There’s an old seed that’s stirring things up, nutritiously speaking. It’s the seed of the hemp plant, and it’s technically a nut.
Hemp and marijuana are both dioecious plants of the same species, Cannabis sativa. This versatile hemp plant comes with a ten-thousand-year-old history and multiple uses. These include food, textiles, cosmetics, paper, fiber, pet products, and building and construction material.
The seeds of the hemp plant are the main part of the plant used for food.
Hemp seeds are small, about the size of a popcorn kernel, and brown. They have an unmistakable earthy, nutty taste. Some say the seeds taste like a blend of sunflower seed and pine nut. Others liken the flavor to a cross between a walnut and a pine nut and hint of quinoa. The husk, the seed’s outer-covering, is hard. Inside the husk lies a soft inner kernel that’s white or light green.
You can enjoy hemp seeds raw or cooked, whole (or unhulled) or hulled (shelled). Hulled seeds are called hemp hearts. The seeds of the hemp plant, won’t get you high because the plant’s tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content is negligible, about 0.001 percent. THC is marijuana’s main psychoactive cannabinoid. The seeds are used to make oil, milk, protein powder, or flour.
Difference Between Hemp Flour and Hemp Protein Powder
People often lump hemp protein flour and hemp flour together. This is a mistake. Yes, they both start as hemp seeds, but the two are not the same product.
Hemp protein powder comes from whole ground seeds that still have oil. The seeds are ground into a fine powder that is an excellent low-calorie source of easily digestible plant-based protein. Hemp protein powder is also rich in fiber, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
In contrast, the seeds used to make hemp flour contain no oil or are defatted. The seeds have been ground into a hemp seed cake then milled into a flour. The flour has less protein than the protein powder but is still a great source of fiber, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals.
Benefits of Baking with Hemp Flour
- Gluten-free – Hemp flour contains no gluten. This complex protein causes several medical conditions, including celiac disease, wheat allergies, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and other autoimmune conditions. Gluten can also cause unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms.
- Contains no bleaching agents – Bleaching agents are chemical food additives used to whiten the appearance of flour. They also help in gluten development. One such chemical, chlorine dioxide produces alloxan. Alloxan is a gas that destroys vitamin E and insulin-secreting beta cells in the pancreas. No bleaching agents feature in the production of hemp flour.
- Protein – Hemp flour is an excellent option for plant-based protein. Protein is an essential macronutrient found in every cell in the body.
Fiber – Hemp flour is an excellent source of easily digestible fiber that helps your digestive system function optimally, among other functions.
- Amino Acids – Hemp flour contains omega three fatty acids necessary for cardiovascular health. It is also a great source of omega six fatty acids that your body needs for your brain, bones, and metabolism.
- Vitamins and Minerals – Hemp flour has Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, calcium, iron, folate and magnesium, as well as phosphorus, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, beta-carotene, and potassium.
Hemp seed has no known allergies. This makes hemp flour perfect for those who have nut, dairy, or other allergies.
As you can see these 2 items “hemp protein” and “hemp flour” are quite different, and totally different from hemp oil or CBD oil altogether, which is used for all kinds of different purposes.
If you want more information on hemp oil you can go back home.
Tips for Baking with Hemp Flour
Hemp flour, thanks to its rich nutritional profile, is a health-conscious bakers dream. The absence of gluten makes this particular flour hearty and dense. Gluten gives flour elasticity that helps baked goods rise. You can still use hemp flour for baking despite it not containing gluten.
For baked goods like flatbreads or crackers, you can use hemp flour as is as. Since they do not rise, the dense nature of hemp flour will not affect the consistency or look of the product when they are done baking.
For recipes that require a “lift,” hemp flour must be mixed with another flour. You can mix 50% of your hemp flour with 50% of another flour like almond, cashew, oat or whole grain flour. This ratio allows you to retain the earthy nutty flavor of hemp while still achieving a cake like consistency in your baked goods.
If you want your baked goods to rise but don’t want to mix your hemp flour, you can use guar gum, xanthan gum, ground flax seed and or ground chia seed.
For those using hemp flour for baking for the first time, we recommend experimenting with simple recipes until you get a feel for how this type of flour affects recipes.