CHICAGO — Don Guerra’s passion for baking and his commitment to neighborhood is showcased in the bread baked at Barrio Bread in Tucson, Ariz. Nearby-grown and milled grains are a pillar of his business enterprise. This consists of the use of option flours sourced from some unexpected areas.
The term option flour implies a foodstuff other than classic milled cereal or seed that has been ground into a fine consistency.
“Alternative flours are gaining interest in the culinary globe to offset negatives of classic wheat flour, to boost the nutritional worth of ready foods and for the reason that of the interest of chefs and shoppers to discover new textures, flavors and aromas,” stated Anastasia Tkacheva, co-founder and chief technologies officer of ingredient technologies enterprise Planetarians.
Bertha Jimenez, co-founder and chief executive officer of Rise Merchandise Inc., added, “Consumers are drawn to option flours for their sustainability, as they can be sourced from insects, from crops that call for significantly less water, or from byproducts.”
The option flour category is in its infancy. Innovation is now achievable due to advances in milling and sifting, which generate textures equivalent to wheat flour and a great deal higher consistency than in the previous, according to Katlin Smith, founder and c.e.o. of Easy Mills.
“We foresee continued diversification of flour derivatives, especially in the locations of nuts, seeds and legumes,” she stated. “As the option flour business grows, the flours will come to be a lot additional accessible, constant and widespread. They will also be additional sustainably created and processed with cleaner technologies.”
From mesquite to acorns
1 option flour that Mr. Guerra makes use of comes from Tucson-primarily based La Madera Mesquite. The enterprise mills complete pods obtained from the mesquite tree (Prosopis glandulosa), which is widespread in southern Arizona. The pods are regarded a nuisance by landscapers but when they are dried and ground into a reddish flour, they are a important ingredient in quite a few locally created foods.
The fleshy element of the pod gives carbohydrates, which includes soluble and insoluble fibers, although the seeds are a concentrated supply of protein, which includes the crucial amino acid lysine, which is typically restricted in plant-primarily based proteins. This tends to make mesquite flour a nutritional powerhouse, as it is also loaded with calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. The flour has a malty, nutty, smoky, sweet flavor profile typically described as getting hints of cocoa, maple, molasses and hazelnut.
Mr. Guerra makes use of mesquite flour with locally sourced wheat flours to make a loaf topped with pumpkin seeds. The toasted seeds bring added nutrition, flavor and crunch to the bread.
Like protein powders, mesquite flour may possibly also be added to smoothies and blended drinks. It has thickening properties and may possibly be applied as a flavorful and colorful option to cooking starches in genuine southwest sauces, soups and stews.
Like mesquite pods, acorns are yet another human annoyance. But not for everyone.
Sue Chin, owner of Sue´s Acorn Cafe & Mill in Martinez, Calif., for instance, collects regional acorns to generate her personal flour. She makes use of it to generate an array of baked goods served at her restaurant and sold on the internet.
Acorns — the nuts with caps and shells removed — are higher in protein, potassium, magnesium, calcium and vitamin B6. They are naturally gluten totally free and loaded with fiber. There are additional than 400 species of oak trees grown about the globe, and the acorns they generate differ in colour, flavor and size.
On Kea Island in Greece, Marcie Mayer, a California native, leads the Oakmeal Acorn Initiative, which is a multifaceted project to aid farmers rekindle the collection of acorn caps for exportation to tanneries, as nicely as establishing acorn flour-primarily based items in the regional cuisine.
“Acorn flour is ideal combined with other flours, grains and oats,” Ms. Mayer stated. “It is a tough flour and requires added time to absorb other components in a dough or batter. Acorn flour can be applied rather of corn flour for thickening sauces, gravy, soups and stews. It has a darker color and a great deal richer aroma.”
Other nuts as nicely as legumes may possibly also be dried and ground into option flour. Chickpea flour, for instance, is typically applied to raise the protein content material of crackers and baked snacks.
“Chickpea flour has virtually double the fat content material of complete wheat flour and is about 25% larger in protein,” stated Angela Ichwan, senior director and technical options for The Annex by Ardent Mills. “The flour tends to be denser and stickier than frequent wheat flour and recipes require to be adjusted. It is a great substitute for heavy flours such as rye or buckwheat in muffins and pancakes.”
Yet another use is in batters and breadings. It may possibly boost the nutritional profile of tempura vegetables and chicken nuggets and enables for a gluten-totally free claim.
Whilst supporting regional is the foundation of Barrio Bread, Mr. Guerra is incorporating principles of a circular economy into his business enterprise. This is the basis of his use of spent grain.
Mr. Guerra performs with regional craft beer brewers such as Iron John’s Brewing Firm in Tucson, to supply their spent grain, which generally is discarded soon after brewing. He makes use of the spent grains with wheat flour to make a specialty loaf with a nutty, toasted flavor profile. The liquid is squeezed out of the spent grain prior to it is folded into the dough.
“I minimize the added water, as about 30% of the liquid in the bread is now the wort in the spent grain,” Mr. Guerra stated.
Spent grains applied in this style typically add some chewiness to the baked bread. This is probably due to the gelatinized starch in the wet grain.
A challenge in operating with spent grain is it spoils promptly. Spent grain is a concentrated supply of carbohydrates, proteins and water, an excellent atmosphere for microbial development unless the grains are refrigerated, frozen or additional processed promptly. The latter consists of drying and milling the spent grain into flour, which is becoming performed by various brewers and secondary processors who help regenerative meals systems. The outcome is a higher-protein, higher-fiber flour with a distinctive flavor profile that complements quite a few baked goods.
Rise Merchandise produces and sells flour produced from spent barley from beer. It is about 25% protein and 40% dietary fiber. The flavor and colour varies by style of beer.
“The brewing procedure extracts sugars and starches from malted barley, leaving behind the protein and the fiber,” Ms. Jimenez stated.
A lighter flour comes from the spent grains of ales and pilsners and has a nutty caramel flavor profile, although a dark flour with coffee and chocolate notes is created from porters and stouts.
“Our artisanal batches are gently dried and stone ground,” Ms. Jimenez stated. “While they are not gluten totally free, they can be applied in gluten-totally free recipes when significantly less than 20% of the total recipe. Some chefs use it as a flavoring agent in higher-finish cuisine. The dark flour can be applied to minimize cocoa powder addition in some recipes.”
Planetarians produces defatted sunflower seed flour, which is an upcycled byproduct from sunflower oil extraction.
“In the classic procedure, the cake — a mix of seeds and up to 20% hulls — remaining soon after the oil extraction is applied for feed, wasted or burned,” stated Edgar Hernandez, sales manager. “Planetarians created technologies to procedure the cake into a meals-grade higher-top quality protein flour. The allergen- and gluten-totally free flour has 35% protein, 18% fiber, a slightly nutty flavor and is naturally non-G.M.O. It performs ideal as a partial replacement for classic flour in most applications. The flour is dark and boldly artisan looking.”
Chef Anna Fitting of Ice CREEM Social in New York City uses the flour to make buns, cakes and pizza crust. 1 of her specialties is a vegan ice cream sandwich novelty. The sunflower seed flour gives a nutty flavor and chocolaty colour to the cake portion.
“These handcrafted frozen treats are all about upcycled plant-primarily based components,” Ms. Fitting stated. “It’s a second-hand method to ingredient sourcing, not just with the sunflower seed flour but also with the fruit applied to make the center filling. Bruised bananas, carrot peels, pineapple cores and other generate scraps and irregulars are bought from local purveyors. It is pretty versatile with a subtle flavor that complements other flavors, in particular chocolate and coconut, and does not overwhelm other flavors. It is a good way to add all-natural dark flavor to baked goods.”
Andy Clark, owner of Moxie Bread Co. in Louisville, Colo., serves pizza produced with sunflower seed flour crust.
“About a third of the wheat flour is replaced with sunflower seed flour, which produces a delicate dough,” he stated. “Added fiber assists with binding water to accommodate for the lack of gluten. The sunflower seed flour contributes fiber and plant protein, boosting the nutritional profile of a vegan or vegetarian pizza. That beautiful colour reinforces the mindful meals option.”
Whilst baked goods are the most frequent applications, other makes use of contain plant-primarily based meats, dips, spreads, soups and beverages.
San Francisco-primarily based Renewal Mill focuses on upcycled components.
“We forage the meals method for streams of nutrition that are at present not utilized or are underutilized and convert them into novel components,” stated Claire Schlemme, c.e.o.
Renewal Mill at present sells okara flour, which is a higher-fiber, higher-protein, gluten-totally free flour produced from the soybean pulp generated for the duration of soymilk production. The enterprise is exploring byproducts from other non-dairy milks, which includes oat, almond and pea.
“Okara flour is an really versatile ingredient with a pretty neutral flavor, which is described as slightly milky or nutty,” Ms. Schlemme stated. “It has a light colour enabling it to blend effortlessly into most flour-primarily based items, which includes pasta, pancake mix and cookies. Okara flour has a quantity of functional positive aspects, which includes getting higher water- and oil-binding skills. This improves moisture retention and can lengthen shelf life of bakery products.”
ReGrained bars commence with a base of upcycled spent grain flour. Its chocolate coffee stout wide variety also consists of coffee flour as a featured ingredient.
“Coffee flour is the dehydrated cherry fruit that enrobes every coffee bean,” stated Philip Saneski, vice-president of item for ReGrained. “It is higher in fiber and antioxidants. The taste is not bitter, like coffee, rather it has pleasant citrus and chocolatey notes.”
Carole Widmayer, senior vice-president of marketing and advertising and sales for CF USA, Inc., stated, “As a fruit, it is naturally gluten- and allergen-totally free. Coffee cherry flour is ideal when applied to replace 10% to 15% of classic or other flour in a recipe, or up to 40% of cocoa powder in a chocolate-primarily based recipe. It can also be applied as a spice in a wide variety of applications.”
With its higher dietary fiber content material, coffee flour performs nicely as a thickener for sauces and syrups.
Mr. Saneski is also operating with green banana flour, which is a fine powder that is beige in colour and has a neutral flavor.
“It is dried from complete green peeled bananas,” he stated. “This item is naturally higher in potassium, magnesium and prebiotic fiber and is identified as resistant starch.”
Green banana flour is recognized as functioning equivalent to native cook-up starch and possesses distinctive thickening properties. This consists of its potential to replace hydrocolloids in fluid method such as beverages and salad dressings, as nicely as stabilizing fruit systems.
“Alternative flours can add worth to the similar base diet plan shoppers have been consuming prior to,” Mr. Saneski stated. “Many contribute prebiotic fiber and plant-primarily based protein, typically with a social or environmental duty story.”