Almond flour is definitely one of the paleo/gluten free ingredients that I use in my kitchen, but hate buying in the store because of it's insane price! Have you seen it at Sprouts or Whole Foods lately? Guess how much it costs? $10.99 a pound (and that's cheap - sometimes it ranges from $10.99-14.99)!
I don't know about you... but unless that almond flour is laced in something special (spoiler alert - it's not)... that's WAY expensive!
Ever since I developed my own Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour Mix, I haven't even been even using AS MUCH almond flour, and when I do, I mix it with other flours (see my incredibly delicious Banana Bread recipe) - but even then, I was still finding myself running out of almond flour constantly! This was a little detrimental to our food budget.
That's when I decided to start making my own almond flour at a FRACTION of the cost, AND I found out that it's actually healthier since I can control the process and soak the almonds (as far as I'm aware, is not done to the store-bought almond flour), which neutralizes the enzyme inhibitors and phytic acids, makes them easier to digest, AND increases the vitamin/mineral absorption!
Ok. Let's get down to the nitty gritty. Here's how the breakdown on how it's cheaper and where to buy almonds and then I'll tell you how to make it. Also, just a disclaimer - I am laughing out loud here at my computer too whenever I mention "soaking, drying, and then grinding nuts". So don't worry. It's not just you haha. If you're not laughing, then lets pretend it's not just me ok?
So far, the best place I've found to get almonds is Trader Joe's. I buy the 8oz. packages of raw, blanched, slivered almonds for $3.99. I choose the slivered almonds so that it grinds up into a very fine almond flour (grinding almonds with the skin would make almond meal). By the way, Trader Joe's DOES sell almond meal, but that is NOT the same as almond flour and cannot be used interchangeably in recipes).
This means that if you buy two of those bags, it's $7.98 per pound. This is MUCH cheaper than anything sold on Amazon or any other store for slivered almonds.
Now there may be another way to make it even cheaper, but it would require an additional step. You can buy regular almonds (with the skin) from Costco or sometimes Sprouts or Whole Foods when they have sales in their bulk bin departments. Because the skin is on the almonds though, you need to blanch the almonds first before soaking, drying, and then grinding the nuts. This is an added step, but not insanely difficult (just requires an extra 10 or so minutes of your time). I will include the directions below in case you want to do that.
Here's the breakdown in term of prices:
Buying Almond Flours Already Ground:
Sprouts Bob's Red Mill Blanched Almond Flour (1lb. bag) - $0.69/oz.
Amazon Honeyville Blanched Almond Meal Flour (5lb. bag) - $0.62/oz. (with Amazon Prime Free Shipping)
Costco Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour (2 - 3lb. bags) - $0.55/oz. (obviously requires a Costco Membership)
Buying Whole Almonds (That Need Blanching):
Amazon Spicy World Natural and Raw Almonds (4lb. bag) - $0.54/oz. (with Amazon Prime Free Shipping)
Costco Kirkland Signature Whole Almonds (3lb bag) - $0.40/oz. ( obviously requires a Costco Membership)
Trader Joe's Raw Whole Almonds (1lb. bag) - $0.37/oz.
Buying Slivered or Already Blanched Almonds:
Trader Joe's Raw Slivered Almonds (8oz. bag) - $0.49/oz.
Personally, I prefer the Trader Joe's already blanched, slivered almonds. They are cheap and save me time since I grind a couple pounds of almonds in a session and don't want to sit there and pinch the skin off of all of those almonds by myself. Once I have kids though... I think it would actually be an entertaining activity (you can really get those almonds flying while pinching them haha).
Once you've bought your almonds, time to start the process!
How to Make Almond Flour
Step 1 - Blanch the Almonds (if your almonds are already blanched, skip to Step 2)
1. Bring a pot of water (big enough to fit your almonds) to boil.
2. Put the almonds in the bowling water and let them boil for 60 seconds (don't boil them any longer or they will become soggy).
3. Drain the almonds in a strainer and rinse them with cold water.
4. Using your fingers, pinch one end of the almond and should shoot out! I would recommend squeezing the almonds into your hand or a bowl so that they don't fly all over the place.
Step 2 - Soak the Almonds (important to allow better digestion and access to nutrients)
1. Place the raw nuts in a large bowl.
2. Fill up the bowl with filtered water until it covers them (the almonds will absorb some water, so make sure to add extra water for good measure).
3. Add 1 tablespoon of sea salt for every 4 cups of almonds and stir.
4. Cover with a cloth and let it sit for 8-12 hours (I let them sit overnight).
5. Drain the soaked nuts and discard the water.
Step 3 - Dry the Almonds
If you have a dehydrator, well then you are a lucky duck! Unfortunately I don't, so I have to use my oven.
Using a dehydrator: Spread out the almonds on a tray and dehydrate at 105-150F for 12-24 hours or until thoroughly dry.
Using an oven: Place your oven temperature as low as possible. The highest you should go is 150F (thank goodness my oven goes that low)! Bake for 12-24 hours or until thoroughly dried.
Step 4 - Grind the Almonds
The BEST way that I've found to do this is with the Vitamix (this is the one that I recommend). I can't praise it enough! I tried it in my food processor and it definitely didn't grind it fine enough.
My awesome hubby bought me a Vitamix for Christmas WITH the dry grains container because he knew I wanted to make things like my own almond flour. I'm going to be honest though... the dry grains container is not needed. Save yourself the money. I actually found that the regular Vitamix container made more evenly ground almond flour than the dry container!
1. Put up to 1 cup of almonds at a time in your Vitamix (trying to grind more than 1 cup will slow the process and make it frustrating).
2. Start it on a low setting and then slowly increase the speed.
3. Once the almond flour is all pushed up on the sides of the container, remove it and mix it around (the hard plastic spatula that comes with the Vitamix is the best for this) so that it settles back down and turn it back on again. Repeat until it is ground to a fine flour.
4. Pour the contents in a sealable plastic bag with the date on it and store in the refrigerator or freezer.
Please let me know if you have any questions! Also, if you find any other places that have great deals on almonds/slivered almonds/almond flour, mention it for any other readers! Please note that the prices posted were as of 4/20/15 and so they may change in the future.