Updated May 20, 2016
There have been a number of questions about just grinding dried beans into flour. Not only do beans actually have a better nutritional profile AFTER they are cooked, but they are also safer to eat.
Making bean flour from raw beans can make you very ill because of phytohemagglutinin (PHA) which is a lectin, obtained from the bean. Animals can actually smell this and so do not ingest raw beans. But humans do not have that keen sense of smell. It can cause poisoning in humans through the consumption of raw or improperly prepared beans. Your body reacts to this poison by emptying the entire digestive tract as quickly as possible. And you know what that means, right?
According to the CDC, of the 48 million Americans that will become sick from a foodborne illness this year, 128,000 will end up in the hospital and 3,000 will die. Food poisoning can be a serious health risk, especially for those that have a compromised immune system, the very young and the elderly.
And while it can be difficult to protect yourself from pathogens such as E.coli and Staphylococcus, both nasty bugs that may be lurking in your meals, food poisoning contracted from raw or undercooked beans is completely preventable. Thoroughly cooking beans will eliminate any risk. And that, my friends, is why I cook the beans and dehydrate them before making bean flour.
Bean flours have become very popular with the gluten-free community in recent years. These can be added to veggie patties and burgers, used to make hummus, dips, pie and pizza crust, or in cookies and other sweet treats. Making your own bean flours will save you TONS of money compared to buying the organic flours in the stores. Another plus of making your own bean flours at home is that homemade flour tastes better. It has a fresher flavor than most store-bought flours.
Since beans can have a very strong flavor that is not always palatable or that overpowers other food flavors, soaking and cooking the beans first can lessen that “raw” taste. Soak your beans because it makes them easier to digest. To mellow out the flavor, you cook as usual, puree, then dehydrate the cooked beans and grind your flour from there.
For increased nutritional value, you can sprout and then dry the beans before grinding them into flour. Once sprouted, the beans will need to be dried in a food dehydrator with the temperature no higher than 115°F/47°C to still classify as raw food.
- It mellows out the raw taste,
- It greatly reduces stachyose, which is what causes the intestinal discomfort that stops many from eating bean products,
- I like making raw food dishes with these flours (like hummus). From my research, I have concluded that this is a much safer way to do so for these dishes that are not cooked.
(Making it Mellow Tasting, Digestible, & Gluten-Free)
Wash, clean out foreign debris, and soak beans in three times their volume of cold water for 6 hours in the refrigerator. (Black-eyed peas, lentils, and split peas do not need soaking.)
Rinse in cool water, drain, rinse and place in a heavy metal pot with three times as much fresh water as you have beans. Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda per cup of beans.
Simmer 60-90 minutes (depending on the bean size). Beans are done when they can be easily mashed between two fingers or with a fork. Always test a few beans in case they have not cooked evenly.
Drain the hot beans and immediately add them to a food processor bowl in batches to puree. Thorough cooking should allow the processing to be kept to a minimum. Over-processing is not recommended for pureed beans.
Spread on dehydrator trays in a thin layer.
Dehydrate at 125 F/50 C for 6 to 12 hours or until crisp dry. Allow to cool.
Grind dried puree to a fine powder using a coffee/spice grinder, food/grain mill, or high-powered blender.
Store powder in air-tight container(s) away from heat, humidity, and light.
Approximate Conversions for Bean Flours
- 1 cup (180 g) dried beans = 1-1/2 cups (180 g) bean flour
- 1 pound dried beans = 2 cups dried beans
- 6 cups cooked beans, dehydrated = 3 cups bean flour
How to Use Bean Flours
The best beans for making into bean flour are the white beans such as navy, small white, or great northern due to their mild flavor and color, but any bean can be made into flour. Black beans and kidney beans have a much heartier flavor and will go well with baked goods containing chocolate, such as brownies. They can also be used to add color and depth to breads while pumping up the nutritional value. Beans, when paired with grain, especially corn, make a complete protein that is only available to your body when consumed together.
Baking: Use up to 25% bean flour in your gluten free flour mix to add protein, fiber, and iron.
Thickener: Use bean flour to thicken or cream soups and stews, a great way to reduce the fat content of creamy soups. Replace some of the heavy cream in soups or make white sauce with a mild-flavored flour on a 1:1 ratio.
Dip or Filling: Reconstitute the bean flours to make creamy dips and fillings for other recipes. You can make refried beans, bean dips, and hummus all with your bean flour.
How you can use some of the various bean flours:
- Black Bean Flour: Use as part of your baking mix for chocolate cakes and brownies; try adding a small amount to bread recipes to get that dark whole-wheat look. Try our Instant Black Bean Dip Dry Mix or Black Bean Tortilla Dry Mix.
- Fava Flour: Commonly used in gluten free flour mixes along with other bean and grain flours.
- Garbanzo Flour: Frequently used in Indian and Southern European cuisines and does not have to be combined with other flours. Try our Instant Hummus with Flavor Variations.
- Garfava Flour: A mixture of garbanzo and fava flour, garfava flour frequently appears in gluten free baking mixes. Substitute it for the soy flour or any light bean flour.
- Green Pea Flour: Add reconstituted green pea flour to guacamole to lower the fat content and add extra nutrients; use as part of your baking mix for chocolate cakes and brownies; use to thicken soups and stews.
- Pinto Bean Flour: Makes delicious meals as well as baked goods. Try our Instant Refried Beans Mix or Corn Bread with Pinto Bean Flour.
- Soy Flour: Works well in baking mainly because it is so inexpensive.
- White Bean Flour: The mild-flavor of white beans makes this flour ideal for sauces and gravies. It can also be used to thicken soups. Add herbs and spices to reconstituted white bean flour for a flavorful white bean puree. Try our hummus with white beans instead of chick peas for a different taste!
More Bean Flour Dry Mix Recipes
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