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Feb 12, 2011 09:56 AM

Experimenting w/ Unusual Flour- Coconut, Green Pea, Spelt, Buckwheat,Flaxseed, White Bean.......?

I do not have gluten or other allergies. I just am curious about these more unusual flours and am interested in experimenting w/ them- in NON BREAD uses. Cookies are my primary interest w/ them. But it would also be fun to experiment w/ crackers,and pie crusts (sweet and savory) and Indian and Chinese sweets ( i think about the chickpea flour and glutinous rice flour sweets in those respective cuisines.)The above types in the post title- are all produced by Bob's Red Mill, and I have looked at all the info on his website, but have not learned much towards my interest.

Wouldn't it be fun to play with such unusual ingredients?! Not for most bakers maybe, but i'm hoping for some of you CHs! Thanks much!

p.s. i started another thread devoted to Semolina Flour uses:

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  1. Buckwheat is popular in pancakes and crepes, usually in a half/half mix.

    Spelt is a type of wheat.

    Chickpea flour is used a lot in Indian cooking, but also around the Mediterranean. It can be blended with water (and salt, black pepper and oil) and baked/fried into crepe like cakes, or it can be cooked into a stiff porridge, sliced and fried.

    There was a NYT column (Minimalist?) about using other grain flours to make thin breads.

    1 Reply
    1. re: paulj

      I've tried the Chow recipe for buckwheat&buttermilk pancakes - with a couple modifications: #1, instead of wheat or whole wheat flour I used spelt....true spelt is of the same genus as wheat (triticum), but it's not a hybrid nor is it by definition GMO nor does it have the same quantity of gluten - these factors make it far easier to digest. #2 instead of buying buttermilk I mixed a couple tablespoons vinegar with goatmilk. The pancakes turned out ok, but too thin and healthy tasting - meaning keep with the Buttermilk Ricotta Pancakes using only spelt.

    2. I've made these mochi chocolate mini muffins several times, they're really easy. I guess it's a variation on mochi cake, but comes out lighter and fluffier in my opinion, and in a nice bite sized package with a mocha flavor due to the coconut milk. I usually make this when I have leftover (full-fat) coconut milk from Thai cooking, but thin it out with about a third milk/water to be closer to the recipe, otherwise the brownies don't rise as well.

      1. Here's another recipe that turns out well for me (and I'm not a great cook). It's not exactly made with flour, you soak mung beans overnight then grind them and cook like a pancake to make wraps. It does take some planning but it's easy and the batter cooks well and doesn't stick.

        1. some unusual flours are really good to make homemade pasta. I just made fettuccine and cappelletti (small tortellini) with kamut flour. Chestnut flour also contributes and interesting nutty flavor to sweets and pasta but you need to mix it with other flours. Farinata is a typical Italian dish made with chickpea flour and rosemary, delicious!

          1 Reply
          1. re: madonnadelpiatto

            Chestnut flour was commonly used to make polenta - before cornflour took over. In some parts of Italy they still like to make polenta from a mix of corn and buckwheat.

            In general it is easier to make porridge from a flour than something that requires more structure like pasta or bread. Gluten, or some substitute, is needed for structure.

          2. here is mark bittman's recipe for farinata--might be what you are referring to paulj. made with chickpea flour; easy, yummy, and fun to make. I substitute wheat flour for half the chickpea flour and reduce the water by a couple of tablespoons; i also use sumac, thyme, and toasted sesame seeds instead of rosemary.


            there's also a kind of buckwheat pasta called pizzoccheri i've been meaning to try--it's a rustic pasta that you just cut with a knife so it seems easy. lots of recipes online.

            3 Replies
            1. re: leonora1974

              Yum, I love farinata/socca. It's a great jumping off point for flour experimentation. Use plenty of olive oil and salt! It's so great when you're hungry and you've got a nice noshy sort of red wine sitting there, looking at you with big eyes.

              1. re: leonora1974

                Chickpea flour works as a binder, holding things together like egg--it's the batter for pakoras, the Indian vegetable fritter.

                I like to use it for vegans in any croquette, patty, pancake (like potato pancakes) in which I'd use an egg--mixed with water to a slightly thicker than beaten egg consistency.

                1. re: femmevox

                  femme, great uses, but it's not that chickpea flour "works as a binder"; almost any flour can be mixed w/ water and turned into a pancake or a fritter w/ o egg. Since you've enjoyed creating with it, you might also enjoy the other pureed legume batters (India excels at these uses; urad dal and rice making some favs of mine), and legume based flours like the white bean and green pea - sold by Bob's Red Mill in the U.S. I bet you could sub them into all your above uses and enjoy some more creating!