I stumbled upon grape seed flour in a small farm shop in Austria and was intrigued by this little known ingredient. Of course, I had to have it to use it in bread baking 🙂 Here are my notes on baking bread with grape seed flour. Grape seed flour can be made from any variety of grape, each with its own characteristic taste. When added to bread dough, the resulting loaf benefits from the grape flour’s richness of colour and flavour. I’ve noted down my grape seed flour bread recipe for those of you interested in giving this a go!
Grape seed flour (which is actually more like a fine powder) is produced from pomace i.e. the skins, seeds and pulp generated during wine-making. Typically, only 80% of the total harvested grape crop is used to make wine, so it’s a nice way of using the ‘waste’ of the wine-making process. The seeds are pressed to extract the oils, and then, along with the grape skins, dried and milled into flour. Grape seeds have long been used to produce grape seed oil, and grape seed flour is just another alternative.
How to use grape seed flour
Grape seed flour can be added to baked goods. The recommended ‘dosage’ is 5-7% based on the bread’s flour content.
Grape seed flour pancakes are another great option. Just use your standard pancake recipe and add a tablespoon of grape seed flour into the batter mixture.
It can also be added to yoghurt or smoothies and used to thicken and flavour soups or salad dressings.
It adds rich colour and flavour with a slightly astringent yet fruity taste. White wine grapes will lend a tan colour to baked goods, while red wine grapes will add a darker, purple-brown colour to them.
Grape seed flour provides a boost of antioxidants and is high in fibre.
Finally, it’s a gluten free ingredient.
Grape Seed Flour Bread Recipe
Have fun baking with grape seed bread and pairing it with wine. I used this grape seed flour from the Urkornhof in Austria, but you can buy it online too. The cold-pressed grape seed flour I used combines seeds from both white and red grape varieties into one flour.
Cutting down on sugar has become a big talking point of late. The health conscious look to decrease their sugar intake, whether it’s due to a dietary restriction or just a general health choice.
Someone close to me was diagnosed to be at risk of diabetes after a recent health check-up, so cutting down on sugar has been at the front of my mind when preparing food for family and friends.
Sugar is found naturally in fruit, vegetables and dairy foods. However, the health debate is really about ‘added sugars’ e.g. sugar added to drinks and used in baking and ‘hidden sugars’ found in sauces, cereals and fruit juices. Both are seen as an unnecessary source of calories and a major cause of obesity (the more sugar you eat or drink, the more the body stores it as fat). The general advice from Diabetes UK is that we should all be cutting our sugar intake by half to around 25g (6 tsp) a day.
Here’s how much sugar you’ll find in 100g of the following foods:
Raisins = 59g
Snickers bar = 47g
Grapes = 16g
Mango = 14g
Banana = 12g
Blueberries = 10g
Apple = 10g
Plums = 10g
Beetroot = 7g
Milk = 5g
Cranberries = 4g
Rye flour = 1.1g
Wheat flour = 0.3g
Butter = 0.1g
What does it mean to go Sugar Free?
Sugar-free baking can mean different things to different people:
The Superficial Sugar Cutter Baking without processed table sugar by using alternatives such as honey. It’s important to note that honey, agave nectar and maple syrup are marketed as healthier alternatives to sugar but they’re really just other forms of sugar. Unfortunately, the Great British Bake Off was misleading on this topic in this year’s free-from episode.
The Low GI (Glycemic Index) Seeker Baking without sugar by using substitutes to sugar which don’t increase blood sugar levels e.g. xylitol (made from the bark of birch trees, looks and tastes like sugar). Low GI foods are broken down and absorbed more slowly into the blood stream and thereby result in a slower and more steady rise in blood sugar and insulin levels than high GI foods.
The Low-Calorie Dieter Baking without sugar by using substitutes which are low in calories e.g. erythritol.
The No-Sugar Purist Baking without any added sugar or sugar substitutes
If you are interested in calories, you might find this guide to sugar alternatives from the BBC helpful. It also features a brief outline of the six forms of sugar.
And here’s how sugar substitutes stack up as outlined by the National Geographic and analysing four categories: natural sweeteners, artificial sweeteners, dietary supplements, and sugar alcohols. It also showcases how well these sugar alternatives may do in your baking.
Sugar Free Baking Tips
Use wholemeal flour instead of refined white flour to ensure you get the nutritional benefit of fibre, vitamins and minerals which are found in the whole grain.
Try baking with coconut sugar, made by heating sap from the coconut palm to evaporate its water content and reducing it to usable granules. Coconut sugar has a low score on the glycemic index and you can easily substitute coconut sugar for traditional sugar.
Bake with xylitol, which is generally understood to be a healthier alternative to sugar and also helps prevent the growth of bacteria. Here is some analysis from BBC Good Food: Xylitol Explained.
Use fruit to sweeten your baking. Fruit contains sugar, but the whole fruit includes the fibre of the flesh as well which adds nutritional value. Try to bake fruit breads (see recipes below) instead of cakes or muffins. Cranberries are low in sugar and delicious in your baking.
Sugar Free Baking Recipes
In general, baking your own is the preferred option for those of us looking to cut down on sugar. You can easily control the ingredients which go into your bakes. This is especially true for breads which, if bought in the supermarket, often contain unnecessary added sugar.
Here are some of my favourite low sugar baking recipes, using fruit: