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Wheat Flours


wheat flour   Includes: (from hardest to softest flours)  durum wheat flour and semolina flour (typically used for making pastas), whole wheat flour and graham flour (typically mixed with all-purpose or bread flour to make bread or baked goods), bread flour (typically used for making yeast breads), all-purpose flour (can be used for breads and baked goods), pastry flour (typically used for pastries), and cake flour (typically used for cakes).  Substitutions:  See the all-purpose flour listing.


For general baking

For yeast breads For coating fish and meat before frying



all-purpose flour = flour = plain flour (Britain)    Notes:  Bleached and unbleached versions of all-purpose flour can be used interchangeably, though bleached flour is whiter and has less vitamin E than unbleached.  Equivalents:  1 pound = 3 3/4 cups unsifted flour = 4 cups sifted flour  


For general baking

For yeast breads For coating fish and meat before frying Notes:  See also flour in the thickeners section of the Cook's Thesaurus.

biscuit mix  Notes:    Use this mix to make biscuits as well as pancakes and other baked goods.  Bisquick is a well-known brand.   To make biscuits from biscuit mix, combine 2 parts biscuit mix with 1 part water, roll out on floured surface, cut into biscuits, and bake for about 10 minutes at 425.   To make your own:   Combine 3 cups flour (preferable cake or pastry flour), 1/3 cup powdered milk, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup shortening.  Sift together the dry ingredients, then mix in the shortening until the mix reaches a sandy consistency.  Cover and store in a cool place.

Bisquick  See biscuit mix.

bran  See wheat bran.


bread flour = hard-wheat flour  =  strong flour = high-gluten flour  Notes:  This flour has a high level of gluten, which gives bread more structure.  Don't confuse it with gluten flour (also called vital wheat gluten), which is pure gluten and used as a bread additive or to make seitan.   Substitutes:   all-purpose flour (easier to knead; will result in smaller loaf; consider supplementing with gluten according to package directions or add 2 teaspoons per cup of flour)  Notes:  To see how to substitute other flours when making yeast breads, see the listing under all-purpose flour.


cake flour = soft-wheat flour   Equivalents:   4 1/2 cups cake flour = 1 pound  Includes:   self-rising cake flour   These substitutions will perform better if you also do this:  (1) Mix the batter as little as possible. (2) Separate eggs, beat the whites, and fold them into the batter  Substitutes:   pastry flour  (This has more protein than cake flour but less than all-purpose flour. Cakes made with pastry flour tend to be a bit less delicate and crumbly.) OR  all purpose flour (Substitute 7/8 cup all-purpose flour for each cup of cake flour and add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch for every 7/8 cup all-purpose flour used.  Cakes made with all purpose flour tend to be less delicate and crumbly.)  

Cream of Wheat  See farina.

durum wheat flour  Substitutes:  semolina flour


farina = sooji   Notes:  Cream of Wheat is a popular brand.

flour  See all-purpose flour

graham flour  Substitutes:  whole wheat flour (fewer nutrients)


gluten flour = instant gluten flour = pure gluten flour = vital wheat gluten   Notes:  This is flour with the starch and bran removed.  Don't confuse it with bread flour = high-gluten flour, which is gluten-fortified flour, or with gluten = seitan, a meat analogue used in vegetarian dishes.  Pure gluten flour is usually added to regular flour to turn it into bread flour, or it's used to make seitan. 

hard-wheat flour   See bread flour.  

high-gluten flour  See bread flour.

instant gluten flour  See gluten flour

pancake flour  See self-rising flour.


pastry flour  Shopping hints:  Look for this in health food stores and specialty shops.  Substitutes: equal parts cake flour and all-purpose flour OR 7/8 C all-purpose flour + 2 tablespoons cornstarch OR 7/8 C all-purpose flour (All-purpose flour has more gluten than pastry flour--and gluten makes baked goods tougher. To offset this, handle the dough as little as possible, chill the fat before cutting it into the flour, add the minimal amount of liquid, and consider adding more fat to the recipe.)

plain flour  See all-purpose flour.

pure gluten flour  See gluten flour

self-rising flour = (in older cookbooks) pancake flour  Shopping hints:  This is more commonly used in the South than in the North. Substitutes: 1 C all-purpose flour + 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder + ½ teaspoon salt


semolina  Substitutes:  durum wheat flour (also good for pastas, inferior color) OR kamut flour (This makes a decent pasta and can be tolerated by most people with wheat allergies) OR spelt flour (Like kamut flour, this makes a good pasta and is tolerated by most people with wheat allergies.) OR all-purpose flour (Pasta made entirely of this is less firm than that made with semolina. To keep it from getting mushy, cook the pasta in plenty of water and eat it immediately after it's cooked.)

soft-wheat flour  See cake flour.

sooji    See farina.  

stone-ground whole wheat flour   See whole wheat flour.

strong flour  See bread flour

unbleached flour  Substitutes: bleached flour (for more information, visit the Illinois Cooperative Extension's Unbleached Flour page)

vital wheat gluten  See gluten flour.


wheat bran = bran    Substitutes: oat bran (moister, more appealing flavor than wheat bran) OR wheat germ


wheat germ  Substitutes: wheat bran (as ingredient in baked goods) OR ground sunflower seeds (to add protein to bread)

white flour  See bread flour, all-purpose flour, pastry flour, or cake flour.

wholemeal flour  See whole wheat flour.


whole wheat flour = wholemeal flour (Britain)   Includes:  regular and stone-ground whole wheat flour (better flavor, coarser texture, similar nutrients)  Substitutes:  graham flour (more nutrients) OR all-purpose flour (makes lighter, larger loaves of bread) OR (in yeast breads) up to 1/4 C gluten flour (this improves the bread's texture)  To see how to substitute other flours for wheat flours when making yeast breads, see the listing under all-purpose flour.



all-purpose flour: 1 pound = 3 3/4 C unsifted = 4 C sifted

cake flour:  1 pound = 4 1/2 C

whole wheat flour: 1 pound = 3 1/3 C

See also the  Flour Weights posting on RecipeSource.com.


For more information on flour substitutes, visit the Functions of Baking Ingredients page, or the Illinois Cooperative Extension Service's Flour--Substitutes page.   If you're allergic to wheat flour, visit the Gluten-free cooking and baking hints page or the Basic Rice Recipes for Those with Allergies page, or the Gluten-free Bread page posted on RecipeSource.com.

Copyright © 1996-2005  Lori Alden