A vegan diet, although very healthy, nutritious, and environment-friendly, can be a little challenging when it comes to choosing the right and acceptable ingredients for cooking and baking.
While some ingredients are clearly not vegan, like meat and other animal products, for most other foods you may often find yourself asking whether they are free of animal-derived ingredients and are cruelty-free or not.
When it comes to baking, flour is one of the staple ingredients you require for almost any recipe, whether it is baking bread, cakes, brownies, and so much more.
The first question that arises is whether flour is vegan or not! Well, flour is vegan 99% of the time, however, certain ingredients might confuse you into assuming that it isn’t.
So, what are the best vegan flours? There are many types of vegan flours available in the market that you can use to experiment with different flavors. Some popular vegan flours include almond flour, coconut flour, and corn flour.
Read on to find out more about the best vegan flours, our picks of the best vegan flours available in the market, along with a detailed buyer’s guide on how to choose the best one for your requirements!
Flour is a powder made by grinding grains or roots of different plants that is used as an ingredient in a variety of baking and cooking recipes.
It has been around for quite some time, with the oldest evidence of flour production dating back to 30,000 years.
When we talk about flour, the type of flour that usually comes to mind is wheat flour. However, that is not the only type of flour used.
It can be produced from a range of other grains, foods, and cereals such as almonds, coconut, chickpeas, rice, and potatoes.
While all the different types of flour vary in flavor and consistency, they all result in a dry, powdery substance.
Also, these flours can either be wholegrain (containing the germ, bran, and endosperm) or refined (containing merely the endosperm).
Is Flour Vegan?
Since flour, in its purest form, is nothing but crushed up plants, it is most certainly vegan-friendly.
The issue arises when it goes through processing or when additives are introduced to it when it is produced on a commercial scale, mainly to increase the flour’s shelf life.
White flour, or refined flour, was the topic of debate a while ago regarding its vegan-friendliness due to some of the additives it contains that, although may not be the most ideal health-wise, do not affect its vegan-ness.
It has also been reported that several manufacturers of white flour use bone char( charred animal bones) in the bleaching process, similar to how some refined sugar manufacturers do.
This is, however, a common misunderstanding since, although white flour manufacturers do use bleaching agents, none of them are derived from animals, making them 100% vegan-friendly.
There are several types of vegan flour available in the market, all of which have a certain impact on the final product and how it will look, taste, and smell like.
When choosing the best vegan flour for your recipes, pay close attention to whether it has rising agents in it since that is what gives height and lightness to your baked goods such as cakes and scones.
How To Store Flour The Right Way
Flour is a pantry staple that is at risk of rancidity and vermin if not stored properly. The three basic things that you need to remember when storing your favorite flour are: cold, dark, and airtight.
Place your flour in the fridge or the freezer if you have space since it will prevent rancidity and will also kill off any pests.
Next, always store the flour in an opaque container since light is its enemy. Lastly, all your containers, bags, or boxes that you use for flour storage must be airtight.
This is a crucial step that will keep your flour from spoiling by minimizing any contact with air and oxygen.
How To Choose The Best Vegan Flour
When choosing the best vegan flour, there are a few important considerations you need to keep in mind. The first and most important is that the flour must be 100% animal product and cruelty-free.
Make sure you go through the list of ingredients to check for any suspicious agents or additives. It is best to go for organic and single-ingredient flours so that there’s zero risk of any unsuitable ingredients.
Once that is out of the way, you can move on to the other two very important considerations: the quality and protein content of the flours.
When it comes to the quality, steer clear of chemicals like benzoyl peroxide and chlorine that give the flour an artificially white appearance and are hazardous for health.
Opt for flours that do not contain any bleaching agents and artificial preservatives of any kind.
Next, keep in mind the protein content of each flour since the higher the protein content, the better and stronger the flour.
It is important to choose the right flour with the right amount of protein suitable for your recipe.
Some flour brands allow significant fluctuations in their protein content so that every time you use them, you may get slightly different results.
To make sure that doesn’t happen, cook and bake using flour that is consistent and will give you the best results every single time.
Lastly, refer to your recipe to see if it calls for a specific type of vegan flour. If it does, follow that, but if it doesn’t and you’re unsure, read on for our top picks for the best vegan flours to help you choose.
What Is L-Cysteine?
Foods can sometimes contain some very weird ingredients that leave you scratching your head, especially if you are vegan and on the lookout for vegan-friendly foods.
One such weird ingredient is L-cysteine, also known as only cysteine, which is an amino acid that is often derived from duck feathers or pig or human hair.
It is used to improve the rising capabilities of the flour, making it rise quicker and better.
While that sounds like a complete nightmare for vegans, the good news is that if on the rare occasion that L-cysteine is added to flours, it is stated clearly in the list of ingredients. Look out for L-cysteine, cysteine, or E920.
If you see any of these on the list, know that the product is not suitable for vegans.
L-cysteine isn’t used in flours these days, so it shouldn’t be much of an issue. But to be on the safe side, do check the list of ingredients and the “certified vegan” stamp on the packaging.
Flour Bleaching Agents And Additives
Flours are processed using bleaching agents and additives, and different brands use several types of vitamins and minerals that may make it difficult to tell whether the flour in question is vegan or not.
While some of these additives may not sound the healthiest, and there will be many individuals (vegans and non-vegans) who might choose not to consume them, the fact of the matter is that none of these are specifically non-vegan.
The 11 Best Vegan Flours
If you are a vegan or are thinking about making this incredible lifestyle change, we are here to tell you that you do not have to bid adieu to flour since it is almost always vegan-friendly.
Here are our top picks of the 11 best vegan flours for you to choose from:
|1.||Blue Diamond Almond Flour||Made by grinding the best California grown almonds|
|2.||Arrowhead Mills Organic Coconut Flour||Made with only Fair-Trade Certified coconuts|
|3.||Gold Mine Yellow Corn Masa Harina||Made using organic stone ground corn|
|4.||Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Flour||Combination of stone-ground gluten-free grain and bean flours|
|5.||Authentic Foods Superfine Brown Rice Flour||Made using the highest quality and best-sized California medium-grain rice|
|6.||Food To Live Organic Oat Flour||Made by stone grinding high-quality ripe oatmeal|
|7.||Viva Naturals Organic Coconut Flour||Made using some of the world’s finest and freshest milky-white organic coconuts harvested in the Philippines|
|8.||Anthony’s Cassava Flour||Made from cassava root harvested in Brazil|
|9.||Antimo Caputo Semola Semolina Flour||Product of Italy made by milling durum wheat|
|10.||Palouse Brand Chickpea Flour||Made from 100% garbanzo beans on a family farm in Washington state|
|11.||Let’s Do Organic Green Banana Flour||Made by drying and milling young, organic, green bananas|
1. Blue Diamond Almond Flour
Almond flour is a clear choice for vegan flours since it is made by crushing and grinding almonds into a fine powder.
The skin may or may not be removed, giving the flour either a light brown or yellowish color.
This great product from Blue Diamond is 100% vegan and is developed by grinding the best California grown almonds.
It can be used in both sweet and savory recipes, where it adds a nice, nutty flavor and fluffy texture to baked goods, along with providing a good source of protein and fiber.
In addition to being vegan, this almond flour is also keto-friendly, gluten-free, low-carb, kosher, paleo-friendly, and non-GMO certified.
2. Arrowhead Mills Organic Coconut Flour
A soft flour made from dried coconut meat, coconut flour is 100% vegan-friendly since it doesn’t have any added vitamins or minerals that may raise an eyebrow.
It is prepared by squeezing out the milk from the coconut’s meat, after which the meat is dried at a low temperature and ground into a fine powder.
It adds a natural coconut-y flavor to your baked goods, which is great if you like the taste, but not so great if you are not a big fan.
What’s great about this USDA certified organic coconut flour by Arrowhead Mills is that it is made using only Fair-Trade certified coconuts that support quality products and protect the environment.
In addition to that, it is also certified gluten-free, non-GMO verified, and climate pledge friendly.
3. Gold Mine Yellow Corn Masa Harina
Made by finely grinding dried whole corn kernels, corn flour is considered a whole grain flour since it contains the hull, germ, and endosperm of the corn.
Depending on the variety of corn used, corn flour may either be yellow, white, or blue and has a smooth texture perfect for baking and cooking cornmeal porridge.
The Gold Mine Yellow Corn Masa Harina is made using organic and all-natural corn that is dried, soaked in lime, cooked in wood ash, and then stone-ground into a fine powder.
In addition to being vegan-friendly, it is also gluten-free, kosher, and macrobiotic.
4. Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Flour
All-purpose flour, also known as white flour, has somewhat of a tainted reputation in the vegan community due to the suspicion that it is bleached with bone char.
However, since there is no evidence supporting this claim, it is safe to say that all-purpose flour is 100% vegan.
Made solely from the endosperm, all-purpose flour is one of the most versatile varieties of flour used to make bread, cakes, biscuits, cookies, pizza, and the works.
Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose baking flour is a unique flour blend that is a combination of stone-ground gluten-free grain and bean flours such as garbanzo flour, tapioca flour, and whole grain sorghum flour.
It does not include xanthan gum and guar gum, and is not only vegan but also perfect for those with gluten sensitivity. It is ideal for making gluten-free and vegan baked goods leavened with yeast.
5. Authentic Foods Superfine Brown Rice Flour
White rice flour is made from ground white rice, which is a refined grain with its outer layer of bran removed before grinding.
Brown rice flour, on the other hand, is made by grinding whole rice grain so that none of its components is removed and a lot of the nutritional properties are preserved.
While both flours are suitable for vegans, brown rice flour is clearly the healthier choice among the two.
The Authentic Foods Superfine brown rice flour is a vegan and gluten-free flour made using the highest quality and best-sized California medium-grain rice.
It does not have the usual grittiness often associated with rice flours and is more nutritious containing more protein, vitamins, and fiber compared to many other flour varieties.
It is not only vegan and gluten-free but also dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, and certified kosher.
6. Food To Live Organic Oat Flour
A nutritional whole grain flour, oat flour is the product of grinding whole oats and is also one of the easiest ones that you can prepare at home using a food processor.
It contains 70% carbs and proteins and is excellent for gluten-free baking due to its rich flavor and loads of vitamins and nutrients.
Food to Live’s organic oat flour is made by stone grinding high-quality ripe oatmeal to a fine consistency to retain all of its benefits including high levels of protein, copper, manganese, and selenium.
It is a perfect ingredient for baking bread, cookies, cakes, pancakes, waffles, and so much more, and can be mixed with other flours to create crumblier and crispier baked goods.
7. Viva Naturals Organic Coconut Flour
Viva Naturals’ organic coconut flour is unbleached and unrefined and adds a nice coconut-y taste and texture to your baked goods.
Perfect for vegan and gluten-free baking, it is naturally high in fiber and low in both fat and sodium content.
Also known as harina de coco, this coconut flour is non-GMO, 100% organic, and certified vegan, gluten-free, and kosher.
8. Anthony’s Cassava Flour
Cassava flour comes from cassava, which is a long starchy root with brown, fibrous skin and a white fleshy interior.
Anthony’s cassava flour is made from cassava root harvested in Brazil, which is then washed, peeled, inspected, and ground into a fine flour.
Each batch is analyzed carefully to ensure it is free of any contaminants, after which it is packed in California to be sold further.
This flour works great as a soup and gravy thickener and is also a perfect substitute for wheat flour in gluten-free recipes such as bread, cakes, cookies, and dough.
In addition to being vegan and gluten-free, it is also grain-free, nut-free, paleo-friendly, and low in calories, fats, and sugar.
9. Antimo Caputo Semola Semolina Flour
Made by milling durum wheat, which is the second most cultivated wheat in the world, semolina flour is perfect for making pasta, specialty bread, and dusting.
The Antimo Caputo Semola semolina flour is a product of Italy and is finer than other varieties of semolina flour you will find in the US.
It is a 100% all-natural flour with zero additives and has a signature yellow buttery tint that is synonymous with high-quality semolina flour.
It is comprised of high-quality proteins and gluten and, although it is suitable for vegans, it is not gluten-free.
10. Palouse Brand Chickpea Flour
Also called garbanzo bean flour, gram flour, and besan, chickpea flour comes from chickpeas; the favorite vegan pulse that makes hummus!
Low in calories and carbs, it has a superior nutrient profile with more vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein, as compared to white flour.
The Palouse Brand chickpea flour is made from 100% garbanzo beans on a family farm in Washington state where they are milled in small batches.
It is a single-ingredient, unbleached, 100% non-irradiated flour that contains zero additives or preservatives. It has a slightly nutty flavor that works great for bread, cookies, and gluten-free vegan baking.
11. Let’s Do Organic Green Banana Flour
The Let’s Do Organic green banana flour is made by drying organic green bananas before most of their starch content has a chance to turn into sugar.
Then they’re milled into a fine flour that is suitable for several dietary lifestyles.
This versatile flour imparts a smooth texture and a subtle, delicious flavor when substituted for wheat flour for baked goods such as cakes and cupcakes.
It can also be used to thicken and enhance sauces and gravies, and added to your favorite shakes and smoothies for extra nutrients.
Prepared using sustainable farming methods and avoiding GMOs and pesticides, this flour is ethically sourced and is suitable not only for vegans but also for those on a gluten-free, paleo, keto, kosher and low-sodium diet.
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