Due to their nutritious profile, almond foods have entirely gone mainstream. You probably keep scratching your head whenever you see the almond meal and almond flour, wondering where the distinction lies. Well, almond meal and almond flour are popularly used by consumers on a gluten-free diet. They are both made from almonds, so you can correctly refer to them as almond siblings. However, several differences set the two apart. Want to know more? Here is an official guide to almond meal vs almond flour that will help you understand when to use which and how.
Almond meal is ground out of raw almonds without removing their skin. The skin is the one that gives the meal its signature texture and draws the line of difference from almond flour. When you use it, you get a more bristly flaky texture compared to the flour.
A quarter cup of almond meal contains 138 calories, 5g fiber, 5g protein, 245mg copper, and 64mg magnesium. You are right; it is a nutrient-rich option.
When to Use Almond Meal
With its crumbly nature, almond meal is best for gluten-free bread crumbs for fish and chicken coating. Also, it is ideal when baking foods like quick bread and cookies.
Generally, it is recommended for pairing with salty dishes that can mask the meal’s bitter taste from the almond skin. Using it on recipes with sweet flavor can leave behind a subtly bitter taste.
How to Prepare Almond Meal at Home
You can save yourself from a trip to the store by preparing the almond meal through the simple procedure below. As long as you have a blender or a food processor, a sieve, and some almonds, you are good to go.
- Add raw almonds with skin into the blender.
- Blend until the almonds turn into an excellent almond meal. Be sure to check that you don’t prolong the blending period to avoid preparing almond butter.
- Sieve the almond meal into a bowl and reprocess the large bits to obtain a consistent texture.
Is There an Almond Meal Substitute?
If you are not ready to purchase or prepare the almond meal, you could substitute it with sunflower or pecan meal.
Almond flour is produced by finely grinding blanched almonds. Blanched almonds are the ones that have been boiled to remove the skin without much of a struggle. Once skinned, the almonds are ground into a fine powder using a blender or a food processor. For your heads up, almond flour is good for boosting immunity and cell protection because of the high levels of vitamin E it possesses.
A ¼ cup of almond flour contains Calories: 170, Fat: 15g, Saturated fat: 1g, Protein: 6g, Carbs: 6g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, Calcium: 66mg, Potassium: 190mg.
When to use almond flour
With its delicate texture, almond flour is recommended for close up or baked foods like cookies. Moreover, it’s great for preparing fluffy bread and airy cakes.
Preparing Almond flour at home
If you are the type that likes to get creative in your kitchen, you can easily prepare almond flour right at home without much hassle. Here is the simple procedure to do it:
- First of all, start blanching your almonds to make it easy to remove their skin
- Once skinned, leave the almonds to dry completely. They should not have a trace of moisture when you grind them.
- Once dry, grind them to your desired texture using a blender or a food processor. You should be keen to stop grinding before turning the almonds into almond butter.
- Store the almond flour in a tight lid container and store it in the fridge for two months. The fats in almond flour can make it go bad if stored at room temperature.
How to Prepare Blanch Almonds
If you prefer preparing almond in the comfort of your kitchen, it’s essential to understand how the blanching goes down. Well, you will be surprised by how simple the whole process is. All you need is some hot water and of course the almonds! So here is the process;
- Bring water to boil
- Drop your almonds in the boiled water while still hot and leave them in the water for a minute. Be keen on timing because the almonds will become too soft to pinch if they overstay in hot water.
- Remove the almonds from the hot water and run some cold water over them.
- By now, the skin is quite easy to pinch off.
Alternatively, you can also find blanched almonds from your favorite almond products store.
Almond Flour Substitute
When preparing cupcakes, cakes, and muffins, you can replace one cup of almond flour with a cup of all-purpose flour or wheat flour. For pancakes, brownies, and pancakes, you can substitute a single cup of almond flour with ½ cup of refined flour+ ½ cup buckwheat and ¾ cup of chickpea flour.
Almond Meal VS Almond Flour
Here is a quick highlight of the peculiarities between almond meal and almond flour.
- Almond flour is finer because it is made from blanched almonds.
- The meal Option has brown speckles because it is processed from almonds without removing the skin
- Almond flour has a brighter appearance because it is processed from skinned almonds.
- For Almond meal, it is more nutritious because it is produced together with the almond skin.
Let’s now take a close look at the main differences between almond meal and almond flour. Interestingly, the whole difference comes along with the production process. While the almond meal is processed without removing the almond skin, almond flour is processed from skinned almonds.
Because it’s processed with the almond skin, foods prepared with almond meal tend to be slightly bitter. This is unlike almond flour, where the almonds are blanched before processing. However, the difference is only realized by individuals with sensitive taste buds. For the almond meal vs almond flour comparison, here are the main differences;
Another noticeable difference between almond flour and almond meal is the grain size. Almond meal usually is coarser than the almond flour, which is finer, thus having a larger grain size. When it comes to food preparation, the grain size makes a whole difference. For instance, using almond meal in preparation for a delicate recipe like low carb bread will weigh down the other ingredients. That’s why the almond meal is highly recommended substitute for bread crumbs or as a coating. On the other hand, almond flour is ideal for delicate recipes because it has a finer grain. However, it’s important to note that if you are preparing your almond meal at home, you can always make the grain as fine as possible.
There is a notable distinction between the almond meal and almond flour when it comes to appearance. This is because almond meal comes with brown flecks of almond skin that give it a brownish appearance. On the contrary, almond flour has a more precise appearance because it’s processed without the almond skin.
Both almond meal and almond flour have quite some nutritional benefits as almonds are known to be highly nutritious. However, almond meal is termed as more nutritious than almond flour. It’s all because the almond skin in almond meal contains nutrients that are not in the almond’s flesh. Some of the nutrients found in almond skin include antioxidants and flavonoids.
The price of these two may differ depending on where you are making your purchase; thus, I won’t mention the price here. In the past, almond flour used to be more expensive than the almond meal because it involves more work during processing. However, with the popularity of low carb flour, almond flour is readily available in the market, and you can get at a lower price than almond meal.
Can Almond meal and Almond flour be used interchangeably?
Answering this question depends on the recipe you have at hand. As you already know, these almond products have a remarkable difference in texture that may affect how your recipe turns out. For instance, if you are preparing a sensitive recipe like an airy cake or delicate macaroni, you cannot afford to substitute almond flour for almond meal. Why not? Sensitive recipes strictly require the soft texture of almond flour. On the contrary, if your recipe includes some forgiving recipes like breaded meat or quick bread, there won’t be much of a problem with substituting one for the other.
How to Store your Almond meal/ almond flour
Always store your almond meal and almond flour in an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator. Ensure that you don’t let in moisture into the container because it gives you problems when it comes to baking.
Almond meal vs almond flour are both great kitchen necessities that you don’t want to miss in your pantry. I hope that with the above guide, you will be able to choose the one that suits your cooking needs appropriately.