Flour Power

Photo 40809686 / Yucca Root © Anphotos | Dreamstime.com

One of my favorite gluten-free flours is tapioca flour.  This versatile flour is extracted from the root of the cassava plant.  Widely used in South America, Africa, and parts of Asia, the cassava (or manioc) root is known to grow in difficult and arid conditions. Around the world, tapioca is used in a variety of food preparations such as simple breads, fried chips, dessert puddings, and as the increasingly popular 'bubble' in bubble tea.  

I’m a fan of the fine flour (also known as tapioca starch in the U.S.) because of its ability to combine with almond flour as a binder in Chewma Protein Bites.  When baked, the tapioca flour imparts a neutral flavor and helps the baked product have a crispy, cracker-like snap.  At 110 calories per ¼ cup, tapioca flour rivals traditional multi-purpose flour in calorie count.  While it can produce dense baked goods like the Brazilian pão de queijo (cheese bread), it has a lighter, less gritty texture than more widely used rice flour in gluten-free baking.  

When I’m not making Chewma Bites, I’ll also use a little tapioca flour combined with water as a thickener for sauces. You may even see it being used to starch dress shirts at your local dry cleaner. But then who’s really wearing dress shirts anymore!  #snacksmarter