Flour is the most important ingredient in the baking industry.
Bakers use it to bake bread, muffins, pancakes, cookies, coat food like fried chicken, thick sauce, and more. What is baking without flour?
There are various types of flour, like all-purpose flour, wheat flour, bread flour, oat flour, almond flour, pastry flour, and cassava flour. This is the subject of our discussion: To see if cassava flour can be a substitute for wheat flour in the baking industry.
Can Cassava Flour Be Used As A Substitute For Wheat Flour?
The answer is yes. You can use cassava flour as a substitute for wheat flour in the baking industry. However, there are some important factors to consider when substituting. This is due to cassava flour’s unique properties.
Cassava flour tends to be denser than wheat flour, absorbing more water. For this reason, we suggest using half a cup of flour for every cup of wheat flour, especially if it’s your first time using cassava flour.
Cassava flour is derived from the cassava root, a starchy tuber widely cultivated in tropical regions. It has gained popularity as a gluten-free alternative to wheat flour and is suitable for individuals with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.
Cassava flour contains resistant starch, which is comparable to soluble fibre. This resistant starch feeds on the good bacteria in the stomach, which may reduce inflammation and aid digestion. Unlike wheat flour, which contains 352 calories per 100 grams, cassava flour has fewer calories, making it apt for baking.
Also, it could be toxic if not adequately processed; cassava root contains cyanide, which can cause health complications. Wheat flour, on the other hand, with its high gluten properties, can lead to celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis.
Research shows cassava flour can be a healthier choice for baking if used properly. However, both cassava flour and wheat flour are essential ingredients for baking.
Key Differences Between Cassava Flour and Wheat Flour
There are a few key differences between cassava flour and wheat flour that can impact the baking process and results. These differences are highlighted below:
- Gluten-Free Nature: Cassava flour is naturally gluten-free, while wheat flour contains gluten, a protein that provides structure and elasticity to baked goods. This means that when using cassava flour, you won’t get the same stretchiness and rise that gluten-containing wheat flour provides. As a result, you might need to use additional binding and leavening agents to achieve similar results.
- Absorption and texture: Cassava flour absorbs more liquid than wheat flour. When substituting cassava flour for wheat flour in a recipe, you might need to adjust the liquid content to achieve the desired texture. Baked goods made with cassava flour can be denser and have a slightly different texture than those made with wheat flour.
- Starchy Flavour: Cassava flour can have a mildly starchy flavour that might impact the taste of baked goods. This flavour can work well in some recipes, such as waffles, cookies, pizza, pancakes, etc. However, there might be a need for adjustments in other recipes to balance the taste.
- Baking Time and Temperature: Baking with cassava flour might require baking time and temperature adjustments as its properties differ from wheat flour. Furthermore, you should closely monitor your baked goods to avoid overbaking or underbaking.
In addition, some recipes might benefit from combining cassava flour and other gluten-free flour, such as almond or coconut flour. This can help balance the texture and flavour of the final product.
When substituting cassava flour for wheat flour, you should start with recipes specifically developed for cassava flour or gluten-free baking. This can increase your chances of achieving successful results.
Ultimately, the success of using cassava flour as a substitute for wheat flour in baking depends on the specific recipe, the desired outcome, and your willingness to experiment and adapt. If you’re new to working with cassava flour, starting with smaller batches is a good idea. It would help if you also make adjustments as needed.
Researched By: Aduloju Oluwatoyosi Afolabi