Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Almond Meal

Update: I broke my Kitchenaide. It took 4 years, but it finally happened. So the method works, just be very careful.

Bob's Red Mill Gluten-free flours and Arrowhead Mills are higher quality companies. The problem is the cost. Not that I believe they are being unreasonable. I have been involved with health food for 30 years. I'm aware that foods with higher nutritional value and specialty foods always carry a higher price.

It's my present low income and allergy difficulties that necessitates cooking from scratch. Despite the tax break given in the U.S. to those diagnosed with Celiac disease I find the high cost of these food items a hard expenditure to meet. With flours as the main ingredient in baking it's important to know how to use the various different kinds, and where to get the better prices.

Naturally low fat grains like rice, millet, quinoa, and teff are easily milled through my Kitchenaid grain mill. I grind 5 lbs. of millet and 10 lbs. of brown rice about every other week.

However, almonds are a trickier business. Because the grain mill is not made for nuts, I use my Kitchenaid food grinder instead.But,simply dumping the nuts into the hopper will cause the machine to bind-up. While the process is tedious, it is well worth the cost savings. The difference of $14 a pound for almond meal over buying Now brand almonds at $5.58 for 1 lbs. at my local health food store I'm willing to patiently make my own almond meal.

One big difference between home-ground almonds and the meal you receive from Bob's Red Mill is his almonds are blanched; the skins are removed. This makes a prettier flour for use in dishes which need a clean looking presentation, such as a yellow cake. Removing the skins is more work than I am willing to do for everyday use in such as bread or pancakes.
Here are my
Step-by-step instructions for grinding almonds
  1. Attach food grinder with the course grind disk and turn Kitchenaid to speed level 4.
  2. Drop one or two almonds at a time into the hopper. See video below. Out comes out will be *chunky.
  3. To make a finer almond meal switch to the finer grind disk, and then pour meal, in small amounts, back through the grinder.
  4. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator until ready for use.

*Chunky almond meal is good in bread, pancakes, cookies, and muffins.

It a boring video, but you see how slowly I push the almonds through the hopper.