A guide to substitute cooking ingredients: Part 4- Substituting Flours
Regardless of whether you are looking for substitute flours due to a dietary restriction, allergies, or if you are just in a mood to experiment, you have come to the right place.
Now, it is important to keep in mind to substitute keeping in mind the protein content and moisture of each flour. It is always best to use a flour with a similar protein content, which largely determines the final texture of the resulting mixture. Flours with higher protein content tend to be more heavy, whereas flours with lighter protein content are light and fluffy. If you are substituting a high protein flour for a low protein flour, add 1 teaspoon of water to avoid dryness. Similarly, if you are substituting a low protein flour for a high protein flour, add more flour till you reach the desired consistency.
Wholewheat tops the list of protein rich flours with protein content of 14 percent. When substituting wholewheat flour for all-purpose flour, you have to make sure to avoid making the resulting batter too dense, so use 50 percent of wholewheat flour and 50% of another lighter flour (all purpose, pastry flour, etc)
Bread flour has about 12-13 percent of protein content, making it a slightly denser version of all-purpose flour. You can easily alternate between bread flour and all-purpose flour and adjust the consistency by adding water or more flour. It is also important to not overdo it by mixing the flours too much, resulting in a thicker mixture due to the high protein content.
All-purpose flour has a protein content of 11 to 12 percent. You can substitute all-purpose flour for bread flour, but due to the lower protein content of all-purpose flour, you may have to add in extra flour to achieve your desired consistency. You can also use all-purpose together with whole-grain flours if you want to reduce the protein content of the mixture. Fun fact, if you are looking to go gluten free or if you can't seem to find regular all-purpose flour, you can easily substitute one for the other as they both are so similar in taste and consistency.
Spelt is a type of whole grain wheat flour that is very similar to regular wheat flour, thanks to its gluten content and low density. Spelt flour has a protein content of 12 - 13 percent, making it closest in comparison with all-purpose flour. The two flours can be easily be easily substituted one-to-one. However, if you feel like the final mixture does have the right consistency, you may add more water or flour, depending on the situation.
Pastry flour is one of the lighter flours with protein content of 8 - 9 percent. If you are someone who loves soft and fluffy baked foods like muffins, and cakes, you may use pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour. Alternatively, you can swap between pastry flour with whole-wheat pastry flour.
Cake flour has the lowest protein content, of 6 - 8 percent, in our list of flours. As the name suggests, it is best used for baking cakes. You may also use it to bake other soft baked goods like cookies, scones or biscuits. Substitute cake flour for all-purpose flour by adding 145 grams of cake flour for every 130 grams of all-purpose flour. If you are unable to find cake flour, you can make your own version of cake flour by mixing 95 grams of all-purpose flour with 3 tablespoons of cornstarch to give you an equivalent of 115 grams of cake flour.