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When it comes to baking, flour is your best friend when creating delicious breads, cakes, cookies and more. However, while more and more people have taken to baking at home as an act of comfort, it’s becoming increasingly scarce at grocery stores across the country.
“The demand for flour is extremely high as it always is in a crisis,” Jim McCarthy, president of the North American Millers’ Association, told The Western Producer. “Talking to some of our members, it’s almost like the holiday season for flour.”
Although demand is up, you can blame distribution issues, rather than a shortage of wheat for the lack of flour on shelves at the moment. According to Tom Steve, general manager of the Alberta wheat and barley commissions, we’re not going to run out, but it will take time for things to go back to normal.
In the meantime, if you’re looking to take on a baking project at home, there are plenty of white flour alternatives that you can use instead. While you may not end up with a perfect replication of the recipe you had in mind, think of each attempt as an experiment in the kitchen and you may even be surprised with the results.
Conversion: 1 cup flour = 1 cup gluten-free flour
Typically made from a blend of different flours such as tapioca, rice flour, and potato starch, gluten-free options are an easy one to one swap for white flour in most recipes. Look for a blend that includes xanthan gum, the ingredient that adds a gluten-like stretch to baked goods, or else you’ll likely end up with a crumbly recipe.
Conversion: 1 cup flour = ¼ cup almond flour
Almond, and other ground nut flours are higher in protein and fats than regular white flour, but make a good substitution as a flour replacement where you would normally use breadcrumbs, or in denser baked goods like brownies.
Conversion: 1 cup flour = 1 cup spelt flour
An ancient grain that’s similar to wheat flour, spelt is also a good substitution for flour in many recipes. It quickly and easily absorbs liquids though, so you may need to decrease the amounts listed in recipes in order to get the best results.
Conversion: 1 cup flour = 3 tablespoons coconut flour
Made from dried and ground coconut coconut flesh, this flour can be a tricky one to replace regular flour since it absorbs so much more moisture. If you do opt for coconut flour as a replacement, be sure to adjust the amount of liquids in your recipe.
Conversion: 1 cup flour = ¼ cup quinoa flour
Whether you purchase quinoa flour or make your own (simply grind dried quinoa in a food processor), this protein-packed flour substitution works well in muffins, pancakes, and breads. It does tend to dry out though, so it’s best used alongside moist ingredients or blended with other flours.
Conversion: 1 cup flour = ⅓ cup rice flour
Available in both brown and white rice flours, it has a similar texture to white flour and is a good alternative if you’re new to substituting ingredients. It doesn’t absorb liquids quickly, so if you do switch to using it, you’ll want to give your recipes time to rest before baking to ensure that they don’t turn out gummy.
Conversion: 1 cup flour = 3 tablespoons chickpea flour
With a rich, nutty flavour that has a denser, stickier texture than wheat flour, chickpea flour lends itself well to making batters when frying. It’s also a good substitution when making things like crepes, pancakes, breads, or dumplings, due to its savoury flavour profile.
Conversion: 1 cup flour = ¼ cup amaranth flour
Another ancient grain, this protein-rich flour works best for making quick breads or pancakes due to its dense nature. If you’re looking to include it in a lighter recipe, experts recommend using it as part of a multigrain blend or when baking cookies or crackers.
Conversion: 1 cup flour = ¼ cup oat flour
Best used in recipes that don’t need to rise like cookies and quick breads, oat flour is simple to make for yourself at home. Simply grind 1 ¼ cups oats in a food processor to create 1 cup of oat flour for a light and absorbent flour alternative.