Where have you ‘Bean’ all My Life?

When you take a walk through the baking or flour aisle in the grocery store, you will be faced with a lot of options when it comes to flours – wheat flour, rice flour, bread flour, nut flour… endless options. For those cautious of what wheat products, this aisle can be frustrating. You must read carefully – What can I use as someone that has a gluten intolerance?

If you are one of these individuals and you feel like you are out of options, you are not. One option that might be available to you is bean flour. Bean flour is a great avenue for those that need a strict wheat-free diet and it can be used to make many different things like bread, pancakes or cookies.

 

What is Bean Flour?

For centuries, cultures around the world have been using bean flour in their meals. Some cultures add beans out of necessity, others because they know the health benefits. Primarily, you see beans in main dishes, salads, or soups.

Bean flour is processed much the same way as wheat flour. The bean is dried and then is ground multiple times through a mill processor until it is fine. Unlike some processed cooking ingredients, bean flour maintains its smooth and nutty flavor.

The most common beans used for bean flour are black beans, garbanzo, lentils, mung or navy beans.

 

Gluten Intolerant? 

If you are someone that suffers from a gluten intolerance, you know how difficult it is to get all the nutrients that you would have got from wheat based products. Bean flour may be just the thing you’ve been looking for.

 

Benefits of beans

To understand the benefits of bean flour, you must look at the benefits of beans themselves. Soluble and insoluble fibers are the main benefit to eating beans. Soluble fibers lower your blood cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber aids in digestions and regular bowel movements. Like any high fiber food, beans or pulses for example, are more filling foods helping you feel fuller longer.

 

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Benefits to Using Bean Flour

Bean flour makes up for and then some in the absence of regular wheat flour. Bean flour is high in dietary fiber and high quality protein. It also contains a good amount of magnesium and phosphorus and is also a good source of your vitamins and minerals – iron, B1, copper and manganese.

An other group that really benefits from bean flour is vegetarians. Vegetarians often combine beans or bean flours with their starch such as rice in order to get their protein in.

 

Count the Beans

As indicated in a previous section, the common beans used in bean flour are black beans, garbanzo, lentils, mung or navy beans. Although, each are great for you and will help improve your health, the benefits are not the same across beans. Each have their own numbers and are unique in what they provide your body.

If you are looking to increase your protein intake, you will want to seek soy bean flour (10 grams) or black bean flour (8 grams). If you are looking for something to keep you going during the day with a higher carbohydrate count, you will want to look for garbanzo bean flour (18 grams) or garfava flour (18 grams).

If you want to take advantage of the overall benefits, black bean or white bean flour is a great place to start.

 

How to Use Bean Flour?

You can substitute bean flour just about anywhere regular flour is used. Since it isn’t as popular as a wheat flour, not many people have explored fully with the way it can be used.

It is common for bean flour, like regular flour, to be used to thicken sauces and gravies or as a base for dips or soups. When you bake with bean flour, it’s a great addition bread, crackers, pancakes and many others.

 

Where can I get Bean Flour?

To take advantage of the benefits of bean flour, you can do it several ways. If you are adventurous, you can dry your own beans (20 minutes at 400 degrees) or buy dried beans. If you have a blender or mill at home, you can create your own bean flour.  You can also go to your local grocery or health food store to purchase prepared, ground bean flour so you can start baking or cooking immediately.

 

References:

http://www.bobsredmill.com/white-bean-flour.html

http://full-of-beans.ca/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/472318-how-to-grind-bean-flour/

http://www.glutenfreecookingschool.com/how-to-use-bean-flours/

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