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Flour

SUBSTITUTING FOR WHEAT

While all grains can be ground to make flour, they are not all interchangeable with wheat. Each grain has its own personality, and flours have textures that range from silky to grainy. When experimenting with substituting them for white flour, do so a little at a time. For instance, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of wheat flour, substitute 1/4 cup of another variety. See how that works, and then add more or less alternative flour depending on the success of your results.

 

STORING FLOURS

Store flours in a cool, dark place, preferably the refrigerator or even the freezer. Allow flour to come to room temperature for accurate measuring.

GLUTEN LEVELS AND WHY THEY MATTER

It’s important to keep in mind that all wheat flour contains a high amount of a protein known as gluten. Gluten is responsible for the stretchiness of dough, which allows it to hold air bubbles during rising, producing light and shapely baked goods. If using a large amount of non-wheat flour for baking, you may need to add wheat gluten (basically wheat flour without the starch) in order to produce uniform, well-risen baked goods. In recipes where rising is less of an issue (for coatings or pancakes, for example), there is no need to add gluten.


 CharacteristicsGluten
AlmondAlmond meal, almond flour or ground almond is made from ground sweet almonds. Almond flour is usually made with blanched almonds (no skin), whereas almond meal can be made both with whole or blanched almonds. The consistency is more like corn meal than wheat flour.None
AmaranthA strong, spicy, nutty-flavored flour. Best used as an accent flour in waffles, pancakes, cookies or muffins.None
BarleyBarley flour is a good source of dietary fiber. Studies have shown that dietary fiber, specifically soluble fiber, can aid in the reduction of cholesterol. Barley contains a special type of fiber that is especially good for the reduction of cholesterol called beta-glucan. Beta-glucans also aid in the support of the immune system and can help regulate blood sugar.Low
Bran (unprocessed)The outer layer of the wheat berry. Add small amounts to cereals and baked goods to increase fiber. Keep refrigerated.High
BuckwheatThe edible fruit seed of a plant related to rhubarb. It is not related to wheat or other grains. High proportion of essential amino acids; close to being a complete protein. Commonly combined with wheat flour in pancakes, waffles, blintzes and pastas.None
Coconut FlourCoconut flour is a delicious, healthy alternative to wheat and other grain flours. Ground from dried, defatted coconut meat, coconut flour is high in fiber and low in digestible carbohydrates.None
Cornmeal (blue)Higher in protein than yellow cornmeal. Turns lavender in color when cooked. Use in muffins and corn tortillas. Kids love purple pancakes!None
Cornmeal(yellow)Rich and buttery in flavor. Use for polenta, cornbread and muffins.None
FavaFava beans offer a great protein source for vegetarians. It is also a good source of iron and an excellent source of dietary fiber. Fava bean flour has a distinctive flavor and is most often used in combination with garbanzo bean flour for gluten free baking.None
GarbanzoGarbanzo beans are loaded with protein and dietary fiber and are a good source of iron. Garbanzo bean flour—also known as besan, gram flour, chickpea flour and cici bean flour—is popular in Middle Eastern and Indian cooking and baking. Use it in dishes like falafel, hummus, socca, farinata, papadums and pakoras. It is also a wonderful ingredient for gluten free baking.None
GlutenIt is made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starches dissolve, leaving just the gluten behind. Add to bread dough to increase rise: 2 tablespoons per cup of flour in whole grain bread; 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon per cup of flour in white breads. Also add to breads with extra bran, raisins or nuts. Increase kneading time to activate extra gluten.High
GrahamHard whole wheat flour with a coarse and flaky outer bran layer, and finely ground germ. Most famously used in crackers, but adds texture and nutty flavor to all baked goods.Low
HazelnutHazelnut Meal/Flour is made from pure, ground hazelnuts. It is full of sweet, nutty flavor. Perfect for adding a rich flavor to all baked goods, from breads and muffins to cakes and cookies. Substitute up to one-third of the recommended flour in your favorite recipes with hazelnut flour. It's low in carbohydrates and a good source of dietary fiber and proteinNone
Oat BranContains soluble fiber, which can help lower blood cholesterol levels when eaten as part of a low cholesterol diet. Add oat bran to muffins or breads. Use as a coating for chicken and seafood.Low
Oat FlourTechnically gluten free, oats are commonly harvested on the same equipment used for wheat and so are frequently cross contaminated. If celiac look for certified gluten free oatsLow
PecanPecan meal is the perfect substitute for flour in baking, or bread crumbs in cooking. And because pecans are gluten free, they make the perfect addition to a gluten free dietNone
PolentaCorn Grits are simply coarsely ground bits of degerminated corn. They have long been a traditional staple of both northern Italy and the American South, they are usually cooked and eaten as hot porridge or cooked, then slightly cooled until firm and sliced into squares.None
QuinoaQuinoa is high in protein, calcium and iron. You can substitute this flour for half of the all-purpose flour in many recipes or completely replace wheat flour in cakes and cookie recipes.None
Rye FlourYields baked goods that are moist and dense. Combine with caraway seeds in crackers and breads. Due to its low-gluten content, it is often mixed with whole wheat flour to increase its rising ability.Low
SemolinaDurum flour with the bran and germ removed. Never bleached. Used to make high-quality "white"pasta. Adds extra flavor and texture in some bread recipes.High
SoyHigh in protein, it is often used as a protein booster. Usually combined with whole wheat flour to increase its rising ability.None
SpeltAn ancient grain gaining popularity today as a wheat substitute. Similar to high-protein wheat. If substituting for wheat in a recipe, reduce the liquid by 25%.Low
TeffRich in calcium, protein and iron; sweet malty flavor. Use in quick breads, pancakes and waffles. Use to thicken stews, soups and sauces. Teff is a major crop in Ethiopia, where the flour is used to make the typical spongy flatbread injera.None
Wheat GermVitamin- and mineral-rich layer of the wheat berry. Excellent source of vitamin E. Available toasted and untoasted. Add to cereals, pancakes and baked goods, as well as meat or vegetable loaves. Refrigerate to prevent rancidity.High
Whole Durum WheatFrom very high protein wheat with less starch than other wheat flours. Makes a tough dough that can stretch and expand — perfect for whole grain pasta. Nutritional profile similar to whole wheat.High
Whole WheatGround from entire wheat berry. Full-bodied flavor and coarse texture. Generally produces baked goods that are denser, with less rise than those made with white flour. Adds rustic, hearty qualities to baked goods.High
Whole Wheat Pastry FlourGround from soft wheat berries. Higher in starch and lower in gluten than regular wheat flour. Use in non-yeast baked goods such as cookies, pancakes, muffins, quick breads and cakes.Medium