Flour is definitely a key ingredient in making different baked goods. While there is a rise in using non-conventional flours, many bakers stick with the traditional ones. But why not give these a go? Whether you’re trying to eat healthier or just try something new, I listed some flour substitutions you may want to use.
Gram flour substitute
Gram flour is made from besan. It’s a close relative of lentils, so using similar legumes would be a great substitute for it. These alternative flours can be:
- Chickpea flour
- Lentil flour
- Soybean flour
- Tapioca flour
- Quinoa flour
- Buckwheat flour
Just like gram flour, these are gluten-free flours that people with celiac disease can be thankful for. They’re also filled with essential minerals and vitamins. While some of them have a similar trace of earthy and nutty flavour, some have a slightly different flavour. Use them for a new flavour note in your baked goods.
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Can I use cornstarch instead of flour?
While cornstarch can be a direct substitute for flour when cooking, it’s not the case in baking. Cornstarch doesn’t produce gluten bonds as wheat flour does. Yes, cornstarch can be found in baking recipes, but not as a substitute for flour.
Tapioca starch vs flour
Some people get confused between tapioca starch and tapioca flour. But there shouldn’t be any confusion because they’re just the same. Their names or labels are just different due to the different manufacturing places. American manufacturers use ‘tapioca flour, while Asian manufacturers use ‘tapioca starch’.
If you have one of these two and you come across a recipe that calls for the other, feel free to use what you have. Both products are gluten-free and you can use them interchangeably with ease. They’re usually used as a thickening agent for different baking and cooking purposes.
If you lack any of these two, cornstarch can be a good substitute. You just need to decrease the amount of cornstarch that you’re going to use as it is much stronger. However, it might not be a good substitute if you’re going to make bubble tea, as tapioca is best.
How to substitute self-raising flour
Self-raising flour is just a combination of three of the most common baking ingredients. In fact, you can easily make your own version at home. All you need are three ingredients that you may already have in your pantry. These are just all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. You can substitute it by using this ratio:
For every 1 cup of self-raising flour that a recipe calls, just mix together:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour or plain flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
You may want to do this in a large batch to save time. Just make sure that you thoroughly mix before using it so the ingredients are evenly distributed.
If it happens that you ran out of all-purpose flour and all you’re left with is your self-raising flour, you can reverse substitute it! For every cup, you can use a 1:1 ratio of flour. But make sure to reduce the amount of baking powder and salt in the overall recipe.
Almond flour is a nutritious and flavourful flour that many people prefer, especially those with celiac disease. It’s often added to wheat or regular flour so the carb and gluten content of baked goods can be reduced. The only drawback is it is expensive and some people that are allergic to nuts won’t be able to consume it. To substitute almond you may use these flours instead:
- Cashew flour
- Macadamia flour
- Sunflower seed flour
- Oat flour
- A mix of Tapioca and Coconut flour
If you don’t have any access to these flours and don’t mind the extra carbs, you may use 100% of typical all-purpose wheat flour.
What to use millet flour for?
Millet flour is a versatile baking ingredient made from ground millet seed. It’s usually added to baked goods to give a mild, sweet, and nutty flavour. Many bakers love to use millet flour as it offers a light texture. A lot of consumers prefer this because it’s rich in fibre and antioxidants, and it’s gluten-free as well!
Can I use rice flour for bread?
Yes! Rice flour is usually used as a substitute in making cakes and other sweets products, but it can also be used in making sweetbreads. It will add a soft and fine crumb to different types of bread, and it also has a great browning effect.
There are two main types of rice flour: white and brown rice flour. They’re best to use for different cooking purposes, but they both serve as a great gluten-free alternative when baking.
I use rice flour to make Dutch or Tiger bread. It's the key ingredient to its unique crudty topping.
What can I use buckwheat flour for?
Buckwheat flour can be great and exciting if you’re not on a gluten-free diet. There are two types of buckwheat flour: light and dark. Light buckwheat has a finer texture and a subtler taste, while dark buckwheat has more fibre and flavour. Both can be great substitutes for whole wheat flour.
Swapping about 25% of the total flour measure can improve the texture of cookies, quick bread, and even cakes. And of course, it will also make the product healthier and reduce the gluten content.