Give Your Baking a Healthy Upgrade With One of These White Flour Alternatives

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One of the best parts about baking from scratch? Aside from being able to enjoy your handiwork straight from the oven (and licking the bowl, obvs), it’s having full control over the ingredients you use in the process.

We all know that flour is the one ingredient found in almost every baked good. But whether you’re a from-the-box-if-ever baker or have been making Mary Berry-worthy desserts for years, this seemingly simple ingredient can leave us in a lurch when it comes to choosing which variety to use in a recipe. Not that there’s anything wrong with white all-purpose flour, of course, save for the fact that it’s limited in nutritional value (and what if you’re baking for someone with a gluten allergy?).

So if you’ve eliminated that option, where to go from there?

Gena Hamshaw, a registered dietitian with The Full Helping, says that using an alternative flour can boost the nutritional value of your favorite baked goods. Here, we’ve broken down the differences between some of our favorite healthy alternative flours to make things a little easier next time you’re in the baking aisle and feel like shaking things up.

RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Baking Substitutions

1 Whole Wheat Flour

Whole wheat flour is ideal for enjoying homemade bread and baked goods without sacrificing a commitment to eating whole foods. “Whole wheat flour contains all parts of the wheat berry in its whole form: bran, germ, and endosperm. This makes whole wheat flour significantly higher in fiber than white flour,” Hamshaw says. In addition to fiber, whole wheat flour is richer in protein and iron than all-purpose white flour. “I always recommend products that are sourced transparently, non-GMO, and free of artificial ingredients.”

Whole grain flours are especially nice for adding texture and nutty flavor to bread, muffins, and baked goods. If you’re new to working with whole grain flour, try combining it with all-purpose flour and adjusting ratios to suit your needs. You can also try a whole wheat flour that is sprouted, a process which maximizes the nutrition and digestibility of the ingredient, says Hamshaw​​​​​​​.

RELATED: We All Know Whole Grains Are Good for You, but These 11 Are the Healthiest

2 Spelt Flour

Spelt is a pure non-hybridized, nutritious ancient grain. Spelt flour is milled from spelt berries, which are an ancient variety of wheat. “Spelt lends subtle sweetness to baked goods, along with fiber,” Hamshaw says. It’s milder and lighter than other whole wheat flours, which makes it popular in whole grain baking. “Some people who find wheat difficult to digest have an easier time digesting spelt, possibly because it contains less gluten than conventional wheat. Generally speaking, spelt flour can be substituted for any recipe that calls for wheat flour.

3 Rye Flour

Rye is a richly nutritious, wholesome grain. “Rye flour is made from rye berries, which have a similar appearance to wheat berries, but are distinct from it,” explains Hamshaw. Rye is a good source of fiber, as well as minerals like manganese, copper, and phosphorus. “Rye is also rich in phytonutrients—chemical compounds found in plants that may help fight disease and protect our bodies from the stress associated with aging.”

Rye flour is lower on the glycemic index than wheat flour, so it’s less likely to trigger a high insulin response and spike blood sugar. In addition, studies have shown that rye flour’s high-fiber content can also help with blood sugar control. Choose an organic sprouted rye flour if you’re looking to make sourdough breads with a complex flavor profile.

4 Brown Rice Flour

Brown rice flour is a good choice for those who follow gluten-free diets, since it is naturally gluten-free and richly nutritious. “And unlike many gluten-free flours or flour blends, brown rice flour is minimally processed,” Hamshaw says. “Brown rice flour can be combined with other flours when baking or used to thicken up gravies and sauces, a great tip for preparing gluten-free meals during the holiday season!”

RELATED: This Is the Healthiest Type Of Bread, According to a Registered Dietitian

It’s not new information that white refined flour isn’t good for our bodies.

We all know that it’s not doing us (or our waistlines) any favors, yet we still over-consume white flour in the form of baked bread, desserts, and pasta on the daily.

Here are some reasons why you should try to avoid white flour and some healthier alternatives.

Why You Should Avoid Refined White Flour

White flour is the end result after a whole grain of wheat has been processed (practically to death) and then bleached.

Since it’s processed so heavily and bleached with chlorine gas, it not only loses most of its nutritional benefits, but it also produces a chemical called Alloxan.

Alloxan is linked with free radical increase. Yikes.

Although there may only be trace amounts of this harmful chemical in white flour, it’s not something you want to be consuming on a regular basis.

Since most of the vitamins and minerals and all of the fiber has been removed from refined flour, it is digested quickly. This means a blood sugar spike larger than what you may get from a candy bar.

If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about a measly sugar spike, it’s a bigger deal than you might think.

Frequent spikes in blood sugar can lead to a decline in overall health and wellbeing.

Healthy Flour Alternatives

Fortunately, if you still want to enjoy and make baked goods that call for white flour, you have options.

These healthy flour alternatives contain fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals, making them excellent white flour substitutes. (They are also gluten free!)

Oat Flour

Oats have been linked to healthier cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.

Oat flour is inexpensive, bakes well, and provides a little extra moisture to baked goods.

Oat flour gives you an extra boost of fiber and can benefit your heart!

If you already have oats at home, simply grind them up in a blender, food processor, or coffee grinder. You can also purchase oat flour at most grocery stores.

Coconut flour is full of healthy fats and is low glycemic. It works well in baking although you might have to add more liquid to your recipes as coconut flour absorbs more liquid than other flours.

Substituting other flours with coconut flour has also been shown to lower the glycemic index of many foods!

Almond Flour

Like oats, almonds have also been linked to healthier cholesterol levels.

Almond flour is full of nutrients like magnesium and potassium. It’s great for baking and other cooking uses.

Brown Rice Flour

Chose brown rice flour over white rice flour as it has more nutrients and fiber. It’s digested easily and works the best for making pasta.

Chickpea Flour

From the garbanzo bean, chickpea flour is an excellent source of B vitamins and folate which means it’s a good option for pregnant women.

Chickpea flour makes a great pancake and is one of the more inexpensive white flour alternatives.

Tapioca Flour

Tapioca flour is a great thickener if you’re making dishes that call for flour to thicken sauces or soups.

Tapioca is low calorie and contains a decent amount of vitamin C.

Amaranth Flour

Amaranth is considered one of nature’s healthiest grains aiding in bone health and protecting against diabetes.

Its nutty flavor makes it a great substitute for a variety of dishes.

How To Use Flour Substitutes

You can start swapping out white flour for these healthy flour alternatives today!

Each flour has its unique texture and flavor. Some might work better than others for different recipes so you might have to research which ones would work best for you.

The good news is making healthy swaps like this one and others will improve your health without having to sacrifice all the foods you enjoy.

You can use these white flour alternatives as well as IdealRaw Protein in your cooking to boost nutrition and flavor.

What is Healthy Flour Anyway?

To put it simply, flour is defined as; a powder obtained by grinding grain. To get granular (pun intended), flour is made from grinding the edible seeds harvested from cereal plants, and these seeds contain three edible parts: the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. The bran contains antioxidants, B vitamins, and fiber and helps to protect the seed until it is ready to grow; the germ contains B vitamins, some protein, and minerals, and stimulates the growth; and the endosperm contains starchy carbohydrates, proteins and small amounts of vitamins and minerals and stores the energy that the plant uses as food. When a grain is ground into a flour, it is broken down into tiny pieces and the bran, germ and endosperm are separated in the process. From here, these different parts can be separated, or combined, to make different types of flour.

Among grains, wheat flour is the most popular because it is the most unique given it’s potential to produce gluten; a protein that imparts strength and elasticity to dough and positively influences the texture of baked goods. However, flour can be made out of any type of grain, including rye, kamut, buckwheat, oat, rice, etc…, and depending on the type of grain used, how it was milled and how it was processed will determine if the flour in question is a healthy flour or not.

Whole Grain Flour vs. Refined Flour

When any grain is made into flour it can be done one of two ways; by grinding the whole grain to make whole-grain flour, or by removing the bran and germ to make refined flour. The difference between whole-grain flour and refined flour is simply that the entire grain (bran, germ and endosperm) where ground to make whole-grain flour, while only the endosperm was used to make refined flour. Although referred to as refined, not all refined flours are a poor choice, it simply means that not all parts of the whole grain we used to make the flour. These terms are not specific to wheat flour, they can be applied to any type of grain flour.

Whole Wheat Flour vs. White Flour

The terms “whole wheat flour” and “white flour” are specific to wheat flours. Whole wheat flour is a whole-grain flour that contains the bran, germ and endosperm, while white flour is the refined version of wheat flour. Contrary to popular belief, white flour does not always mean that the flour was bleached, rather, white flour is simply a refined flour, that has been stripped of the bran and germ, leaving behind the pale endosperm which is, therefore, lighter in colour than whole-grain flour. White flour is more shelf-stable than whole wheat flour, given it does not contain the sensitive bran or germ, but it is, therefore, also less nutrient-dense. On the contrary, whole wheat flour is darker in colour because it is made by grinding all three portions of the seed head into flour.

In addition to “refined white flour”, there is also a strain of wheat called “white wheat”. White wheat is a different type of wheat that has no major genes for bran colour, unlike traditional red wheat which has one to three bran colour genes. Therefore, when ground, all parts intact, into a whole-grain flour, whole white wheat flour resembles refined white flour more than whole wheat flour. Not only is the bran of white wheat lighter in colour but it’s also milder in flavour making it a more enjoyable whole-grain flour choice for those accustomed to the taste of refined flour. Nutritionally speaking, traditional red wheat and white wheat are very similar.

Hard Flour vs. Soft Flour

It is important to understand that there are many different classes of wheat with different characteristics that can be used to make flour and, depending on the overall protein content of the wheat grain, they are categorised into what farmers and millers refer to as “hard wheat” or “soft wheat”. Hard wheat has a high protein content and can develop into a strong elastic dough. Therefore, products made with hard flour, such as bread flour, will hold their shape well once they are baked. On the contrary, soft wheat has a lower gluten content, makes a softer flour, and therefore helps to give products a finer texture making it ideal for baked goods such as cakes, biscuits and pastries.

Stone-Ground Flour vs. Milled Flour

To turn any grain into flour, it needs to go through a milling process, and there are two ways of doing so: stone milling or steel roller milling. Stone milling is an ancient process of milling flour which is done by gently milling whole grains between two stones. Stone-ground flours are thought to be more nutritious because they (typically) contain all parts of the grain, while industrially ground flours are made using high-speed rollers that heat the grain slightly damaging their nutrients.

Bleached Flour vs. Unbleached Flour

White flour, specifically refined white flour, is sometimes treated by bleaching, either with chlorine or benzoyl peroxide. Not only does bleaching add a chemical layer to the flour, but it damages the starch and protein content of the flour. Bleached flour uses bleaching agents to speed up the flour’s aging process, which otherwise would occur naturally through a curing process. The bleaching process results in a whiter, finer-grain flour with a softer texture, and bleached white flour absorbs more liquid than unbleached white flours, and rise better than whole wheat flours.

If you regularly surf Instagram and Pinterest for recipe ideas, you’ve probably seen more mentions of “alternative” flours lately. Almond, coconut, and quinoa are just a few of the flours health food fans have been substituting in for plain old white flour, and the results look delicious.

Nutrition experts are all about it. “It’s a great idea to switch up your flours to help ensure a rotation of various nutrients,” Beth Warren, R.D.N., founder of Beth Warren Nutrition and author of Living a Real Life With Real Food, tells SELF. “Refined flour provides no nutritional benefits.”

Jessica Cording, a New York-based R.D., agrees, telling SELF that alternative flours are a great way to get more nutrients into your diet. Not only that, they’re ideal for people with certain food allergies and intolerances.

While many of these alternative flours rose to popularity because they’re gluten-free, they have plenty of other benefits as well. Here are the most popular alternative flours, plus why they’re worth looking into:

1. Almond flour

This flour is usually made with almonds that have been blanched and then finely ground to a light, flour-y texture. Almond flour offers more protein, healthy fat, and vitamin E than white flour, Alissa Rumsey, M.S., R.D., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells SELF, and it also provides a decent amount of fiber. (Bob’s Red Mill almond flour has six grams of protein and three grams of fiber per ¼ cup.) She recommends using almond flour instead of breadcrumbs or swapping it in for white flour in dense baked goods like brownies.

2. Coconut flour

Coconut flour is a powder-y flour that’s made when coconut pulp is dried out and then ground up. “Coconut flour is high in fiber, has protein, and has better digestible carbs than white flour,” Warren says. That gives it a lower glycemic index, meaning it converts into sugar in your blood at a slower rate and is less likely than white flour to cause blood sugar spikes in your body. While coconut flour is high in dietary fiber (about five grams of fiber per two-tablespoon serving), it’s high in saturated fat compared to other alternative flours. “Just keep that in mind if a recipe also calls for eggs and coconut oil,” two other foods high in saturated fat, Cording says.

Coconut flour is also really dense and absorbs a lot of moisture, which makes it tough to get a light, fluffy texture when you bake with it, she points out. That’s why Cording recommends combining it with other flours or adding it into other foods. Cording mixes it in yogurt—put a tablespoon of coconut flour into plain Greek yogurt, and add a dash of vanilla extract, and some cinnamon for a filling breakfast—and Rumsey recommends it as a coating for seafood.

3. Quinoa flour

While you can buy quinoa flour at the store, you can make this flour easily at home on your own: Take raw quinoa seeds and finely grind them in a high-powered blender or spice grinder until they have a flour-like texture. Quinoa flour is high in protein (a ¼ cup serving contains about four grams of protein) and can be used in muffins, pancakes, and breads, Rumsey says. Cording calls this a “good alternative for people who can’t have wheat,” but says it doesn’t hold its shape as well as other flours. “You may want to combine it with other flours,” she says.

4. Chickpea flour

Made from dried garbanzo beans that are finely ground, chickpea flour is high in protein, fiber, selenium, and B vitamins, Warren says. (A ¼ cup serving contains about five grams of fiber and six grams of protein.) Cording says it’s great for adding texture and holds together pretty well. She recommends using it for crepes, pancakes, socca, breads, or dumplings. However, she points out, “it has a nutty, earthy taste, and some people might not like that.”

5. Brown rice flour

This flour is made from ground-up brown rice and has a texture similar to white flour, but contains more fiber, says Rumsey. “It can be used easily in baked goods,” she says. It’s also high in B vitamins, iron, and manganese, a mineral element that helps your body form connective tissue and bones, Warren says. Cording says the flour is a good option for people who are new to alternative flours. “It’s pretty easy to work with and doesn’t have a strong flavor,” she says.

From a health perspective, Warren says alternative flours should be used over white flour as much as possible.

However, she notes, white flour tends to provide the best consistency when you’re baking because of its gluten content and lower density. If you want a consistency similar to white flour but don’t want to actually use it, Warren recommends opting for whole spelt flour, which isn’t gluten-free but will give your goods a nice, fluffy texture.

For recipes you only make once in a while, like Christmas cookies, Cording says it’s perfectly fine to stick with white flour. “Trying to make too many swaps into something you eat once a year can take away from the experience,” she says. But if you bake often and want to get more nutritional bang for your buck, these flours are worth looking into.


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Four All-Purpose Flour Alternatives

We have a variety of options that will meet just about any need depending on personal preference, dietary restrictions and general demand for nutritious flours.

I haven’t experimented with every variety, however, I am pretty well-versed and biased towards a handful of flours. A little imagination, knowledge of ratios and confidence are what’s needed to brave the new mélange of options. Here’s a rundown of my all-time favorite flours, how they’re made and my favorite dishes that use them.

Pro tip: Storing flour and nuts in a freezer extends the shelf life way beyond the dusty cupboard.

Chickpea Flour

Relatively new to American households, chickpea flour (also called garbanzo bean flour or besan in Indian kitchens) is arguably one of my favorite ingredients. When I was growing up in an Indian household, my mom bought chickpea flour in bulk and stored it in a bottomless plastic bucket — I’m talking 25-pound bags. It’s one of the most versatile flours, and my mom uses it in so many dishes like curries, bread, even desserts. Her signature dish is kadhi, a traditional Gujurati dish she makes two or three times a week that starts with a base of chickpea flour mixed with yogurt and water. It’s a great source of protein, an abundant dose of fiber and gluten-free.

Unlike many gluten-free flours, chickpea flour has endless binding power. A little water and oil with salt turn this pale yellow flour into a dense paste that’s capable of binding to anything. A little secret: Many Indian tandoori chicken recipes call for a small amount of chickpea flour paste to help keep the spices coated to the skin.

Rice Flour

Rice flour is pretty bland on its own but a really versatile option when it comes to making Asian dishes. The most common use for rice flour is to make a slurry to thicken sauces by stirring a little into a liquid. Similar to cornstarch, you can just use white rice flour, brown rice flour or sweet glutinous rice flour, which, despite its name, is gluten-free. Brown and white rice flours are interchangeable in recipes but add different flavors. Use about 2 tablespoons per cup of liquid that needs to be thickened.

While I don’t fry much, there are a couple of recipes that I make in which rice flour plays an invaluable role. As a chef, rice flour is one of my secret ingredients to make anything fried light and airy in texture. In Asia, it’s used in everything from Japanese tempura vegetables to the ever-popular Korean fried chicken, giving fried foods their characteristic pillowy crunch. A key ingredient in the famous Thai dish chicken larb, a chopped meat salad with various Thai seasonings, is rice flour, which is toasted and mixed with the meat to help bind the sauce.

Almond Flour

All nut flours are made from grinding what’s leftover of nuts after the oil is removed, while nut meals are made from grinding the whole nut. I’ve found in recipes, most nut flours are interchangeable. After living in Italy, I became obsessed with an almond orange cake served at pretty much any reputable coffee shop. A pretty straightforward recipe to execute — a combination of eggs, sugar, oranges, vanilla extract and almond flour — it is a deliciously bold and immensely moist cake. The nut flour and sugar make this less than ideal for a light dessert, but given that it doesn’t have all-purpose flour or any oil, it’s healthier than a traditional cake. This recipe gets bonus points because I once made it directly on the stovetop and finished in the oven!

All nut flours add a great, rich flavor to baked goods. Nut flour can be higher in calories but is considered a healthy fat with more protein than regular and alternative flours, which can keep you feeling satisfied. I like using a mix of nut flour and buckwheat as a breading option for chicken cutlets. It’s very easy to make nut flour at home using a high-speed blender.

Buckwheat Flour

The newest to me is buckwheat flour. Don’t let the name fool you, it doesn’t contain wheat, it’s made from a seed. This is the “it flour” and my go-to for pancakes, muffins or savory crepes. Buckwheat flour is packed with fiber and protein and has an assertive flavor and nutty aftertaste. At first glance, the flour is darker in color than other flours, but it has a wonderfully distinctive, lightly floral flavor and is used in just as many savory dishes as sweet. For anyone with a gluten intolerance or aim to cut back on regular flour, buckwheat flour can be used on its own in recipes or combined with other types of gluten free-flour like brown rice or even an all-purpose flour. If you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at making soba noodles, blinis or these piece-of-cake pancakes at home with buckwheat flour.


Buckwheat Flour Flapjacks


  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose or spelt flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • Berries and syrup, optional but necessary


  1. Mix the dry ingredients.
  2. Mix the wet ingredients separately.
  3. Mix these together and let sit for 10 minutes. Ladle pancakes 1/2 cup at a time onto a non-stick pan.

Explore more alternative ingredients in ICE’s Health-Supportive Culinary Arts program.

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Whole-wheat flour makes for a more wheat-y and substantial bread. Recipes that call for white flour can be adapted to include some whole-wheat flour. For every cup of whole-wheat flour you use, add 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons water. This is because the bran and high protein content of whole-wheat flour make it very absorbent, so it needs more water. If you want to substitute whole-wheat flour for all of the white flour, it’s best to add 2 teaspoons of vital wheat gluten per cup because the bran contained in whole-wheat flour cuts through gluten and weakens the structure of the bread. The vital wheat gluten helps restore some of that lost structure. For each teaspoon of vital wheat gluten, add 1 1/4 teaspoons more water. (This water is in addition to the 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons water per cup of flour that you add to compensate for using whole-wheat flour.) Also, once you exceed 50% whole-wheat flour, you will need to keep the dough very sticky after mixing, and slightly sticky after the second rise, then add flour only as needed when shaping. This is because the bran in the whole-wheat flour is slower to absorb moisture evenly.

When making bread with whole-wheat flour, only allow it to rise to 1 1/2 times its size (rather than double). Whole-wheat flour makes dough less extensible, so if you let it double it will not be able to support the rise and will lose much of its loft.

Durum wheat flour has the highest protein of all flour. However, the gluten that forms when water is added is not elastic, so durum wheat needs to be used in combination with other flours. Bread can be made with up to 26% durum wheat flour. Pugliesi is an example of bread made with durum wheat flour.

Rye flour does not contain any gluten-forming proteins, so it is used in conjunction with a minimum of 80% white wheat flour (less, and the rye would cause the bread to be gummy).

Pumpernickel flour is whole rye flour that is coarsely ground. It has to be used with a minimum of 70% white wheat flour.

Keep your flour out of the bag and in an airtight container to maintain freshness.

Photo by Buying and Storing Flour

National brands tend to be the most reliable, but it’s really a matter of personal preference. Before purchasing, be sure to check the expiration date to make sure the flour is as fresh as possible and buy flour and buy flour with the appropriate protein content for the bread you wish to make.

Last updated on January 1st, 2020 at 07:59 am

The science of understanding bread flour is complex and wide. No single person can sway bread lovers to one direction.

However, one fact remains pretty clear – The brand of best bread flour used has a direct bearing on the final taste.

It is either things turns out to be too much or too little, which may result in the lack of the desired flavors and quality.

The best advice about bread flours is going the practical way. Try different types of bread flour, try mixing them and see how they what difference they make.

They have different protein and gluten content thus more suitable when used for given baking. Well, let’s dig deeper and explore the different types of bread flour.

My Top Selection

Great River Organic Whole Wheat Bread Flour

Great River Organic Whole Wheat Bread Flour is an organic bread that is committed to promoting a cycle of healthy living among bread dieters.

This best flour brand is finely ground to produce a pleasant flavorful character. It is a great option to those that own whole grain bread making machines.

All the way from the Northern plain where this flour’s wheat is grown, we finally enjoy incredible results. It is milled from hard red spring wheat. Additionally, this flour is a certified organic flour as approved by Kosher and QAI.

Your health is not putting at risk in any way because it is also GMO-free and best flour for bread making. For a tastier bread, I highly recommend the Great River Whole Wheat Organic Bread.

Features of Great River Organic Whole Wheat Bread Flour

  • Produces impressive results when used with a whole grain cycle bread machine
  • Stone-ground to the finer flour
  • Certified organic product
  • Milled from red spring wheat
  • Packed in 25-Pounds bags
  • Best bread flour brand

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Question: I don’t see good reviews on this flour? Is it good or a terrible one?

Answer: Well, based on my experience, I love the fact that I get the whole organic wheat. I use it for my bread, breadsticks, pizza, and it pretty works well.

  • Question: How different is this whole wheat flour from whole wheat pastry flour?

Answer: This is milled from red spring wheat and has higher protein and gluten content. Pastry flour, on the other hand, is made from white winter wheat.

  • Question: How much fiber does this flour contain?

Answer: Such information is not provided. However, you can research on that.

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Bob’s Red Mill Organic Dark Rye Flour

The Bob’s Red Mill Organic Dark Rye Flour never disappoints but instead makes tasty and flavorful recipes.

If you happen to be a fan of European-style dark bread then the Bob’s Red Mill Rye Flour is the best flour brand for bread.

It offers 4g of protein plus; it is an excellent dietary source of iron and fiber. This 100% whole grain flour comes in a pack of 4 with each bag weighing 22 oz.

Features of Bob’s Red Mill Organic Dark Rye Flour

  • Certified organic flour by QAI
  • 100% whole grain Rye Flour
  • Excellent source of iron and fiber
  • Come in packs of 4; each 22 oz.
  • Question: Is this flour starch-free

Answer: No, it is a gluten carb

  • Question: Does the Bob’ Red Contain caraway seeds?

Answer: No

  • Question: How finely-ground is this flour comparing it to bleached white flour?

Answer: It is very fine but as fine as pastry flour.

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King Arthur Flour Unbleached Bread Flour

This bread flour brand is specifically for those that desire the best baking experience. King Arthur is inspired by attention to detail, health-consciousness, and consistency in milling.

You can bake the highest rising yeast bread with this flour. I love the fact that it is unbleached flour that has scooped the top medal as American’s finest flour since the year 1790.

It is exclusively produced for the soft white sandwich or whole grain bread. King Arthur Flour Unbleached Bread Flour produces the chewy crust that will make you beg for more.

Features of King Arthur Flour Unbleached Bread Flour

  • Exclusive yeast baking flour
  • Unbleached and non-bromated flour
  • Higher protein content
  • Delivers the best baking experience
  • Question: Can I use this flour to make biscuits?

Answer: I guess you can. However, note that biscuits may turn out to be less flaky and chewy

  • Question: Does this flour work when used in a bread machine?

Answer: Yes, it works fine. I have done it severally.

  • Question: Is this white flour, how different is it from all-purpose flour?

Answer: No, this is bread flour. It has a higher protein content than all-purpose flour.

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King Arthur Flour Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

This bread flour brand is another hard-to-find brand from the World Renowned King Arthur that makes a whole big difference in your baking experience.

This all-purpose flour reflects the essence of consistent milling, attention to detail and naturalness. It is milled from 100% U.S wheat and unlike other cheap brands, this isn’t bleached, neither is it bromated.

King Arthur Flour Unbleached All-Purpose Flour is an ideal choice for cooking brownies, cookies, muffins, yeast bread, pies and yeast bread.

Features of King Arthur Flour Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

  • Unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Perfect choice for cookies, muffins or yeast bread
  • Made from 100% U.S. wheat
  • Question: What is the shelf life of this flour?

Answer: It depends on the way you store the product. If you keep in the freezer, it will last longer.

  • Question: Is this product all natural or fortified?

Answer: It is unbleached but contains enrichments. If you want all-natural flour look for 100% organic flour brands, then this bread flour brand is perfect for you.

  • Question: Is this flour white or dark?

Answer: It is unbleached white. Quality is great

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White Lily Unbleached Bread Flour

Prepare inventive recipes such as bread, pizza crusts, and rolls with the White Lily Bread Four. It is an incredible product that will let you enjoy delicious combinations in the comfort of your home.

Because of the high gluten and protein content, this flour is ideal for top rising bread. Plus, it works pretty fine with all bread machines.

Since the year 1883, the White Lily Unbleached Bread Flour has been the reason Southern Cooks enjoy super-delicious foods.

Features of White Lily Unbleached Bread Flour

  • Works great with all bread machines
  • Good dietary source of protein
  • Ultimate four for high-rising bread
  • No bleaching
  • Works fine for pizza crusts, rolls, bread and more
  • Question: I do not have a bread machine, is this flour ideal for me?

Answer: Well, even though this machine works fine with bread machines, it doesn’t mean you must have one.

  • Question: Is this product soft white winter wheat? Is it GMO-free?

Answer: This is typically higher protein bread flour. The wheat is non-GMO.

  • Question: Has anyone ever used this flour on croissants?

Answer: Well, I am not sure about that but I guess you can give it a try. I do use it to make bagels.

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Different Types Of Flour For Bread

Other types of flours used for baking bread may exist, but the following are the major ones:

  • White Whole Wheat Flour

White whole wheat flour is more the same as the whole wheat flour but light-colored. It is milled from the hard white spring wheat that is sweet.

Its gluten content is about 12%. Most bakers use it together with all-purpose flour.

  • Whole Wheat Flour

Whole wheat flour is milled from the entire kernel and contains wheat germ and bran. It does provide more nutrients and is heavier when compared to all-purpose flour.

For this reason, some bakers prefer mixing this flour with the all-purpose flour or adds gluten to counteract the high-dense effect.

  • All-Purpose Flour

All-Purpose flour is the most common bread flour that combines both hard and soft wheat. It has a gluten content of 9-11%.

It is widely used in most baked food products. The bleached type is not recommended for home baking.

Bread Flour is the type that makes the cream of the bread. It is a bit pricier because it is aged without involving any chemicals.

It has a higher gluten content and thus requires more liquid when used.

Final Verdict

There are several flour brand names, and I can pinpoint tone particular flour and mark it as the “Best Bread Flour.”

It also, I have included best flour for baking cakes and best flour for baking bread, but I didn’t categorize them.

While I have tested the above bread flour brands, I didn’t find any significant difference between baking cakes flour and bread flour.

It is up to you to try several brands and see which one matches your personal preference. However, the above brands are some of the best you can find out there.

Expect a better baking experience and delicious tasty bread flour recipes. I highly recommend them to anyone that loves baking things.

Are You Baking with the Right Flour?

Wheat flour is the backbone of the baked goods we love. But with flour, one size doesn’t always fit all. One type of flour is best for baking bread, another type for pastries. Read on to discover the right flour for every baking need.

Image zoom Flour Blend | Photo by Buckwheat Queen

The Two Types of Wheat

There are two types of wheat: hard and soft. The key difference between them is protein content. Hard wheat is higher in protein than soft wheat — and it is the protein that contains the gluten that allows breads and other baked goods to rise.

Where wheat is grown can determine protein content: Northwestern U.S. and western Canada produce hard wheat that’s very high in protein, while the southern U.S. states grow a softer wheat with less protein.

All-purpose flour includes a happy balance of hard and soft flours. And as the name suggests, it is a type of flour that lets you make a wide variety of baked goods without having to stock up on multiple types of flour.

What to Make with All-Purpose Flour: Cookies, cakes, muffins, quick breads, biscuits, and pie crusts.

Image zoom Photo by Meredith

Use all-purpose flour in these recipes:

  • Apple Strudel Muffins
  • Banana Banana Bread
  • E-Z Drop Biscuits
  • Apple Crumb Pie
  • Blueberry Buckle

Bread benefits from a high-protein flour (about 13 percent, compared to about 11 percent for all-purpose flour). When combined with water and developed by mixing and kneading, the gluten becomes elastic and stretches around gas bubbles produced by the yeast. When gas bubbles expand in the oven, the gluten goes along for the ride. The result is a nice fat loaf of bread.

Interestingly, of all the grains, wheat is the only one that packs gluten-producing proteins. To rise properly, breads made with other grains (like rye, corn, or oats) must be fortified with wheat flour or gluten.

As a home baker, you can ignore language on bread flour labels saying “first clear flour,” “patent flour,” and “high gluten flour.” You’ll be fine with the blend of bread flour found in any national brand.

Can you substitute all-purpose flour for bread flour? Yes, you can. Bread flour gives you that chewy, elastic crumb that’s often desirable in bread, but you can substitute AP flour and still get a beautiful loaf of bread.

What to make with bread flour: Breads, rolls, and recipes that want a chewy, elastic crumb.

Image zoom Amish White Bread | Photo by Daniel Martinec

Use bread flour in these recipes:

  • Amish White Bread
  • Jo’s Rosemary Bread
  • French Baguettes
  • Buttery Pan Rolls
  • Soft Sandwich Buns

Cake Flour

Cake flour is a lower-protein flour (about 8 percent protein) that’s also bleached with chlorine, which alters the structure of the starches and fats and makes the flour slightly acidic. Always sift cake flour before using it in a recipe.

In a pinch, you can substitute all-purpose flour for cake flour — with some tweaking, that is. A straight substitution of all-purpose flour in recipes specifically formulated for cake flour would not produce happy results. However, you can approximate cake flour by reducing the protein level of your all-purpose flour — do this by adding cornstarch to the flour:

How to make quasi cake flour: For every cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons of the flour, and replace it with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Sift the flour well before using in recipes.

What to make with cake flour: Cakes and other recipes that call for it.

Image zoom Make Your Own Cake Flour | Photo by Meredith

Use cake flour in these recipes:

  • Aunt Johnnie’s Pound Cake
  • Heavenly White Cake
  • Raspberry Walnut Torte
  • Strawberry Cake from Scratch
  • David’s Yellow Cake

Pastry Flour

Pastry flour is a medium-protein flour (about 9 percent protein) that produces tender pie crusts. If you use a flour with too much protein, your pastry can become tough; too little, and the pastry can be brittle and hard to work with. Medium is just right.

In a pinch, you can make your own version of pastry flour by combining one part cornstarch to two parts all-purpose flour.

What to make with pastry flour: Pie crust, pastries, breadings for battered and fried foods.

Image zoom Whole Wheat Flour and Whole Wheat Pastry Flour | Photo by Meredith

Use pastry flour in these recipes:

  • Opera
  • Beer Batter for Fish
  • Pumpkin Tart With Pecan Crust
  • Gramma’s Date Squares
  • Whole Grain Waffles

Self-Rising Flour

Self-rising flour already contains baking powder, so you don’t need to add any leavening agents.

You can make your own self-rising flour: Just add 1½ teaspoons of baking powder and ¼ teaspoon of salt per cup of flour (or by weight: 5-7 g of baking powder and .5 g of salt per 100 g of flour).

What to make with self-rising flour: Quick breads, biscuits, muffins, and pancakes.

Image zoom Self-Rising Flour | Photo by Meredith

Use self-rising flour in these recipes:

  • Easy Mayonnaise Biscuits
  • Beer Bread I
  • Pumpkin Roll II
  • Butterfly Buns
  • Vicki’s Hush Puppies

Whole wheat flour contains all of the nutrients found in the wheat kernel and results in dense, hearty baked goods. If 100% whole wheat bread tastes a little bit too healthy for you, try a ratio of half whole wheat, half bread flour.

You might need to adjust your liquids to hydrate the flour fully (use more water if you’re adding whole wheat flour to a recipe, less if you’re substituting bread flour for whole wheat).

Note: The natural oils in flours, especially whole grain flours, can spoil and turn rancid. Flour of all types should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer if you bake infrequently. It should smell and taste “wheaty,” not musty or stale.

Image zoom Whole Grain Banana Muffins | Photo by CCLoves2Bake

Use whole-wheat flour in these recipes:

  • Whole Grain Banana Muffins
  • Henry and Maudie’s Oatmeal Cookies
  • Simple Whole Wheat Bread
  • Honey Wheat Sandwich Rolls
  • Pizza Dough II

More about Wheat

The wheat berry is made up of bran, germ, and endosperm:

The bran is the hard outer shell that covers the wheat berry. An excellent source of fiber, the bran also contains most of the minerals. Because the bran has sharp edges, which interfere with gluten development, it is removed during milling — and then often added back in later.

The germ is the part of the grain that would become the plant. Wheat germ is very high in protein and B vitamins. It is removed in the milling process because its high fat content causes the flour to become rancid more quickly. Wheat germ should be stored in the refrigerator.

The endosperm is the food that the seed would consume on its way to becoming a plant. The flour that we use for baking, unless it is whole wheat, has had the germ and the bran removed. The remaining endosperm is composed mostly of starch and protein.

Image zoom Wheat berries | Photo by Meredith

Freshly ground wheat might smell great, but it doesn’t make an optimum loaf: as flour ages, it creates stronger gluten, resulting in a more elastic dough and a lighter loaf. Aging also changes the color of flour from pale yellow to white. Millers have sped up this aging process with chlorine and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) , which also helps the flour look whiter.

Bread Machine Flour

Special bread machine flours are generally just high-protein flours, although some brands might contain dough conditioners like malted barley flour (diastatic malt powder), ascorbic acid, or lecithin.

How to Make Bread Machine Pizza Dough

Get the recipe for Bread Machine Pizza Dough.

  • Bread Machine Recipes

Cup-to-Gram Conversions for Types of Flour

Protein Contents of Wheat Flours

U.S. and Canada

European Flours

  • Italian soft wheat, Type 0 or 00 11-12%
  • French Type 55 (blend of hard and soft wheat) 9-10%
  • English plain flour 7-10%

About Vital Wheat Gluten

If you don’t have the storage space or don’t bake often enough to buy several different types of flour, you can buy a small bag of gluten flour. By adding about a tablespoon of gluten for every cup of flour in your recipe, you can make your all-purpose flour have the protein level and strength of bread flour (follow package instructions). It’s expensive, but a little goes a long way. Gluten is available at health food stores and some supermarkets; brands to look for are Bob’s Red Mill, Arrowhead Mills, and Hodgson Mill.

The Best Healthy Flours to Make Your Own Bread at Home

These three flours are a good place to start when you’re baking at home. You’ll want to combine them with wheat to get a nice texture, says Jessica Oost, the director of culinary operations at Matthew Kenny Cuisine, a plant-based restaurant and wellness company. Here are her guidelines for mixing them, but feel free to dabble with your dough. (You see? Carbs don’t have to be the enemy of a healthy diet. Here are 10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty About Eating Bread.)

Ancient-grain flours, like those made from amaranth, teff, and millet, are high in protein and make loaves light and moist. Use them to replace one-fourth of the wheat flour in a bread recipe. (Switch up your diet with these other ancient grains.)

Chickpea flour has an intense nuttiness and adds a subtle sweetness, making it one of Oost’s go-tos. Sub it for one-fourth of the bread flour. (Up Next: 5 Easy Gluten-Free Made from Chickpea Flour.)

Buckwheat flour, which is actually made from a seed, not wheat, gives bread a darker color and a richer taste. Try a 50-50 ratio of wheat to buckwheat flour.

Find Your Flour

These widely available brands will bake up a superior loaf.

Bob’s Red Mill makes bean, grain, nut, and seed flours, many of which are gluten- or grain-free.

King Arthur Flourhas single-grain options as well as multigrain mixes.

Jovial sells flours that are made from einkorn, an ancient strain of wheat that’s higher in B vitamins and protein and lower in gluten. The company also makes a gluten-free bread flour.

  • By Marnie Soman Schwartz @marnwrites

Home > Home Milling > Flour Types

Types of Flour used to make bread

Flour is the primary ingredient in bread. The kind of flour used will determine the nature of the loaf. The better the flour, the better your bread will taste. Listed below are the main types of flour that can be used to make bread.

Wheat flours:

The main ingredient in most bread products. Wheat is rich in gluten, a protein that gives dough its elasticity and strength. When yeast and flour are mixed with liquid and then kneaded or beaten, the gluten forms and stretches to create a network that traps the carbon dioxide bubbles produced by the yeast. Read more about wheat flours.

Are you looking for bread flour?
View our selection of bread flours for baking bread.

Other Wheat Grains:

Breads made with whole wheat grains and whole wheat flour have a rich flavor as well as a coarse texture and dark brown color. If you prefer a lighter flavor, you can use white whole wheat flour. Breads made with white whole wheat have a sweeter taste and a pale golden color and a lighter texture. You’ll find this texture to be somewhere between the texture of whole wheat and white bread.

You can substitute Spelt, einkorn, emmer, and triticale flour for whole wheat flour in bread-baking recipes, but the texture will be a little bit different and the flavor will be deeper and richer.

By-products of milling white flours are unprocessed wheat bran and wheat germ. They add color, nutrition, and fiber to breads.

Wheat germ, Wheat Berries, Barley and Millet

Wheat Bran is the outer husk of the wheat, which is separated from the white flour during processing. Add a spoonful or two to your favorite recipe to provide extra fiber, texture and flavor. Or, substitute the wheat bran for part of the white bread flour.

Wheat Germ is the embryo or heart of the grain kernel. You can use it in its natural state or toast it for a nutty flavor.

Cracked Wheat is the whole wheat kernel, broken down into rather large pieces. The pieces are hard so it is best to soften them.

Bulghur Wheat is made from the grain of wheat. It is partially processed by boiling, which cracks the wheat kernel. You can add bulghur wheat to doughs to provide a crunchy texture.

Tips for using wheat grains

  • Wheat germ increases the nutritional value of bread, but it also inhibits the gluten action. Do not use more than 2 tablespoons for every 2 cups of flour.
  • To soften cracked wheat, simmer in hot water for 15 minutes, then drain and cool.
  • You don’t have to cook bulghur before using in a recipe, but you might want to soften it by soaking it in water.

Mill your own wheat for flour

Would you like to learn how to milling your own flour? Freshly milled wheat is much sweeter than store-bought whole wheat flour and it tastes better.

Visit the home milling section to learn how to mill your own flour for nutritious and wholesome bread. View a selection of whole grains.

Non-wheat flours:

Such as millet, rice and rye do not contain gluten so they must be mixed with a large proportion of wheat flour to make a traditionally shaped bread. Read more about non-wheat flours.


Flour is a basic ingredient in all bread making. Wheat flour is the most common flour used in bread making. It contains high amounts of proteins that, when mixed with liquids, form gluten. Gluten, a necessary component in yeast-leavened breads, is a rubbery substance that gives structure and elasticity to doughs. The amount of gluten in the flour will affect the volume and tenderness of your breads. When your yeast dough is kneaded, the gluten forms a structured network that is responsible for capturing the gases produced by the yeast, allowing the dough to stretch and expand during rising.

Choosing the correct flour is important for making good bread. Flour isn’t just flour. There are two basic types of wheat grown in North America, hard and soft. Hard wheat has a higher level of protein, making it the wheat of choice for most yeast doughs. Soft wheat has a lower level of protein and is best suited for making pastries and cakes.

Types of Flour

There are two types of wheat flour:

1. White flours are milled from the endosperm or inner part of the wheat kernel.

  • Bread flour is the preferred flour for yeast-leavened products. It is made from hard wheat and contains high amounts of the gluten-forming proteins.
  • All-purpose flour is a blend of hard and soft wheat and contains lower amounts of the proteins that form gluten. It is the most versatile of all the wheat flours and can be used for cookies, cakes and pies. Yeast-leavened breads made with All-purpose flour tend to be smaller and more compact.

Some brands of All-purpose flour contain higher amounts of protein that would make them comparable to bread flour quality. Protein levels of around 12-14% are sufficient for yeast-leavened breads.

2. Whole grain flours are milled from the entire wheat kernel, which includes the bran and germ.

  • Yeast breads baked with the whole grain flours (like whole wheat) are more compact and lower in volume than those made from white flour.
  • The whole grain wheat flours form less gluten and are usually combined with bread flour to insure good volume and appearance in breads. You can substitute up to 50% of bread flour with the whole grain flour. Start substituting in whole grain flours with a lower percentage, working your way up as you make more breads. You will need to adjust your recipe, so take notes along the way.
  • Whole grain wheat flours can be used alone, however, the loaves are heavier and denser, but have an excellent flavor.
  • To compensate for the low bread volumes, other ingredients like eggs and cottage cheese can be added to help make the dough lighter, rise higher and have a better texture and taste.

Other flours used in bread making

  • Rye flours are also used frequently in breads. Rye flours form less gluten than wheat flours, and are usually combined with a substantially larger amount of bread flour in order for the bread to rise. Rye flours are natural flours with no additives.
  • Flours milled from other grains (such as buckwheat, corn, rice, barley, oat, and soy) are also used in yeast-leavened breads and other baked goods. These flours are not a variety of wheat flour nor do they contain any gluten. Nevertheless, small quantities may be substituted for bread flour to make a delicious, homey loaf.
  • These flours add unique flavor, color and texture to breads generally associated with old-fashioned baking.
  • Self-rising flour is an All-purpose flour that has baking soda and salt added. It is used for dumplings, biscuits and pancakes. Self-rising flour is never used in yeast breads.

Usage Tips for Flour

How to measure flour correctly

Flour is sifted many times before being packaged. During shipping, it settles and becomes compact. It is important not to dip the measuring cup into the flour bag; instead, scoop or spoon the flour lightly into a dry measuring cup. Do not tap or shake the cup to put more flour into it. Using the flat edge of a knife, scrape off the excess to make the flour even with the rim of the measuring cup. This method will assure an accurate measurement. Do not sift flour unless your recipe calls for it.

To get the “scoop” on more Baking Tips visit our Tips & Troubleshooting section.

Moisture variences in your flour

In your recipes, flour usage can vary by up to 1/2 cup. Flour is like a sponge. It’s moisture content can vary because of differences in flour brands, protein levels, weather conditions, and how the flour has been stored.

  • Higher protein flours absorb more liquid, so less flour is needed in. Lower protein flours absorb less liquid, so more flour is needed.
  • In humid weather doughs may be more sticky as the flour absorbs moisture from the air; more flour may be needed in your recipe. Under dry conditions (or if flour is stored near heat), doughs may be drier as flour loses moisture to the air; less flour may be needed in your recipe.

KNOW YOUR DOUGH! Always start out using the lower amount of flour in the range suggested in your recipe, adding more in as needed during the mixing and kneading stage. Doughs that are too dry or too wet will not rise well. See the Mixing and Kneading section of our Baking Steps Guide for more information.

Storage Tips for Flour

  • Store flour in an airtight container, in a cool, dry place away from heat. Flour can be refrigerated or frozen for long-term storage.
  • Let flour come to room temperature before using.
  • Whole grain flours and other varieties of flour have a higher amount of fat and should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer to preserve its freshness and baking quality.
  • Avoid storing flour in self-defrosting refrigerators, since they tend to dry out flour.

Flour for baking bread

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