Both rice flour and almond flour are great options for gluten-free baking. However, the baker needs to consider their different characteristics before turning on the oven.
Rice flour comes from a grain and almond flour comes from a nut and they are not necessarily interchangeable so they must be treated differently when baking.
Almond Based Non Gluten Flour Mixes:
With more people struggling with health issues like celiac disease and wheat intolerance, baked goods made with almond flour provides a good option.
Almond flour is made from blanched almonds without skins as opposed to almond meal which is made from raw almonds with skins.
Almond flour is incredibly nutritious. Rich in vitamin E and magnesium, almond flour is low in carbs yet high in healthy fats, fiber and magnesium. That nutritional mix helps control blood sugars and improves insulin function. The drawback is almond flour is higher in calories.
Almond flour is easy to bake with and has a nutty taste that pairs well with most baked goods and pastries. But unlike baking with flour, the downside of almond flour baked goods is that the end product tends to be more flat and dense. Breads and cakes often have a cake-like flavour and are flatter than those that are flour based.
Because almond flour is a nut flour it’s oily and not very absorbent. So the dough tends to be wet. It’s not an elastic dough, so it is not conducive to rolling. It’s works well in both egg and egg-free baking.
Rice Based Non Gluten Flour Mixes:
White and brown rice flours contain higher amounts of most essential nutrients per serving than almond flour like B vitamins, magnesium and iron.
Rice flour is carbohydrate-rich; almond flour is a low carb flour. The difference is important for diabetics and those who might be trying to cut their carb intake.
Rice flour has a higher calorie load than almond flour. Each serving contains more than twice the amount of calories than the same serving of almond flour.
The flavour of rice flour is very different from almond flour. White rice flour has a neutral taste with a slight nuttiness. Brown rice flour tends to be more flavourful with a stronger nutty flavour because of its germ and bran layer.
Because rice flour is starchy, it absorbs liquid. The starchiness also gives rice flour an elasticity that you won’t get from almond flour.
Rice flour works best for recipes that have a lighter and softer texture. Almond flour is better for baked goods with a dense texture like scones, pie crusts and cookies.