Who doesn't love a cup of coffee and a slice of bread in the morning? I can't start my day without this combo. Sometimes, I even bake my own bread to make it extra special.
Through the years of doing this, I discovered I could make bread without bread flour; I just needed a bread flour substitute.
I've gathered some of the best ones in one article for my reference and as my gift to you.
What's Bread Flour?
Out of all the types of flour, bread flour has the highest protein content. As a result, baking bread with this flour gives it a lot of volume and incredible texture.
It's also highly efficient in absorbing moisture and making stiffer dough, especially in yeast bread recipes.
It still comes from cereal grains. In fact, the vital wheat gluten is what gives it its ability to tenderize and volumize your baked goods.
Bread Flour Substitutes
The question now is, what's a good substitute for bread flour? Are there gluten-free flours you can use to make bread?
1. All-Purpose Flour
All-purpose flour is one of bread flour's most popular (and budget-friendliest) substitutes. As the name suggests, it's the flour for every purpose, including baking bread.
However, all-purpose flour has a lower protein content and weaker elasticity than bread flour. Therefore, it may give your bread a less chewy texture. You can substitute bread flour with all-purpose flour in a 1:1 ratio.
Best for just about anything. Try it on this cold fermented pizza dough recipe.
2. Semolina Flour
Bread flour and semolina flour both come from wheat. The only difference is that semolina flour comes from durum wheat.
This gives it around 13% protein content, almost as high as bread flour. However, this high-gluten flour also makes bread denser and heavier.
You can replace bread flour with semolina flour in a 1:1 ratio. If you need more rise for bread-making, mix semolina flour with baking powder to enhance its leavening properties.
Best for pizza dough and focaccia.
3. Cake Flour
Cake flour has a significantly lower protein content than bread flour (almost half) since it comes from soft wheat. Therefore, you must mix it with all-purpose flour to increase its protein.
Try mixing ⅔ cup of cake flour with ⅓ cup of all-purpose flour. You can also use this ratio with pastry flour. Use this mixture as a substitute for bread flour in a 1:1 ratio.
Best for quick bread, muffins, and pancakes. Here's a sourdough brioche recipe to test it on.
4. Whole Wheat Flour
Whole wheat flour contains more nutrients, fibers, minerals, and vitamins than bread flour. It is darker because it includes the germ and bran from the wheat kernel.
It's more efficient in absorbing moisture, so you might have to increase the portions of liquid ingredients to avoid extremely dry bread. Use it to substitute bread flour in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio.
Best for muffins, bread, pancakes, pie crusts, and pizza doughs.
5. Self-Rising Flour
Aside from being tender, you want your bread to have an airy texture after baking. Coming in at number 6 and substituting for bread flour, we have self-rising flour.
This is a combination of all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. It's a lower-protein flour that gives your baked goods a softer texture. Use it as a bread flour substitute in a 1:1 ratio.
Best for muffins and quick bread. Try it on this pretzel buns recipe.
6. Sorghum Flour
If you're looking for a gluten-free alternative, try using sorghum flour. It's not as popular as the other substitutes for bread flour on this list.
Nonetheless, it's rich in antioxidants and various nutrients to make your bread healthier. However, because it doesn't contain gluten, you won't get the elasticity you want from bread flour.
Use sorghum flour as a substitute for bread flour in a 1:1 ratio.
Best for quick bread, muffins, cookies, pancakes, and cakes.
7. Almond Flour
Here's another gluten-free substitute for bread flour; almond flour. The main difference between bread flour and almond flour is its origin; almond flour comes from nuts instead of grains.
The absence of gluten means you won't have the structure and elasticity you want from bread flour. However, for gluten-free flours, this is as good as they come.
It's quite tricky to use as an alternative, though. I suggest you look for a recipe that specifically calls for almond flour instead of bread flour.
Best for cakes, macarons, cookies, tart crusts, and pancakes. Make air fryer donuts with almond flour!
8. Rice Flour
Rice flour comes from, well, rice. It has a relatively high fiber content with a nutritional profile similar to all-purpose flour. Even though rice is a grain, rice flour is gluten-free.
White rice flour has a neutral flavor, making it an excellent substitute for any baking recipe. On the other hand, brown rice flour has a slightly nuttier flavor. Use any of these as a bread flour substitute in a 1:1 ratio.
Best for quick bread, cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and pancakes.
Tips When Substituting Bread Flour in a Recipe
So, how do you successfully replace bread flour in a recipe? Well, here are some factors you may want to consider.
Determine the Protein Content
The protein content is one of the main reasons why bread flour is popular. This enhances its ability to maintain the structure and improve the elasticity of the gluten in your dough.
This is particularly important if you want a chewy texture in your bread. Bread flour's protein content is 12% to 14%. Whole wheat flour is 14% to 16%, while all-purpose flour is 10% to 12%.
Consider Your Recipe
A higher protein content does not always mean it's the best bread flour substitute. You still have to consider what you're using bread flour for. Ergo, your recipe.
Denser types of bread will need a higher protein content, while softer bread will need lower. Choose a substitute accordingly.
Gluten vs. Gluten-Free
Lastly, determine whether or not you want a gluten-free substitute. If you or anyone you're serving suffers from celiac disease, stick to gluten-free alternative flours.
These include sorghum, rice, and almond flour.
Bread Flour Substitute FAQs
If by "plain flour" you mean all-purpose flour, yes, you can use it as a bread flour substitute in a 1:1 ratio (and vice versa), as long as you don't mind the softer and lack of chewy texture.
Semolina flour is among the healthiest substitutes for bread flour. Its high protein content gives your baked goods the texture and elasticity you want from bread flour.
You can make bread flour at home by combining all-purpose flour and vital wheat gluten. You will need around 1 ½ teaspoons of vital wheat gluten for every cup of all-purpose flour.
For Your Daily Bread
Substituting for bread flour is tricky, but it's not impossible if you have any of the flour I've mentioned above.
There might be slight changes in texture and density. Nonetheless, I can guarantee that the final product will still be satisfactory.
If there are other ingredients you want to replace, visit Also The Crumbs, Please. My insights on cooking and baking will improve your culinary skills.
You Might Also Like:
Bread Flour Substitute
Option 1 (All-Purpose Flour)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
Option 2 (Semolina Flour)
- 1 cup semolina flour
Option 1 (All-Purpose Flour)
- Use 1 cup of all-purpose flour to replace 1 cup of bread flour in the recipe.
Option 2 (Semolina Flour)
- Use 1 cup of semolina flour for every cup of bread flour called for in the recipe.
Option 3 (Cake Flour)
- Mix ⅔ cup of cake flour and ⅓ cup of all-purpose flour in a small container.
- Use the mixture as a bread flour substitute in a 1:1 ratio.
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