Protein Packed And Gluten Free: Using Soy Flour In Baking and Cooking
When you’re searching around in your cupboards, do you ever come across the odd packet stuffed away in the back, scratch your head and wonder whatever possessed you to buy it in the first place? Maybe you’ve had reason to do that with a packet of soy flour. What exactly is the stuff useful for anyway? Maybe it would be good to know, considering the sheer number of products that soy seems to crop up in.
Well, of course, if you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, there’s the whole gluten-free aspect that comes up. Nope, soya flour (depending on processing techniques and circumstances) doesn’t (or shouldn’t) contain a speck of gluten, which is information that may come in handy dependent on your circumstances. So if you’re trying to improvise some gluten-free bread or cookies, and you happen to have a packet of soya flour in the house, then that’s something that’s potentially useful to know.
Of course the absence of gluten content in soy flour can actually be a problem if you’re planning to make non-gluten free bread and you’re a bit over-enthusiastic as you shake the packet in. Gluten is the sticky grain protein that makes wheat bread (and to a lesser extent rye bread) rise so beautifully. So unless you’re following a carefully planned and tested gluten-free (or other) recipe, over-enthusiastic use of gluten free flours such as soy flour may well result in a sad and unleavened loaf of bread!
But what about the nutritional qualities of soy flour? What can it do in health terms for the macronutrient and micronutrient content of your cooking and baking? Of course soya products have long been famed for their protein content: full-fat and roasted soya flour itself has thirty grams of protein per eighty-five gram serving, compared to whole wheat flour’s sixteen grams per one hundred and twenty gram serving.2 Now that’s impressive! If you’re looking to add protein power to your bread and cookies, then that’s a pretty useful tool! Regarding vitamins and minerals etc., soya flour is also notable for its Vitamin K and mineral content as well as some B vitamins. Something to think about!1
What about the taste of soy flour? Is is beneficial or harmful to the overall flavour and pleasure baked goods or home-cooking can provide? To be honest, soy flour is rather bitter if anything, and rather more prized for its nutritional bang for the buck and oftentimes its insane cheapness, rather than for any yummy quality it possesses. Still, if it gets the job done, leaves your wallet barely lightened and is so useful and versatile, how much does that really matter?
1. NutritionData. 'Soy Flour, Full-fat, Roasted.' NutritionData website. 2011. Available at <http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/legumes-and-legume-products/4383/2> Accessed 08/02/2011.
2. NutritionData. 'Wheat Flour, Whole Grain.' NutritionData website. 2011. Available at <http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/cereal-grains-and-pasta/5744/2> Accessed 08/02/2011.