Flour Power: A Guide to Using Alternative Flours
Using Different Flours
Expand your flour horizons with these ten terrific flours, including several gluten-free options. As a general rule, any flour stays fresher longer when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. Nowadays, many alternative flours are readily available at standard supermarkets or online.
Whole Wheat Flour
Punch up the whole grains in your diet by replacing whole wheat flour for up to half of the regular flour in your bread, scone or muffin recipes. Because it can be dense, try finely ground whole wheat pastry flour for lighter baked goods like cookies and cupcakes.
Semolina (Pasta Flour)
A staple in every Italian’s pantry, this yellow colored flour is made from durum wheat. Besides being the prime ingredient for making fresh pasta, semolina is commonly used to make hot cereals, breads and even puddings. Like cornmeal, it can be dusted onto surfaces to prevent dough from sticking.
Naturally gluten-free, defatted roasted peanut flour offers a protein punch and familiar flavor to your recipes. It’s an aromatic ingredient for breads, pastries and baked goods. Since it crisps nicely when frying, peanut flour creates a tasty coating for meat, chicken or fish and is a nutritious thickener for soups or smoothies.
Nutty and bold flavored, buckwheat flour is unrelated to wheat and is actually gluten-free (it’s a fruit seed vs. a cereal grain.) Often seen in pancake and waffle recipes, this protein rich flour is a staple in Asian cooking and the basis for making soba buckwheat noodles.
With a very distinct and rich flavor, rye flour is most commonly used to make crackers and breads like pumpernickel. Dark rye flour is loaded with fiber and also has a more robust taste. The more rye flour used in baking, the longer the bread will stay fresh.
Gluten-free and with the highest fiber content of any flour, coconut flour adds a wonderful sweet and fruity flavor to any baked good. Its texture and taste makes an ideal seafood or fish coating (think coconut shrimp) or a nutritious mix-in for hot breakfast cereals.
Ground from dried garbanzo beans, chickpea flour is a delicious staple common in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking. Gluten-free and a good source of protein and fiber, this versatile flour can be used as a baking ingredient, a soup thickener or even mixed with water into a dip like hummus.
Available as full-fat or low-fat, soy flour packs a serious protein punch. Yet another gluten free option, it’s most often seen in baked goods but can also be used to make soy milk on the stove. (Whisk and cook with 1 part flour to 3 parts water.)
This ancient grain is mildly sweet tasting, protein rich and gluten free. Substitute for no more than 30 percent of the white flour in your muffin, pancake or bread recipes to keep the texture and leavening in tact. It also pairs well with strong sweeteners like molasses and dark honey.
Full of fiber, barley flour can help tenderize baked goods but still allows for proper rising because it contains some gluten. With a slightly sweet flavor, this is a fun flour to experiment with in cookies, quick breads or pancakes like this recipe for flapjacks bursting with whole grain goodness.