Normally with this blog I stick to recipes & small amounts of rambling about life, but today I thought I’d try a little something different. I was recently placing an order from Barry Farm, which is where I make a lot of my bulk purchases of sweeteners, flours, grains, and certain baking supplies (they have a pretty great selection of gluten-free items processed in dedicated facilities, too, if that pertains to you). Anyway, the price bottleneck tends to fall with shipping costs, so sometimes I pick a few ‘surprise’ items to add to my cart and make the shipping more worthwhile. I didn’t know what I was getting into when I selected a $3 bag of white bean flour, but I love white beans so I thought I’d give it a try!
The flour arrived and I was pretty excited to find that it was quite soft and delicate, strongly resembling all-purpose wheat flour. But, I realized I had no idea how to use it. Some internet research suggested utilizing it to thicken soup/gravy, but I really wanted to make something I could bring camping with me last weekend. So, I did some experimentation of my own to find more uses for this stuff. I decided to share them here, and at the bottom I’ve included the best white bean flour recipe that I came up with so far: a pizza dough that works well for any pizza or flatbread. Better yet, aside from the white bean flour, it uses normal, common ingredients that you likely already have!
What to do with white bean flour
- Use it in yeasted dough. Using white bean flour in yeasted dough will make the finished product more buttery. Using too much, however, will destroy the structure of the dough provided by the gluten. For doughs with flat structures (like pizza crust), substitute up to 40% of the flour with white bean flour; for best results, start with more like 25%. For dough that is intended to become something with more structure, like a loaf of bread, substitute up to 25% of the flour with white bean flour; for best results, start with more like 10%, especially if the dough is whole grain (less gluten). For kneading the dough, flour the surface with wheat flour and not additional white bean flour.
- Use it in soups and gravies. The internet was right: white bean flour is a great way to add creaminess, thickness and nutrition to soup or gravy. Make sure it gets cooked thoroughly.
- Use it in veggie burgers. Usually I’m already eating my veggie burger on a bun, so if the patties are too wet, I hesitate to add more grain flour to the patties, as it could throw the meal off-balance nutritionally. White bean flour is a great way around this because it won’t change the flavor of your veggie burgers. Again, be sure the patties are cooked thoroughly.
- Use it in breading. If you’re baking or frying something with a batter, try substituting white bean flour for up to 50% of the flour in the batter. Its light color won’t disrupt the look of the finished product, nor will its mild taste.
- Use it as part of an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend. Many gluten-free AP flour blends call for chickpea flour; with some tweaking of the ratios and recipe, you could use white bean flour instead.
- Experiment! See where else you can incorporate white bean flour into your cooked meals, and reap its abundant nutritional benefits! Oh, and if you discover any other great uses for it, let me know 🙂
What not to do with white bean flour
- Raw applications. White beans, or any beans for that matter, should not be eaten raw. Cooking the beans breaks down the lectin in them, which left intact, can cause gastrointestinal distress and in some cases, immune reactions. Also, raw bean flour tastes terrible! So make sure your white bean flour gets thoroughly cooked, no matter how you’re using it.
- Substitution for chickpea flour. While I still intend to complete further experimentation on whether chickpea omelettes can be made with white beans, or whether Burmese chickpea tofu can have a usable white bean version, I tried to make both of these things with a simple swap and it did NOT work for me. White beans require a different cook time and liquid amount than chickpeas, so you can’t just swap chickpea flour 1:1 for white bean flour without making other changes, particularly in recipes that don’t combine chickpea flour with other flours, like the ones I mentioned. Biologically speaking, both chickpeas and white beans come from the Fabaceae family, but from a different genus – so they don’t have the exact same properties. It’s an open book!
Where to buy white bean flour
- Barry Farm’s flour collection – mostly relevant for USA. Out-of-USA shipping is available, but you pay the full cost
- Bob’s Red Mill Bean Flour on Amazon – but you have to buy a 4-pack to take advantage of Prime shipping
- Check for it at your favorite gluten-free flour purveyor, or well-stocked natural foods store.
- Grind it yourself from dried white beans, if you have the needed equipment!
How to store white bean flour
Similarly to other bean flours, you will want to store white bean flour in an airtight container, preferably in the freezer, where it will likely last months. However, so long as it’s tightly closed off to air, it will keep for a few weeks in the pantry as well.
Arugula, Hummus and Olive Tapenade Flatbread
For the white bean pizza dough:
- 1 c . plain , unsweetened almond milk, warm
- 1 scant tb. active dry yeast (or 1 packet)
- 1 tb . maple syrup
- 1 c . white bean flour
- 2 tb . ground flax (flax meal)
- 1 and 1/2 c. whole wheat flour , plus extra for dusting
- 1/2 tsp . salt
For the kalamata olive-sundried tomato tapenade (makes extra):
- 1/4 c . sundried tomatoes (drained or reconstituted if necessary)
- 1/2 c . whole pitted kalamata olives
- 2 tb . pine nuts (raw or toasted)
- small handful fresh basil or parsley leaves
- 1/4 tsp . dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp . red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp . nutritional yeast
For the flatbread:
- 1/2 recipe of white bean pizza dough (see previous recipe)
- 1/2 to 3/4 c. hummus of choice (I used everything bagel hummus)
- 1/4 c . kalamata olive-sundried tomato tapenade (see above)
- 1/4 c . baby arugula
For the white bean pizza dough:
Proof the yeast:
- Stir together the almond milk, yeast, and maple syrup in a small bowl, and set aside for about 10 minutes or until foamy.
Mix the dough:
- Add the white bean flour, flax meal, whole wheat flour, and salt to a mixing bowl and stir together. Pour in the yeast mixture and mix just until a dough is formed.
- Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 10-15 minutes (this is because the whole wheat and white bean flours are so absorbent - if you try to knead the dough right away you will end up adding too much extra flour).
- Uncover the dough and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead for 5-10 minutes, until dough is smooth. It won't feel be elastic as regular pizza dough, but it should have some slight tug to it.
- Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a damp towel, and set in a warm place for 90 minutes, or until increased in size by at least 50% or so.
- Punch down the dough and remove it from the bowl. Spray the inside of two quart-size freezer bags lightly with oil. Divide the dough in half and place in the two bags. Seal tightly, and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use (up to 72 hours).
For the tapenade:
- Combine the olives, tomatoes, pine nuts, and fresh basil or parsley in a blender or food processor until finely chopped. Stir in the oregano and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
For the flatbread:
- Set the pizza dough at room temperature for 30 minutes prior to working with it, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Gently roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, into a circle of approximately 9 inches in diameter, and transfer onto a lined baking sheet or a cast iron skillet.
- Spread the hummus onto the dough, and sprinkle tapenade on top of the hummus.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the dough is crisp with the edges starting to brown.
- Top with arugula and enjoy!
Shared on Yeastspotting.
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