some chefs seek out alternatives due to food sensitivities or personal taste.
Almond flour, for instance, can help thicken sauces without substituting starch entirely.
What to Consider When Using Almond Flour as a Thickener?
Almond flour can be used to thicken pan liquids without the added step of first mixing the flour with cold water, as is the case when using starch.
It may be added to the sauce by simply sprinkling it over the liquid and then whisking it in with a fork because it will not form clumps.
You can adjust the sauce’s thickness by adding almond flour gradually while stirring.
Another option for thickening the sauce is almond butter, which may be added in small increments and whisked rapidly into the pan juices.
You need to continue with the process until the desired consistency is reached.
The end result is pretty much the same.
If you are watching your carb intake or cooking for someone with a food allergy, you might want to try a sauce thickened with almond flour.
A sauce thickened with nuts is typically quite heavy for a few reasons.
To compensate, you should be using it in smaller portions.
Similarly, you need to know that to thicken a sauce, almond flour is a common choice, but it lends a grainy texture, especially if it is homemade.
It will also lend your sauces a flavor that is unique from the dish itself; this flavor is not terrible, but it is nonetheless noticeable.
Tip: Consider the variation in taste with almond flour while you prepare your dinner and pick an entrée, like chicken, that complements the almond taste.
Can You Thicken Sauce without Using Flour?
Using almond flour is a good way to thicken a sauce without cranking up the carb count.
It works great for those watching carbs while following the keto diet.
But, what if you do not have any flour available and do not want to use starch?
A classic alternative is to use egg yolks.
Although often used to thicken custards and salad dressings, egg yolks also do a fantastic job of emulsifying luxurious cream sauces.
Scrambled eggs can be avoided by whisking about a cup of hot sauce into an egg yolk in a bowl.
The tempered yolk mixture is then added to the saucepan while whisking continuously.
Tip: To avoid scrambling, add the spicy sauce to the egg yolk carefully while whisking.
Can almond flour be used as a thickener?
You may have been searching for an alternative to regular flour or cornstarch if you are worried about your carb intake.
A tablespoon of cornstarch contains 7g of carbs, and you can cut it considerably using almond flour.
Just understand the variations in its taste when you make the switch and use the right quantity to get the best results.