Cassava Flour 101: What it is, how to use it, and why I choose Otto’s (Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, AIP, Paleo, low-FODMAP, Nut-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Wheat-Free)

5 Tips + Tricks for using cassava Flour!

Free recipes below!

What is Cassava (kuh-sah-vuh)

Have you heard of cassava but you’re not sure what to think? Do you go to the store and stare at ALL the gluten free flour options, not sure which one to pick? I sure did. Let me share what I have learned over the past six years during my Paleo journey and last two years using cassava flour.

Cassava is a root vegetable and is a staple food in countries like Africa, Asia and Latin America, and has recently started becoming more accessible in the US. Cassava is also known as yuca which can be confusing, but it is the same root vegetable. Cassava roots are peeled, milled and dried into cassava flour. Traditional cassava flour is sun-dried which allows it to ferment, resulting in a sour and musty flavor. I love fermented foods, but for recipes with flour, fermented cassava is usually NOT the flavor I am looking for. The product is also not as consistent with a sun-dried and fermented method because of humidity and other variables.

 
 

The difference between tapioca and cassava

Almost everyone has heard of whole grains and understand that they have more fiber, vitamins and minerals. I like to think of cassava as the whole "grain" root flour. Tapioca starch is extracted starch from the cassava root. Tapioca and is also frequently used in gluten-free cooking, but does not replace cassava flour 1:1. Cassava flour has more body, texture and doesn’t end up with a gummy texture as easily as tapioca and other starches. Cassava is much more versatile and has similar results that whole grain wheat flours provide. Cassava flour uses the entire root, sans the skin, which means it contains fiber, calcium and potassium that you don’t get from tapioca starch. It can also often be swapped 1:1 with most wheat flours. It has a subtle nutty flavor that doesn’t overpower the dish, or baked good, but has a different favor than wheat. I am not bashing tapioca starch, I love and use it often, but it is not a replacement for wheat flour or cassava. I do like to compliment a recipe with tapioca when I need a lighter texture, or when I don't want to use only one flour/starch in a recipe. It is important to note that cassava is high in carbohydrates, so moderation is advised, especially for those following low-carb or low-sugar diets.

Why Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour?

One ingredient (Cassava)

Allergy free – Free of dairy, eggs, gluten, peanuts, soy and tree nuts

No fillers, additives, or xanthan gum

They use Proprietary Processing Methods which produce a consistent product and ensure the cassava gets below 14% moisture, lengthening the shelf life of the flour.

No grittiness, Otto’s use young tender yuca roots to mill into flour which results in a smooth flour.

Constant product with consistent results

Free fast shipping from their website

Great costumer service

Family Owned

 

What about cyanide?

You may have heard there is cyanide in cassava and it's true! The cyanide is concentrated mostly in the skin of the root which is removed before processing. The remaining cyanide is removed by the heat during processing. Natural cyanide can also be found in other fruits/vegetables like apricots, cherries, peaches, pears, plums, almonds, millet sprouts, lima beans, soy, spinach, bamboo shoots and apples is also found in apples

 

What diets allow Cassava flour?

Gluten-Free (Certified by the Gluten Intolerance Group, GIG)

Grain-Free

Paleo (certified by The Paleo Foundation)

Low-FODMAP

Autoimmune Protocol (AIP)

Nut-Free

Whole30

Vegan

Vegetarian

 

5 Tips for cooking/baking with cassava flour

  1. Fluff the flour before measuring and use a scale to weigh the flour for consistent baking. I generally measure 140g per cup. I fluff my flour with a fork before measuring and scrap the cup even without compacting the flour.

  2. Add dry ingredients into wet ingredients and stir a little longer than with wheat flour. This gives the starch in the cassava flour more time to absorb the moisture.

  3. Let it cool! Hot baked goods can (but rarely) have starchy texture, but once cooled it is completely different.

  4. Use more extract than you would with wheat. I usually use about twice as much extract when using cassava rather than wheat flours.

  5. Fluffier textures can be accomplished by mixing cassava with sunflower meal or other nut-meals because coarse nut meals help produce air pockets. Water also helps produce air pockets because of steam produced while baking.

 

Check out my recipes that use Cassava Flour: