Wheat flour is a common choice for making recipes like bread, pizza, or pasta, as it is nutritious and dense.
That’s why, there are many reasons to know what alternatives to use, as some people have severe wheat allergies, some are following a gluten-free diet, and simply because some grocery stores are running low of this ingredient these days.
Don’t just assume that you can use white flour instead of wheat flour, because this is not a gluten-free option either, and will result in the same or worse side effects from consuming wheat. Other things to consider too, include protein content, density, weight, and color.
What Is Wheat Flour?
Let’s talk about why we use wheat flour, and what is it?
Wheat flour is made from grinding wheat, making it usable for baking. There are many kinds out there, and you can differentiate them by the amount of gluten in them, the color, the parts of the grain used, and the type of wheat.
Some of the common wheat flours are all-purpose, bread flour, cake flour, self-rising flour, whole wheat flour, and weak flour. All of these vary in purpose, but they are mostly used in making bread, cakes, pancakes, muffins, cookies, and other baked goods.
What Can I Replace Wheat Flour With?
Now that we’ve figured out what this ingredient is good for, let’s talk about the best wheat flour substitutes below:
#1. Chickpea Flour
Made from raw chickpeas, this is a naturally dense flour that contains no gluten. Its density compensates for the lack of wheat, so it can give structure and texture to many baked goods. It is also considered healthier because it is high in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Chickpea flour has been used to make gluten-free pasta and baked goods for years, so if you want to replace wheat flour with this option, do so by using ¾ of a cup of chickpea flour for one cup of wheat flour. Usually, you can find chickpea flour in grocery stores by the gluten-free aisle, or in organic stores.
#2. Amaranth Flour
Used for centuries in the Aztec culture, amaranth flour is the very fine powder made from grinding the plant. This flour is also high in protein, fiber, calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
However, to use this flour in baking bread or cakes, you will need to mix it with another grain flour because it doesn’t contain any gluten.
You can use ½ cup of amaranth flour and ½ cup of another grain flour to replace one cup of wheat flour. If you don’t need your product to rise, you can use amaranth flour only. This choice is not as mainstream as the other substitutes, so you may need to try an organic or health store.
#3. Coconut Flour
This gluten-free option is high in nutrients too, such as fiber, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids.
It does have a strong coconut taste, which is why it is often used only in baking things that can acquire the flavor without a problem, such as muffins, pound cake, cupcakes, and pancakes. Coconut flour is much thicker though, which means it will require twice the amount of eggs.
Coconut flour is a good binding agent, and that’s why it can be used in savory dishes like stews, soups, casseroles, and gravies.
You can replace the flour for the same amount of coconut flour, but for every cup you use, add one cup of the recipe’s liquid as well. You can find this type of flour in organic grocery stores, and sometimes in some grocery stores.
#4. Oat Flour
This type of flour comes from milled oats, which gives it an almost identical nutritional profile to wheat flour.
Oats are high in soluble fiber, making them a healthy way to reduce blood cholesterol and sugar levels. Though it is nutritionally similar, oat flour has no gluten, making it safe for those with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
You will need to add more oat flour to your recipe, so we recommend adding 1 ½ cup for every one cup of wheat flour your recipe calls for. Because it has a toasted flavor, it is often used in making cookies and bread. You can find oat flour in the gluten-free section of natural or organic stores.
#5. Tapioca Flour
Tapioca flour is made from the extract of the starch found in the cassava plant. It is widely used in South America and Southeast Asia.
It is a gluten-free choice, and a great replacement for baking bread, but it is not as nutritious, as it is high in carbohydrates and doesn’t contain protein.
Often, you’ll find tapioca flour used as a thickening agent in sauces, soups, and gravies, and it is a good way to add consistency to your meal without changing the flavor.
Tapioca flour has become very popular lately because it is safe and easy to use, so you can find it in most organic stores and some grocery stores. Try changing wheat flour for equal parts of tapioca flour, but consider adding liquid since this one is thicker.
Related: What are the best tapioca flour substitutes?
All these options are safe to use instead of whole wheat flour, but for better nutritional content, we suggest you try chickpea flour, almond flour, and oat flour. If there is no gluten allergy, you could use all-purpose flour instead.
No. Whole wheat flour means that the whole grain is used, and still contains the wheat portion, which contains gluten. These five alternatives are gluten-free, specifically almond flour, rice flour, cornflour, or arrowroot flour.
While they are both made from wheat, the main difference is in the protein content. Whole wheat flour has a bit less protein than bread flour, but more fiber. Bread flour can be either white or whole wheat, but it has more protein in it.
Whether you’re trying to be healthy or staying away from gluten, these five alternatives to wheat flour are great for baking and thickening food.
Use them wisely, and add more liquid or eggs when necessary, and always make sure to measure things out. No gluten doesn’t have to mean, no bread anymore!
*Photo by luigi58/depositphotos