While all-purpose flour is a must-have pantry item in every kitchen, experimenting with alternative flours can lend a range of new flavors and textures to your cooking adventures. If you’ve dismissed alternative flours as an ingredient only people with dietary restrictions need to use, you miiight be missing out. From sweet, nutty spelt flour to colorful, vibrant pea flour, alt-flours can make everything from brunch pancakes to winter soups feel entirely new and exciting.
Not all alt-flours are created equal, though. While some work better for breading (almond flour), others are better reserved for thickening sauces (soy flour) or baking (buckwheat flour). And, to make things even more confusing, not all flours can be substituted for all-purpose flour on a 1 to 1 ratio.
It might not be clear cut, so we’re here to help. Cheers to expanding your cooking and baking repertoire!
Generally, oat flour has a heartier flavor and coarser texture than wheat flour, which makes it a delicious substitute in cakes, biscuits, muffins, and the like. The best part about oat flour is that it’s easy to make at home—just run rolled oats through a food processor until they break down into a fine powder and…that’s it!
Bakers, beware: because oat flour doesn’t contain any gluten, you’ll need to adjust your ingredients a bit to ensure that your baked good rises. Adding a bit more baking powder or yeast where appropriate should do the trick.
The next time you gear up to make breaded chicken or meatballs, consider subbing bread crumbs or wheat flour for almond flour. This nut flour’s coarse consistency will give your final dish a super crispy texture.
It also makes a delicious addition to muffin, cake, and cookie recipes—pretty much any dessert that doesn’t need to rise as it bakes. To start, try subbing up to 1/4 of your wheat flour in a recipe for almond flour.
Looking to vamp up your pizza night? Try using spelt flour instead of wheat flour when making the dough–it’ll add a slightly sweet flavor and a bit of a crunch to your crust, thus taking your #margheritagame to the next level. And as an added bonus, and unlike other alt-flours, spelt flour can be subbed for wheat flour at a 1:1 ratio, so you don’t even have to break out the calculator.
Quinoa isn’t just for your fancy grain bowls. Quinoa flour is a great addition to any baker’s arsenal, helping to create fluffy pancakes, tender scones, and more. While you can sub 100% of the wheat flour for quinoa flour in recipes like banana or zucchini bread, you should only sub 1/4 quinoa flour for recipes like scones and pancakes to avoid negatively affecting the texture of your final dish.
While soy flour may not be the best choice as a sub in your favorite cookie recipe, you will definitely want to break it out for your sauce needs. Soy flour has a superfine, powdery texture that makes it a perfect thickening agent in a range of sauces, from complex béchamel sauces to simple gravies (hello, holidays!).
This naturally dense, creamy-tasting flour is perfect for all of your baking needs, yielding tender, hearty cookies, breads, and muffins when used in place of all-purpose flour. Try subbing 1/2 of your wheat flour for chickpea flour to avoid creating a dessert that’s too dense. And, you don’t have to stop with baked goods. Chickpea flour is also the perfect binding agent for vegetable fritters and meatballs.
This one might be the newest to you, and it’s also fun. Seriously. Pea flour’s bright green hue may have you thinking it’s only appropriate for spooky Halloween baking and split pea soup, but trust us—you’re going to want to use this vibrant legume flour for more than that. Use green pea flour wherever you’d use chickpea flour: in pancakes, fritters, muffins…you name it. You can make it taste even more un-pea-lievable with pea flour. (Was that terrible, or kind of funny?)
Love experimenting in the kitchen? Try Plated!Get 25% off your first four weeks of Plated!