Quinoa, the “gold of Incas,” is an ancient grain that is also golden in the kitchen -- this hearty grain packs equal amounts of flavor and nourishment. You can typically find quinoa grains -- which lend themselves well to salads, cereals, stews and sides -- on grocery store shelves. You can indeed grind quinoa, ending up with quinoa flour, a versatile and nutritious alternative to wheat-based flours.
You can grind your own quinoa at home to make quinoa flour. Simple rinse and dry about 2 cups of the grain and spread it evenly on a baking sheet, baking at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for roughly 15 minutes, or until golden brown and aromatic. Use a grain mill, food processor, coffee grinder or spice grinder to grind the quinoa into a smooth, fine, powdery consistency. Once you've ground the quinoa into flour, you can refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to 6 months or keep it frozen for up to a year. If you don't have the tools at home to grind it yourself, look for quinoa flour at a specialty food store or natural food store.
Taste and Texture
The finely ground texture of quinoa flour closely resembles that of store-bought all-purpose flour, so it won't alter the consistency of your recipes much. However, quinoa flour offers a slightly richer taste, featuring a nutty and somewhat sweet flavor. This flavor subtly influences recipes, lending a fuller taste to baked goods.
Usage and Benefits
Quinoa flour can serve as a stand-in for both all-purpose and wheat flour in most baked goods, including cakes, cookies, muffins and breads. However, it is not suitable for yeast breads, as it doesn't offer the necessary elasticity. Quinoa flour can serve as a thickening agent for soups and stews, and even lends itself to shakes and smoothies as protein powder. This flour alternative is gluten-free and offers a substantial amount of fiber, calcium, protein and amino acids such as lysine and threonine. Quinoa flour is low-fat and doesn't contain any sodium or cholesterol.
When it comes to baked goods, quinoa flour is highly versatile. This type of flour works in breads including banana bread, soda bread, flatbread and scones. It also accommodates cookies, particularly substantial varieties that contain fruit and nuts. Quinoa flour adds a hearty richness to breakfast dishes like waffles, pancakes and crepes.
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