I have found, what just might be, the perfect gluten free flour… CASSAVA FLOUR! That may sound like an exaggeration, and maybe it is a bit. HOWEVER, being gluten free for more than 8 years, I have tried many different gluten free flours over the years. I’ve made (and thrown away) my share of gluten free baked goods. Any gluten free baker can tell you the same thing. Sometimes it turns out, and sometimes it doesn’t. It really is a gamble.
That’s why I’m so excited with this flour. Gluten free bakers spend hours trying to blend different gluten free flours together to get that “wheat like” consistency. The results are never that great, no matter how hard you try. Cassava flour is so exciting because it is so close to the real thing in taste and mannerisms in baking. (With the exception of yeast bread, see below)
What is cassava flour?
Cassava is a plant with origins in South America, and most widely known as Yuca. (2) Here are some facts about cassava…
- “Cassava is the third-largest source of food carbohydrates in the tropics, after rice and maize” (2)
- “One of the most valuable sources of nutrition for more than 500 million people living in Africa, Asia and Latin America.” (1)
- “It is one of the most drought-tolerant crops, capable of growing on marginal soils. “(2)
- “Provides a similar amount of carbohydrates as most other grain-based flours.” (1)
- “It is about 60 percent to 65 percent water moisture, 20 percent to 31 percent carbohydrates, and less than 2 percent protein and fat.” (1)
- “In some parts of Africa, it provides up to 30 percent of total daily calories.” (1)
- Can be used in place of wheat flour. (1)
- It is allergy-free – free of nuts, grains, and gluten
Nutrient content of cassava flour…
Cassava flour is not a super food by any means. It is, however, lower in calories than most gluten free flours. Here is the nutrient content of cassava flour (1):
A quarter-cup serving of cassava flour has about:
- 114 calories
- 2 grams of fiber
- less than 1 gram of fat, protein or sugar
- 28 grams of carbohydrates
- about 17 percent of daily vitamin C
Cassava flour and cyanide
You may have heard that Cassava contains cyanide. This isn’t ENTIRELY accurate. Cassava plants contain what’s called a cyanoglycoside.(3) That’s a scientific way of saying it contains a precursor to cyanide. When ingested, it has the potential to become cyanide in the body. (3) This is a defense mechanism developed by the cassava plant that to ward off insects and other predators. Cassava is not the only plant that contains cyanoglycosides:
Food Plants Containing Cyanoglycosides (3)
- Cassava root and leaves (Manihot esculenta)
- Flax seed (Linum usitatissimum)
- Sorghum leaves (Sorghum vulgare)
- Lima beans (Phaseolus lunatus)
- Apple seeds (Malus spp.)
- Almonds (Prunus dulcis)
- Bamboo shoots (Bambusa arundinacea)
- Peach kernels (pits) (Prunus persica)
- Apricot kernels (Prunus armeniace)
- Nectarine kernels (Prunus persica var nucipersica)
- Plum kernels (Prunus spp.)
- Cherry pits (Prunus spp.)
Not to worry, these cyanoglycosides
are easily neutralized with proper preparation.
Most of the cyanide resides in the leaves of the plant, and the skin of the roots. OTTO’s brand Cassava Flour PEELS and FERMENTS the root prior to grinding it into flour. This is enough to neutralize the cyanoglycosides. Cooking the flour also neutralizes the cyanoglycosides. Cassava should never be eaten raw. ***
Cassava flour vs tapioca flour…
You may also know that tapioca flour also comes from the yuca or cassava plant. Are cassava flour and tapioca flour the same thing….NO.
Cassava flour is a whole food – the root of the cassava plant, that has been dehydrated and ground into flour.
Tapioca starch/flour – is more processed – the extracted starch of the cassava root that has been bleached.
Think of it this way….CASSAVA FLOUR is like whole wheat flour. TAPIOCA FLOUR is like white flour.
How to use cassava in recipes…
In most cases, though results won’t be perfect, you can use it 1:1 in place of all-purpose wheat flour. This saves all of the measuring, calculating and blending that goes along with most gluten free baking. If you’re like me, you’ll be happy to do away with 5+ different kinds of gluten free flour setting on your counter!
With that said…one thing to note, you won’t get that same “rise” from cassava flour in recipes that use yeast. Yeast bread made from cassava flour is more dense. If you’re looking for a “light and fluffy” bread, unfortunately you’ll need to combine it with other flours.
ONTO THE RECIPES!!!
I am SO excited about these tortillas! I have made them several times and they are PHENOMENAL! They look, act and taste remarkably like real flour tortillas. I wish I had discovered these years ago! I have been looking for a good gluten free tortilla for 8+ years, and I have FINALLY found one. I have also used this recipe to make sweet potato tortillas. In place of the water, I used 1 mashed sweet potato. (amazing and delicious results that even my family enjoyed!) Instead of rolling, I use a tortilla press, which speeds the process and makes it so much easier. It also produces a rounder, cleaner looking tortilla, which I prefer.
- ¾ c. Otto’s Naturals Cassava flour (I do recommend Otto’s, due to their technique for making the flour. Of course, feel free to use any Cassava flour you choose) – ***
- ¼ tsp. sea salt
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- ⅓ c. warm water
1 cup Cassava Flour
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 ripe banana
2 organic eggs
1-2 tsp real vanilla extract
2 Tbsp organic virgin unrefined coconut oil
1.5 cups coconut or almond milk
1 cup cassava flour
1 tbsp coconut flour
5 tbsp arrowroot flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic (optional)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup warm water (approx 105-110F)
1 packet active dry yeast, OR 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp honey
1 cup almond meal or cashew meal (make in food processor or buy)
1 cup sifted Cassava Flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup olive oil.
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3 generous tbsps honey
1/2 teaspoon Redmond Real salt
1 cup chocolate chips
5 tbsp butter, ghee or coconut oil
1 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup cassava flour
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract