We started looking for flour substitutes early on.
We wanted to avoid refined white flour for similar reasons that we avoid refined white sugar. There's very little nutritional benefit left in refined white flour.
Wheat flour is the typical substitute, but I had some pretty severe food allergies as a child and one of them was to wheat. So when Amelia came along we wanted to avoid exposing her to wheat for the first few years.
A Whole Wheat Based Flour Substitute
Where a recipe calls for white flour, you can substitute:
3 parts whole wheat 1 part rice or oat flour 1 part buckwheat flour
For example, a recipe that called for 1 and 2/3 cup of white flour would use 1 cup of whole wheat flour, 1/3 cup of rice or oat flour, and 1/3 cup of buckwheat flour.
A Wheat Free Flour Substitute
To avoid wheat flour too, use this substitution:
2 parts rice flour 2 parts oat flour 1 part buckwheat flour
We also recommend adding ground flax seed to anything you bake. If you decide to do so, take the flour you're adding the least of in the above substitutions, and add in half of that measurement as flax seed, and half as the flour.
We found that each of the possible substitute flours had its own characteristics. Understanding those characteristics is key to being able to creatively substitute.
Whole Wheat Flour
Whole wheat flour tends to require more moisture than white flour. In general, you'll want to add from another couple of table spoons of liquid content, up to 1/4 cup depending on how dense the wheat flour is. The darker the flour is, the more liquid you'll want to add.
If you're following some of our
recommendations and are using applesauce or fruit for the egg, or our butter substitutes and are using olive oil for butter, then you do not need to add more moisture. Those substitutes have already added enough extra moisture into the mix.
***Need link to butter substitutes page***
Oat flour tends to make the mixture pasty or gummy, almost a glue-like texture. Using only oat flour would not work as a white flour substitution for that reason.
Mixing oat flour with rice flour, though, works quite well since their characteristics offset each other.
Rice flour tends to make the mixture more granular, loose or grainy in texture. This nicely offsets the nature of oat flour when the two are used in combination, making the result a quite acceptable substitute for white flour.
Despite its name, buckwheat flour has no wheat or gluten in it. It will work the same as white or lite wheat flour in theory, but in practice has such a strong, unique flavor to it that a little of it in any mixture goes a long way.
Of course, if you absolutely love the taste of buckwheat, you could certainly use it as a one to one substitute for white flour.
We add buckwheat to stabilize the other flours and add a touch of that unique flavor to the mixture.
Ground up flax seed doesn't hold together well enough to be a main ingredient in a flour substitution, but it works well as a minor ingredient.
Flax seed adds in a nice texture and taste to whatever you're baking, and of course comes with numerous nutritional benefits.