Soy Flour

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Soy flour, derived from ground soybeans, boosts protein, brings moisture to baked goods, and provides the basis for some soymilks and textured vegetable protein. This versatile ingredient improves taste and texture of many common foods and often reduces the fat absorbed in fried foods. The taste of soy flour varies from a “beany” flavor to a sweet and mild flavor, depending on how it is processed.

In the Market

Soy flour comes in small bags in the baking or natural foods section of supermarkets. In natural foods markets, health food stores, food cooperatives, and food buying clubs, soy flour is often found in bulk bins. Many customers order soy flour through mail order houses and on-line shopping.

Most stores carry at least one of the three types of soy flour:

  • full-fat that contains all the natural oils found in the soybean
  • low-fat that contains about 1/3 the amount of fat as full-fat, and
  • defatted that contains minimal fat as most of the oil is removed during processing.

Give Me Five

  1. Make a batch of homemade pizza dough and replace one-fourth of the flour with soy flour.
  2. Make soy nut butter or peanut butter cookies and replace 1/3 of the all-purpose flour with soy flour.
  3. Mix your own soy milk by combining 3 cups of water with 1 cup of soy flour. Bring the water to a boil, add the soy flour, stir, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the mixture with cheesecloth and refrigerate immediately. Add vanilla or other flavorings as desired.
  4. Make lemon poppy seed, zucchini, or banana walnut bread and replace 1/3 of the all-purpose flour with soy flour.
  5. Mix one heaping tablespoon of soy flour with a teaspoon of water for a vegan egg substitute in your favorite recipe.

In the Kitchen

Storing and Cooking Tips for Soy Flour:

  • Kept in an airtight container, defatted and low-fat soy flour will stay fresh for up to one year. Full-fat soy flour will keep for up to one year in an airtight container in the freezer.
  • Stir soy flour before measuring to avoid flour packing.
  • Watch baked goods closely for over-browning. Baking products in a lower temperature oven (less 250º F) may prevent browning.

Full-fat and low-fat soy flours work best in sweet, rich, baked goods like cookies, soft yeast breads and quick breads. In these recipes, soy flour will substitute well for ten to 30 percent of the wheat or rye flour. Recipes specifically developed to use soy flour may replace more than 30 percent of other flours with soy. Replacing more than 40 percent of other flours with soy flour is not recommended because soy-rich dough browns faster. Since soy flour is gluten-free, it cannot replace all the wheat or rye flour in yeast raised bread. Soyfood cookbooks, soy flour packages, and company web sites supply tasty recipes.

Nutrition Highlights

Soy flour is a great source of high quality soy protein, dietary fiber and important bio-active components, such as isoflavones. This versatile ingredient provides a good source of iron, B vitamins and potassium. Important bio-active components found naturally in soybeans are being studied in relation to relieving menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, maintaining healthy bones, and preventing prostate, breast cancers, and colorectal cancer. The content and profile of bio-active components varies from product to product, depending upon how much soy protein is in the food and how the soy protein is processed.

Soyfoods are a healthy protein source because of the high quality of protein that contains all essential amino acids needed for growth. Soyfoods are a good source of essential fatty acids and contain no cholesterol and little or no saturated fat. This comparison of the protein content of several flours indicates the high protein content of soy flours in relation to wheat flours*:

  • Full-fat soy flour: 40 % protein
  • Low-fat soy flour: 52 % protein
  • Defatted soy flour: 55 % protein
  • Whole wheat flour: 16 % protein
  • Enriched white flour: 12 % protein

* approximately

In addition to the excellent nutritional value of soy protein, scientists have found that consumption of soy protein can contribute to reducing the risk of heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol and increasing the flexibility of blood vessels. A recent scientific study, “Soy fiber improves weight loss and lipid profile in overweight and obese adults”, found that those consuming soy fiber from soy flour saw significant improvements in BMI, body weight, and LDL cholesterol.  has shown that daily intake of the fiber in soy flour increases satiety The FDA has approved a health claim stating that “25 grams of soy protein in a daily diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol can help reduce total and LDL cholesterol that is moderately high to high.”

The Making of Soy Flour

A wide array of meat alternatives, dairy alternatives, and baked goods use various forms of soy flour. Soy flour is a product of milling soybean flakes that have either retained the soybean’s naturally occurring oil to make full fat flour or solvent-extracted the oil to make de-fatted flour. To make low-fat soy flour, a mechanical extractor process removes about 75% of the oil. Newer technologies extract oil from soy flour using high pressure carbon dioxide or other liquids. Full fat and de-fatted flour products appears in enzyme active or toasted forms and in different particle sizes from ultra fine powders (i.e., soy flour) to more coarse soy grits. Further processing soy flour produces dry textured nuggets called textured soy flour.

Nutrition Facts

1/4-cup serving of soy flour provides

Defatted % Daily Value Full Fat1 % Daily Value Low Fat % Daily Value
Calories 82 92 82
Total Fat 0g 0% 4g 6% 1.5g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 0% 0.5g 3% 0g 0%
Total Carbohydrates 10g 3% 7g 2% 8g 3%
Protein 12g 24% 7g 14% 10g 20%
Cholesterol 0mg 0% 0mg 0% 0mg 0%
Sodium 5mg 0% 3mg 0% 4mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18% 2g 8% 2g 8%
Calcium 60mg 6% 43mg 4% 41mg 4%
Potassium 596mg 17% 528mg 15% 565mg 16%
Phosphorus 168mg 17% 104mg 10% 130mg 13%
Folate 76mcg 19% 72mcg 18% 90mcg 23%
Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 17 (2004)
Average Total Isoflavones 33mg 37 mg 50 mg
Source: USDA -Iowa State University Database on the Isoflavone Content of Foods, Release 1.3, 2002, USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory Agricultural Research Service

Exchanges: 2 tbs. = 1 lean meat/ meat substitute
Based on information from Exchange List for Meal Planning, 2nd edition, 2002.
Source: The American Diabetes Association/The American Dietetic Association.

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