How to: make your own almond flour

If you ever contemplate baking with almond flour, one of the first things you’ll probably notice is that it’s expensive. Really expensive. A single pound of Bob’s Red Mill is currently going for over $14 on Amazon.  
Bobs_almond
 

There are some cheaper bulk options, but who really wants to commit to buying 25 lbs of something that they’ve never used before and might not use that often in the future? Yeah, me either. It’s like getting married on the first date–too much commitment with too little information.
 
So if you’re a newbie almond flour baker and you aren’t really sure about going through even one pound of almond flour, let alone 25, what do you do? In my case, you make your own.
 
How? I start off with 2 cups of almonds (makes ~1 3/4 c flour). Place the almonds in a saucepan and cover them with 1-2 inches of water. Bring the water to a boil and boil the almonds for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and drain the water out. At this point, the almond skins will be very loose and wrinkly, not unlike the way your fingers look after too long in the bathtub.
 
Give the almonds a few minutes to cool, then proceed to remove the skins. At this point, you might start to think $14/lb isn’t so much after all, but before you know it, you’ll have a nicely skinned bowl of almonds, and a bunch of skins ready to chuck into the compost:
 
IMG_3112
 
At this point, if you want to do things properly, you can stick the almonds in the oven at 400F for about 5 minutes, to dry them out and give them a very light toasting. If you aren’t planning on using the flour immediately, this step is necessary, because damp almond flour will just get moldy. However, I will confess that I am sometimes lazy and just proceed with damp almonds.
 
Once you’ve made a decision on almond dampness and dried or not dried accordingly, it’s time to grind those nuts into flour. Break out the amazing food processor and put it to work:
 
IMG_3113
 
I usually grind for about 5 minutes total, pausing a few times to scrape down the sides. So far, I have managed to avoid accidentally making white almond butter, but if I do get that far, I’ll be sure to post an update with the cutoff time.

And that’s it!

A few notes about this homemade option. Although I have not yet invested in commercial almond flour, I believe the almond flour I’ve made at home is on the coarser end of the spectrum. So it won’t work for all recipes. For example, I’ve tried using it to make crackers using this recipe from Elana’s Pantry that calls explicitly for Honeyville almond flour, and, as the recipe warned me might be the case, it didn’t work so well (crackers tasted great, but they fell apart). I have had great success using the flour for less delicate items though, like my almond biscuits with sun-dried tomato and basil.

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