Food & Cooking Blog

Baking Hacks: 5 Simple Specialty Flour Substitutes to Make at Home

We hold this truth to be self-evident: There’s no bigger bummer than starting a baking project and then realizing that you’re all out of the type of flour required for your recipe.

Measuring flour

However, here’s a reason to rejoice: There are simple DIY hacks that you can use to create a worthy substitute to many popular types of flour for baking. Here are just a few of the easy ways to mix up your own flour substitutes when you can’t find a certain type  or need a quick fix. Bookmark this post as a handy reference! 

Learn five handy hacks to making specialty flour with what’s in your pantry!

Whether you’re all out of bread flour or you can’t find cake flour at your supermarket, these easy DIY hacks will have you well floured in no time.

Cake flour substitute

1. Make DIY cake flour with two ingredients you already have in your pantry

Delicate cake flour gives cakes a tender crumb and dainty texture. But when you’re all out, you can easily make a substitute using all-purpose flour and cornstarch. 

How to do it:

Measure out 1 cup of flour, then remove 2 tablespoons. Then, add in 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Sift together several times to ensure even mixing. Repeat this ratio for as many cups as you need, or make a large batch and save for future use.

How it works: 

Cake flour is typically very low-protein, which keeps gluten from forming in long, stiff chains (which is desirable for bread, not so much for delicate cakes). When added to all-purpose flour, cornstarch can help the flour absorb more water, providing a structure that’s different from gluten formation, resulting in tight, tender, moist cakes. 

For step-by-step photos of this process, check out our post on how to substitute cake flour.

Sifting Flour

2. Mix two types of flour to make hard-to-find pastry flour

Pastry flour is one of the least-known flours for home bakers. It’s higher in protein than cake flour, but lower in protein than all-purpose flour. Its texture is sturdy but not too bread-like — perfect for pastries. If you don’t have it on hand or can’t find it at your local grocery store, here’s an easy solution.

How to do it:

Combine 3 parts all-purpose flour to 1 part cake flour. Sift several times to ensure complete mixing. Use this ratio to create as much flour as you need, or make a larger batch and save it for future use.

How it works:

Since pastry flour is almost like the “half-and-half” of flours, with elements of both cake and all-purpose flours, it makes sense that the DIY solution is made using a mix of both of these flours.

Bread flour

3. Transform all-purpose flour into bread flour!

Perhaps you’re all out of bread flour, or maybe you don’t make bread often enough to buy a full bag. This easy trick will allow you to transform all-purpose flour to bread flour any time you want.

How to to it:

Combine 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 1 teaspoon vital wheat gluten. Sift several times to combine. Use the same ratio to create as many cups as you need. 

How it works: 

The difference between bread flour and all-purpose flour is primarily a matter of protein content. Vital wheat gluten is the natural protein found in wheat. By adding the vital wheat gluten, you’ll create a higher-protein flour which will yield the chewy, hearty bread loaves you crave. 

Nut flour

4. Make flour from nuts or oats at home

Have you ever noticed that some nut flours are crazy expensive? If you find a great deal on nuts, you can make your own in a jiffy. Oat flour can be made in the same method as nut flour, using whole oats.

How to do it:

Simply place nuts (blanched, skinless nuts tend to work best) in a food processor or a strong blender with a pulse option. Pulse until it becomes a fine, flour-like texture. Don’t mix it too much or you’ll end up with nut butter! You may need to pause a couple of times to make sure there are no chunks. 

How it works:

By pulsing nuts in a food processor, you can ensure that you get the perfect mealy texture without turning it into nut butter.

Measuring flour

5. Substitute self-rising flour with a flour–baking powder mixture.

Self-rising flour is essentially flour that already contains a leavening agent, usually baking powder (and often a touch of salt). When a recipe calls for self-rising flour, it typically uses little or no additional leavening.

How to do it:

Combine 1 cup flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sift together several times to ensure even mixing. 

How it works:

By combining all-purpose flour with baking powder and a touch of salt, you have a simple solution for self-rising flour!

Want a chemistry lesson that tastes delicious?

the science of baking class

This online class takes you through each fascinating step of creating a perfect loaf of bread every time. Dive into the science of bread baking and enjoy the flavorful results today. Enroll Now »

2 Comments

Denise

Why does it say baking powder and baking soda in the how to substitute self- rising with a flour-baking soda mixture and how to do it is 1 cup of flour ,1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, I am wondering wich one to use

Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Reply