Baking Substitutions – Replacing All Purpose Flour In Recipes

One thing I am big on is substitutions in baking, especially when it comes to things like muffins and quick breads.  My oldest is an extremely picky eater and it has always been a challenge to get a good breakfast in her.  Making over muffin recipes has been our saving grace.

Top Left: Chocolate Made Over Muffin Success.  Top Right: Pumpkin Banana Cinnamon Pecan Muffins.
Bottom Left: Oatmeal Scotchie Muffins.  Bottom Right: Chocolate Chip Cookie Muffins, Three Versions.

She gets a breakfast she loves and I get to alter recipes to where I feel they are healthy enough to be a good start to her day.     I also LOVE how I can make a giant double batch and throw them in the freezer.   I am ALL about the made over muffin.    I make a lot of over the top, chocolate coated, crazy decadent recipes here, but my muffins are the ones you find my kids eating almost every day.   So I do my best to swap out ingredients to strike a balance of healthy enough to make mom feel good but still yummy enough that they are gobbled right up.

Replacing The All Purpose Flour In Your Recipes
With White Whole Wheat Flour

So, let’s talk about baking substitutes.  Because there are so many things you can substitute and swap out in recipes, I am going to break this down into a series of posts.  This post will focus on replacing the all purpose flour in your recipes.  These are not meant to be “diet” recipes – just healthier versions of recipes you love.   I should also add that this post is not affiliated or sponsored by anyone, just sharing the products I use myself.   I have the best success making substitutions with quick non-yeast breads and muffins, cookies and brownies.  Let me introduce you to my favorite baking substitutes…

Ever since I discovered white whole wheat flour, I have pretty much given up all purpose flour for quick breads, muffins and most cookies, and often use it for cinnamon rolls, donuts, brownies and bar cookies.  White whole wheat is milled from hard white spring wheat instead of red wheat which is what whole wheat flour is traditionally made from.  It has almost the same nutrition content as red wheat, with slight differences in gluten and protein contents.

White whole wheat flour is lighter and milder in taste then whole wheat flour.   I also use it a lot in brownies, donuts and cinnamon rolls.   It is probably one of the easiest substitutes you can use, and we rarely notice a difference in taste.  I have noticed that it can be a bit “gritty” in chocolate recipes, but I find that seems to fade away after the item has cooled and sat for about 12 hours – not sure what magical action happens to create that, but I won’t argue with it.   In my quick breads and muffins, I swap out the all purpose flour for white whole wheat as an even swap, cup for cup, and if anything I add a bit more moisture, but that’s it as far as what I adjust.

Most people start with replacing 1/3 to 1/2 of their all purpose flour with white whole wheat, and if you have never tried using it, I would do that your first time using it.   I really love white whole wheat flour and am glad that it’s becoming much easier to find in stores the last few years.  

A quick bread or muffin recipe is a great place to try it out.   In cookies and brownies, I sometimes do a half white whole wheat and half all purpose flour mix.  I haven’t found whole wheat flour to work quite as well for our family’s tastes, but white wheat flour, in my opinion, rocks.

I also use both oats and oat bran in place of all purpose flour.  If a recipe calls for three cups of flour, I’m pretty comfortable using one cup of oat bran or oat flour (I just run my oats through my food processor to create my “flour” most of the time) and two cups of white whole wheat flour.   I’ve never swapped out all of my all purpose flour for oats/oat bran, but it certainly works well for a partial replacement, especially if you like a bit more of a hearty texture like I do.   I love using oats or oat bran in pumpkin breads and cookies – if you like a more “chewy” texture, give it a try.

While I have yet to try it, I have heard great things about using Whole Wheat Pastry Flour in recipes.    I have been so happy with how white whole wheat flour works, that I haven’t felt the need.  However I have heard that whole wheat pastry flour works well in more delicate recipes like cakes.

For those of you looking for gluten free replacements for flour, I have not made many recipes using these products but have heard good things from friends about some of the following products in their baked goods…

King Arthur Gluten Free Products.

Gluten Free Pantry All Purpose Flour

Better Batter Gluten Free Flour

Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Baking Flour

Amazon has lots of great cookbooks that focus on gluten free baking…

What do you like to use in place of all purpose
flour in your recipes & baking???



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