Eliminating White Flour Without Eliminating the Baking Habit (and Huckleberry Muffins)

IMG_3515We’re experimenting this month with eliminating white flour, a difficult thing to do in a household that loves daily baking. It’s forcing us to look for new recipes and techniques and is reminding me of the importance of reliable recipes.

With practice and experience, comes the skill of reading recipes. I feel like I have enough baking under my belt to detect a poorly written recipe and to know, at a glance, when something just might work. When experimenting with alternative flours, like barley, rye, or almond, it’s good to be able to start with reliable advice. (The chickens can only eat so many failed loaves…) Here are the places I go most often for guidance and a starting point when I’m trying to create something new:

  • King Arthur Flour – Great or all things baking, this website has a blog with step by step instructions as well as the recipe search. You can even contact the baker’s hotline when you get in a jam!
  • NYT recipe database – You’ll find solidly authored and edited recipes for just about any cuisine or project. You can even get a nice app for your smartphone.
  • Smitten Kitchen – This is my favorite cooking blog that has lovely photography and a breadth of recipes that I feel match my own taste and style.
  • Books – Here’s a resource not to be underestimated! You can even write your own notes in the margins. Check out my favorite baking books on our bookshelf above.

We’ve had great success with just straight up substitutions in some of our favorite, reliable recipes. Popovers and crumpets were even declared improved (and more “complex”) with 100% whole wheat subbed for AP. I’m still working on a pie crust and a loaf of bread that is sandwich worthy without white flour, but I’ll keep trying until I get it.

There are a many, many websites that want to give you recipes to try, but in sorting through them, I usually ignore ones that require too many odd or processed products to purchase. When “meeting” a new recipe site, I usually look for clear directions, nice photos, and common sources or inspirations. Here’s one that I found and made this morning that references a book already on my shelf. Based on the recipe in Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio, this blogger tempted me with her lovely photographs. I picked some wild huckleberries and fussed with destemming them. Well worth it! I’m sure this recipe would be delicious with any diced fruit you have on hand.

Huckleberry Muffins with Almond Flour

Makes 5-6 muffins

4 ounces eggs (2 eggs)
1 ounce honey (about 1 tbls.)
1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

4 ounces (about 1 cup) almond flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/3 c. huckleberries (or any diced fruit, patted dry)

  1. Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ones in another bowl.
  2. Add the wet to the dry.
  3. Add berries (or other fruit).
  4. Pour into muffin cups.
  5. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes. (Look for the center to be set.)