Making Gluten-Free Flours at Home in 30 Seconds

Posted by on February 9, 2011 | 60 Comments

It is so easy to forget that any food that comes in a package was derived from somewhere. Apples don’t magically dehydrate on trees, nuts don’t shed their shells and roast in the afternoon sun, and grains don’t simply turn into a floury dust without some coaxing. But all of these processes can be done quite easily in your own home.

For what seems like ages, I had been avoiding certain recipes because I simply didn’t want to invest in more gluten-free flours. My local grocer doesn’t carry several of them, which means ordering online, paying shipping, etc. Also, to get a fair price, you really need to buy in bulk, and I didn’t even know if I would like their taste and texture.

Then I had that big “Aha” moment … you know, the one where you feel like a total idiot for not thinking of it prior … the flours come from whole grains, right? Why now simply grind them up and home! So, so simple.

Within minutes, I had just enough quinoa flour (from my stash of quinoa) and millet flour (yes, I love millet, so it is in my cupboard) for my recipes. Believe it or not, all this took was 20 seconds in my handy-dandy, cheapo spice grinder. And isn’t that the freshest flour you have ever seen?

I know what some of you are thinking though … was it fine enough? Did it perform well? Yes, and yes! It worked perfectly in the recipes, producing a wonderful taste and texture … I’m venturing the flours were as good as store-bought.

You can also make nut “flours” in your spice grinder, and contrary to popular belief, they perform just as well. To test, I baked two identical batches of almond flour banana muffins, one using a very popular blanched almond flour brand, and one using unblanched “raw” almonds that I ground in my spice grinder. They were near impossible to tell apart, and my homegrind muffins were actually the winner! They rose a bit more and had a slightly bolder flavor (since the almonds had the skins on, I assume). I also make cashew flour often, as it is one of the lower fat nuts, and powders easily.

Some flours are a bit harder to make than others as the product needs to be dried and possibly defatted in some fashion first (ie coconut flour – though I will be working on it!), but you can actually make wheat, spelt, oat, and a variety of other flours to order with nothing but a spice grinder (or maybe a food processor or high powered blender if you’ve got one – but I like the ability to make small amounts with the spice grinder) and the whole grains.

Do you make your own flours at home? If so, which ones work well for you?

 

Blog Events:

Comments (60)

 

  1. Were you in my house last night listening to Tony and I? We were just talking about this! I don’t grind my own, but I am definitely moving in that direction. I love how you took one for the team and made two test batches of muffins. I miss you and hope you are doing well!

  2. I love that your home-ground almonds helped your muffins rise better!! That is awesome! I have made some of my own flours many times and I am always amazed how easy it is! I actually use my coffee grinder for doing this (i do not use it for coffee beans). I especially grind my chia seeds and flax seeds and gf oats. Love that you are sharing this info, missy!!

    • alisa says:

      Yeah, I guess it is called a coffee grinder, not a spice grinder, but I don’t particularly like coffee, so ours only sees nuts, seeds, and spices too. I should have known you were alrady making your own flours! So resourceful.

  3. I should totally do this. I have so much millet (which I’m not a fan of cooked) and quinoa. And it would definitely save (a lot) from not buying the store flours. Those get really pricey.

    Did you cook/sprout/etc the grains at all first? Or did you just grind them? Almonds and cashews obviously that’s not needed.

    Great idea!

  4. Kim Lutz says:

    Hi Alisa!

    I make my own oat flour, but I never thought of some of the other varieties that you mentioned. Have you made rice flour? I also was wondering, did you have to cook the quinoa first or rinse it or anything? Did it have a bitter taste? I’m so excited to get started on some other flours. What a great idea!

    Kim

    • alisa says:

      Kim, you definitely don’t need to cook them first. As Lori noted, you can sprout them for sprouted grains, then dry and grind if desired. But since it can be such a pain to wash and then dry them, I just grind as is … no bitter taste that we noted. But most quinoa, these days, doesn’t actually have the bitter coating issues. The millet works really well, great taste too.

      I haven’t tried rice flour yet (I’ve got a bunch or brown rice flour to use up first!), but think it may not work as well since rice is a harder and larger grain. I’ll let you know though!

  5. I’ve thought about doing this, but I think I was waiting for someone to tell me exactly how. Unfortunately, I have ton of gf flours to go through first. You know how you just use a little bit of each in a recipe, but you have to buy a whole package of each one? But, I go through so much almond flour, I would love to try this with grinding my own. I think I will wait until after the “move” to buy a “spice” grinder. (Don’t want to move too much.) I actually use my coffee grinder for coffee. With how little sleep I get, I still need it. Thanks for being the guinea pig.

    xoxo,
    Tia

    • alisa says:

      Yeah, you should try it! I think those who swear only buy blanched, store-bought almond flour may be a bit pickier than our household about the “cleanest” product. We like the whole food taste and it definitely “performed” as well. The only thing to note is that there were a few mini almond chunks in my end product. Most ground up nice and fine, just like the flour, but I didn’t sift, so there were a few little larger nuggets. We didn’t mind.

  6. Do you think you could make gluten-free flours in a food processor?

    • alisa says:

      Matt, I don’t see why not. The spice/coffee grinder is just nice and small so I can do small batches, for just the recipe. I’d imagine with a food processor you would need to do a larger batch. But the spice grinder is essentially a mini food processor without the bells and whistles.

    • I’m glad I perused the comments before asking! I have a mini-processor that doesn’t hold more than 4 cups, so I think I could make some fun flours in there! :)

  7. Fantastic, Alisa! I know a few others who have done this before. I have neither a spice grinder nor a coffee grinder, but think I need to get one now. Great post, Alisa. I love not having to depend on products and making exactly the amount I want. I wouldn’t mind some almond chunks in the grand scheme of things either. ;-)

    Shirley

    • alisa says:

      Gosh, if you don’t get one, then I will need to have one waiting for you in your hotel room in Boulder! :)

      That is by far the most used appliance in my little kitchen. So, so handy. Especially when you are just feeding two people. I’ve even made pesto in it!

  8. It has occurred to me on occasion to puree up a can of beans and use them as a pre-moistened flour, reducing the liquid in a recipe to accommodate that.

    • alisa says:

      You know, Kelly at the spunky coconut uses pre-cooked beans this way in quite a few of her recipes. I haven’t dared it yet, as we aren’t big bean consumers, but it seems like a logical idea! Thanks for suggesting it J’Marinde.

  9. Maggie says:

    Thanks Alisa – I have a ton of millet that I am grinding this way! I can’t wait to try it. I actually love millet flour – the color is gorgeous! But I have so many other flours that I think I’ll just do it your way! Tell me, is the quinoa uncooked first? Is that a silly question? Thanks!

  10. Stefanie says:

    I have made rice flour, oat flour, and buckwheat flour in my little coffee grinder. They all worked well in the recipes. I started grinding my own rice flour because I did not know if I would like it and was too cheap to spend the money on a bag. I’m thinking of going wheat free for a while so I will be doing a little more experimentation in the kitchen. Thanks for the great post and the millet flour idea. :)

  11. Alex says:

    Wow, this is such a novel idea.. why didn’t i think of this? I use my magic bullet with the grinder blade as a spice grounder. Think this would work the same? How would you do nut flours? I think if I tried to grind my nuts, i would make nut butter.

    • alisa says:

      I think that would work, and probably easier to clean too! I know a lot of people who use the Magic Bullet like a spice grinder or small food processor.

      Nuts can be tricky. Cashews are the easiest, as they are lowest in fat. They powder nicely and actually take a little more work/time to turn into a butter. Almonds can be done easily, but you do need to stop before they turn into a nut butter. It is a fine line.

      Really fatty nuts, such as macadamias and pine nuts, won’t work as well. But almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, and seeds should powder. Just don’t process too long! What I do is after 20 to 30 seconds, I remove the flour, take any big chunks, and put them back in to grind again. If I wait to get every last chunk on the initial grind, then it is usually too long, so I do it in these stages.

      If you do end up with nut butter, no major loss. It can still be used in baking or recipes, or fire it in the fridge to use as a spread later.

  12. Hannah says:

    Um, yes. You’re brilliant. I’ve seen several recipes for millet flour lately and each time I think “but I only have millet grains in the cupboard!” I bet I could use my vitamix for this :)

    • alisa says:

      Yes, I know, I know … now if only I could clue my husband in on just how brilliant all of my schemes are :)

      Okay, now I have Vitamix envy.

      • Hannah says:

        Don’t get too envious my dear… the vitamix cost me twice as much in Australia as it would you in America, so I still feel guilty. Plus, just think of all the amazing ingredients and products you have over there that I constantly whine about not having access to! :P

  13. Rebeca says:

    I can’t tell you how happy this makes me. I keep wanting to try recipes with special flours but don’t want to shell out the $ for the flours when I already bought the grain. This is awesome… I can’t wait to make millet flour waffles this weekend!

  14. Katie says:

    Can you make garbanzo flour? I have made millet and quinoa flours, but I haven’t even done oats…the easiest of all, perhaps!

    • alisa says:

      Yeah girl, get on those oats! Going to try garbanzos right now …

      • Claire says:

        Let us know how the garbanzo flour works. I just found a recipe that calls for brown rice, quinoa, and chickpea flour, so I thought of your post. Don’t know how those garbanzos would work out though. I guess you could do what a previous commenter said – grind them cooked and just reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe.

        • alisa says:

          Claire – I gave it a go and they do grind up into a floury powder without a problem, but the flour is a bit bitter compared to store-bought. I’m thinking soak overnight, dry, then grind … that may get rid of that issue. I’m going to give it a go. You can use chickpeas (cooked) in recipes for ease too! I just saw a recipe like that.

  15. OK thank you for that oh yeah moment. This makes perfect sense. What a great idea. I think I first need a new spice grinder. I think my college age son took it with him. Great post. Thank you for sharing it on Real Food Weekly.

  16. YES! I love making my own flours! Your millet flour looks super fine! :)

  17. This is great!! I make my own oat flour a lot. Never tried to make quinoa flour…I need to try it!!! Thanks for the tips!!

  18. This is right up my alley! I just made my own almond flour and then used it to make Elana’s (from Elana’s Pantry blog) chocolate chip cookies which came out great! But I went through much more of a rigamarole and am now wondering if it was even necessary. I literally soaked the almonds overnight, then blanched them for 30 seconds in boiling water, then dehydrated them to dry them, then put them in a vitamix to grind them, then felt it was too wet so I dehydrated them some more. Can you even believe the steps I went through?? I’m definitely going to try your method. Much much much easier. I’ll use my handy dandy magic bullet, too. Thank you Alisa. As always, you are a trendsetter!!!

    Ellen

    • alisa says:

      Your results are probably much more “pure” than mine, but I’ve made some cookies from Elana’s cookbook using nothing but plain “raw” almonds ground in my spice grinder – no fuss – and received zero complaints! The cookies were devoured. I’m not as patient as you are Ellen :)

  19. It’s a terrific idea to make your own flours! Excellent tips!

  20. andrea devon says:

    oh you… you are so terribly smart, lady frugal foodie! i use my coffee grinder, for coffee and flax and chia, but why not flours…? and since i’m on this bread baking thing, now i have home-ground flours to experiment with too :)

  21. Alta says:

    Great job. What I think is most funny is that i have a jar of millet with the same label maker label in my pantry. Same size font and everything.

  22. Joanne says:

    I wonder why these flours cost so much, then, when they are so easy to make! Thanks for reminding us of this Alisa!

  23. Great idea!! Gluten-free flours are often more expensive, especially quinoa and such. Makes so much more sense to just make your own!

  24. wow, I’ve never thought of making my own flour! Very informative.

  25. I’ve done some of my own grinding, but not much. You’re so right about it being fresher and I love the idea of your almond flour being more “robust” and flavorful. That totally makes sense about the almond skins. You’ve inspired me to try millet and quinoa. Great post and a great reminder that it’s not that hard to make your own GF flours. Now, I’m not so sure about the coconut flour. Not from scratch anyway. =)
    Melissa

    • alisa says:

      Yes, I looked into coconut flour, and have seen some cases where people did it, but it is much more involved. Store-bought coconut flour is defatted a bit, which makes a big difference. But coconut butter, that can be made!

  26. Hannah says:

    I’m spoiled- I have the dry grinder container for my VitaMix. ;)

    I usually end up making nut flours the most, since it cuts down a lot on the price. Just one tip- Nuts should always be thoroughly frozen before grinding to prevent them from turning into butter!

  27. What a great post Alisa. If people invested in a little grinder they could save so much money! I like the ground almonds with the skins on. I’m really not sure I can taste any difference in taking the skin off them…and it takes too long!

  28. Maggie says:

    I was just thinking the other day that I want to buy some millet flour but my co-op only has big bags. Duh of course I have whole millet at home to make a small batch!

  29. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Glugle Gluten-Free, Delicious Knowledge. Delicious Knowledge said: I LOVE this idea. Why haven't I been doing this all along!? Making your own flour- in 30 seconds or less:… http://fb.me/SmJK5jeN [...]

  30. Shannon says:

    i need to try this with chickpeas!

  31. Marianne says:

    I always make my own oat flour at home, because it’s the easiest thing on my poor old magic bullet to blend. I would probably try others, but my blending equipment needs upgrading before doing so.

  32. Jay says:

    Okay, so for someone who is new to all of this (and relatively new to creativity in the kitchen), is there a particular coffee grinder anyone can recommend that they have had great success with? There is quite a price range on Amazon, and since I am essentially revamping ALL of my kitchen tools right now, don’t want to spend more than I have to for a model that really works. Reviews online are really mixed and not helpful. Can anyone that has been doing this let me know what brand and model of coffee grinder you have…IF you would recommend it? Thanks so much…a g-free newbie!

    • alisa says:

      Jay, for me the most important thing is the power. I’ve been happiest with my spice grinder that has at least 200 watts. Many have only 100 to 140, and won’t work quite as well. It looked like the Krups fast touch might be 200 watts (on amazon it lists both 160 and 200) and it has quite good reviews. Also, the KitchenAid one is powerful and not a bad price, but the reviews aren’t as good. Either way, $25 is probably the most I would pay for a spice grinder. The low power ones can be had for about $8 to $10.

Leave a Reply

Get New Posts via Email

Enter your email address:


Let’s Be Social

Grab A Button

Alisa Cooks


My Favorite Places for Deals




Other Hangouts





Featured Author
Featured Author
view my recipes
Featured Author





The Foodie Blog Roll