Blanched almond flour, or almond meal, is simply ground almonds that have had their skins removed. It’s been used for centuries in cakes, cookies, muffins, and pancakes, and even makes delicious bread. It is especially useful for a gluten free diet, or for a grain free or low carb diet, as it has a high protein content.
But although there are many almond flour recipes, you may be disappointed if you don’t use the brand recommended, or if no brand is recommended. Especially if the recipe uses all almond flour and no other flour.
Both Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour and Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour are fresh and flavorful, and both are labeled “gluten free”. I found out the difference is in how finely the almonds are ground.
This is important because a finer grind gives a finer crumb, resulting in lighter cakes for example, while a coarser grind may give a chewy or crunchy texture you may like for traditional cakes or cookies.
I sifted the 2 brands into 4 different size particles. The smallest and largest are pictured.
Both brands have all 4 particle sizes, but the amounts differ substantially.
I measured out a pound each of 2 well known brands: Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour and Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour. I have used Bob’s with great results, but had been told that it wouldn’t work for some recipes. I wanted to know if this was true and why.
I first sifted each through a very fine sifter. Then whatever was too big to go through that one I put through a sifter with a bigger screen, then followed with a third, even bigger screen.
Left: Bob’s Red Mill
Bob’s(L): 5 oz
Honeyville(R): 8 oz
Bob’s(L): 4 oz
Honeyville(R): 7 oz
Bob’s(L): 5 oz
Bob’s(L): 2 oz
Sifting through the fine sifter yielded a light, fluffy almond flour.
As you can see in the table above, Honeyville, pictured on the right, contains a larger proportion of the fine fluffy stuff. It makes up nearly 8 oz, or 50% of the total weight. Bob’s Red Mill yielded only 5 oz.
The second sifting yielded a medium grind: more like almond “meal” (think corn meal as compared to corn flour).
Most of the rest of the Honeyville flour, about 7 oz, was fine enough to pass through this medium sieve. Sifting Bob’s through this sifter only yielded 4 oz of the medium grind.
What was left after that second sifting is where the difference is more obvious. Note that there was way more of the large grained meal left after sifting the Bob’s Red Mill almond meal: Close to half of the total weight. (The bottom 2 amounts combined.)
Honeyville almond flour left less than one oz after the second sifting (compare bottom 2 amount images to Bob’s), and the grains were noticeably smaller.
I decided to sift even further.
There was very little left of the Honeyville blanched almond flour to put through my coarsest sieve: and less than one teaspoon that didn’t go through. That was more due to clumping than to particle size.
Bob’s Red Mill had a different story: nearly a third of the almond pieces were too large to sift through.
Why does it matter what size the grains of almond flour are? Find out here.
I like Honeyville best for contemporary recipes. I use it for cakes, breads, muffins and cookies when I want a delicate texture.
If a recipe calls for a fine blanched almond flour, or you want a lighter, less chewy result, Honeyville is what I recommend.
I use Honeyville in any recipe I make from my new favorite gluten free cookbook: The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook. The author, Elana Amsterdam, recommends blanched almond flour rather than unblanched, and she says Bob’s Almond Meal/Flour won’t work in her recipes.
And her recipes are so good I don’t want to mess them up. Especially her gluten free pancakes and sandwich bread. The bread is yeast free, easy to make, and has a real bread-like texture.
But I like Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour best for more traditional recipes like you find on this site. If you ever try to grind your own almonds in the food processor, or by hand which was the only option in the old days, you’ll quickly see that what you end up with is much more like Bob’s Red Mill, since it’s hard to get a consistently fine grind.
Bob’s is easier to find in stores which makes it more convenient, but unfortunately it is more expensive than Honeyville blanched almond flour.
There are other blanched almond flour products on the market, available online, but Honeyville is the least expensive I’ve found. Especially since they have a flat rate for shipping, no matter how much you buy. So if you buy in bulk like I do, you save a lot.