dcsimg

The Cooking Power of Alternative Flour

In the Pantry

Discussions of alternative flours are often centered around wheat allergies, celiac disease, and gluten-free cooking, but there are many other reasons to venture beyond the all-purpose (AP) realm and experiment with other varieties of flour. Even if your diet is free of restrictions, different grain and plant flours can contribute delectable flavor and textural elements to savory recipes and baked goods. So whether you're a home or professional chef, gluten-free or gluten-glutton, peruse the information below to discover new flours.

Culinary Arts

Flour Varieties and Substitutes

Arrowroot Flour: A starch derived from the arrowroot plant, this flour best replaces wheat flour and cornstarch as a thickening agent in soups, sauces, and stews. While often more expensive and obscure than the other two common thickeners, arrowroot imparts a better surface sheen, has a more neutral flavor, and adapts the best to freezing.

Wheat and Gluten-free: yes

Buckwheat Flour: Although "wheat" appears in the name, buckwheat is a cousin of the rhubarb plant, and has no relation to the cereal. While it's safe for gluten-free diets in its pure form, cooks often mix it with other flours (both wheat and alternative) because of its powerful taste. Nutty and hearty, its flavor works well for savory crepes or rustic pancakes with butter and blackberries.

Wheat and Gluten-free: yes

Doppio Zero (aka "00") Flour: This high-gluten wheat flour isn't suitable for all diets, but it's commonly used in the restaurant industry to create excellent house-made pastas and supple dough for pizza. Low protein and highly refined, this Italian standby may have health nuts griping, but these qualities result in wonderful flavors and textures, giving "license to kill" your seven-grain-loving conscience.

Wheat and Gluten-free: no

Brown Rice Flour: Heavier, higher in fiber, and containing bran, this flour is more nutritious, but equally as delicious as white rice flour. It's less universally applicable, but gives extra flavor and texture to muffins, breads, and cookies.

Wheat and Gluten-free: yes

Corn Semolina: While regular semolina flour is a wheat flour made from grinding the endosperm of durum wheat, corn semolina uses a similar process, but with corn instead of wheat grains. Coarsely ground, it's the basis for American grits, but more refined corn semolina can be used to make pasta dough, similar to regular semolina flour. Delicious for light, summer pastas that showcase the season's vegetables.

Wheat and Gluten-free: no

Potato Flour: Different from potato starch flour--a fantastic, AP alternative flour for wheat and gluten-free cooks--potato flour is relatively heavy and distinctly reminiscent of the starchy vegetable. It's excellent for thickening soups that incorporate potatoes, like potato-leek or creamy New England clam chowder, as well as making potato breads.

Wheat and Gluten-free: yes

Tapioca Flour: Derived from the cassava roots native to the Amazon, this delicate, white flour was largely popular in South American cuisine before making its way to the States. Today, amateur and pro chefs worldwide use it as a thickening agent in sauces or in baking to impart a nice texture to breads and sweets.

Wheat and Gluten-free: yes

White Rice Flour: Often used in Asian cuisine, this flour milled from polished white rice has a multitude of uses. Not particularly flavorful or textured, it's a good substitute for AP flour in gluten- or wheat-free cooking. Cooks of all varieties find that it crisps particularly well when used in breading, batter, or coating for foods to be fried. A staple in tempura, imagine that crackling outer texture and try it on your next batch of fried chicken.

Wheat and Gluten-free: yes

Purchasing and Storing Your Flour

You can find most alternative flours for gluten and wheat-free recipes in health food stores, and most specialty flours like corn semolina and doppio zero online or in gourmet food stores. Flour is a pretty resilient ingredient, but it's always best to store it in an airtight container for a longer shelf-life. Because alternative flours are often less processed than wheat flour, store them in your refrigerator to maintain freshness.

Additional Resources:

Browse Culinary Arts Schools & Colleges

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT

    See More

  • DEGREE

    See More

  • PROGRAM TYPE

  • START TIME

    LOCATION
    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            1 Program(s) Found

            Baker College is the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. Our mission is to prepare you for meaningful employment.

            1 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            4 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
            Show more [+]
            4 Program(s) Found
            Virginia College , Fort Pierce
            • Instructors are typically real-world professionals with many years of experience in their career fields.
            • Ranked #3 in Best for Vets: Career & Technical Colleges 2014 by Military Times.
            • Presents the full tuition cost up front. In most cases, even textbooks are included in the total price.
            • Provides career services associates to help students review their resume, provide career counseling, help with job searches, and more.
            • Has 27 campus locations across the southern United States, plus offers online degree programs.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            3 Program(s) Found
            • Offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef.
            • Students are trained by professional chefs and spend the majority of their final term working in the campus restaurant to learn all phases of the culinary industry.
            • St. Louis campus offers new Food Truck Entrepreneurship courses.
            • Has a student-run food truck that tours around St. Louis.
            • All campuses have a public restaurant where food is prepared and served by students.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits