BRB, busting out the muffin tins.
By The Editors of Women’s Health
Out with plain ol’ all-purpose flour, in with happenin’ flour substitutes. It seems like everyone is baking with ancient grains and other fake flours—but are they really worth it?
“Alternative flours can be used as substitutes for regular wheat flour if you have an allergy or intolerance to wheat flour, or if you just want to add more variety to your diet” says Abby Langer, R.D.
These flour substitutes are typically made with foods like almonds, coconut, or even beans that are ground up to resemble the texture and consistency of flour. And Langer says they can add different nutrients (as well as slightly different flavors) to your cooking. “Almond flour, which is one of my favorites, has more protein than all-purpose wheat flour and gives a nutty flavor,” she says.
One thing to note: Since flour substitutes aren’t quite the same texture-wise as flour (duh), you usually can’t do a straight swap, Langer says. You might have to do a little math ~shudders~ to get that conversion right. “I recommend that you research the substitution ratios for alternative flour before using it in a recipe that’s meant for regular flour,” Langer says. You’ll often find this information on the back of the package of alterna-flour you want to use.
Nutrient-rich and allergen-friendly, these four particular flour substitutes have taken over our cabinets—and hearts.
Hey, bakers! Sub in two cups of blanched flour for every one cup of white to score a nutty, sweet flavor that’s perfect for treats. It’s a solid source of calcium and magnesium (the latter helps you absorb the former). Use unblanched for “breading” on chicken or fish.
Banana’s cousin injects sweets like pancakes with a tangy, complex note. Plus, it’s higher than regular flour in resistant starch, which doesn’t totally break down in the body, so you feel fuller longer. Since it’s dense and grain-free, you may need a half teaspoon of baking soda for cakes to rise.
Protein-packed (about 21 grams per cup!) and high in fiber, this gluten-free powder stars in savory dishes thanks to an earthy flavor from its bean roots. Swap in for white flour when preparing meatballs or veggie burgers—all that protein makes for a super strong food-binding agent.
This ancient grain is a variety of wheat, so it contains gluten, but fewer of the hard-to-digest carbs called fructans. As such, it’s a better option for those who avoid gluten but don’t have celiac disease. Unlike gluten-free flours, spelt offers a hearty and fibrous bite for doughy things like pizza crust.