In this article, I show you what my favorite healthy flour substitutes are and why. I want to introduce you to some new flours you haven’t heard of, maybe. So many people in the world have a hard time digesting white flour – and it’s not just the gluten in it that can cause problems.
I’ve read research suggesting that a lot of the problems people have with it is from the chemical pesticides they spray it with and they hybridization it has gone through over the years. Not only that but that the flour manufacturers take the whole wheat germ and process it, bleach it, remove the nutrition until it really has little nutritional value and is hard for your body to digest. So that’s why I avoid white flour and cook with these healthy flour substitutes instead.
Reading the Labels
The first thing you need to learn is how to read the labels at the store and learn what real whole wheat flour is.
Whole wheat flour, whole grain, whole meal, 100% whole wheat
This is what you are looking for. Look for the word whole cause it means the whole/entire grain is in the product. It’s simply the whole wheat berry ground up without anything taken out of it. A loaf of 100% whole wheat flour is usually two pounds, which can be another way to tell.
I personally feel this is the food industry’s tricky way to make you feel like you are eating a healthy flour when you really aren’t. If it doesn’t say whole in front of it, it means it’s just plain old white flour that’s been processed, probably bleached (yuck!) and had all the nutrition removed.
Sure, it makes baked goods very light and fluffy, but it’s also hard to digest and converts to sugar much faster in the body.
This means it has been changed/refined as in most of the nutrition has been taken out of it.
Enriched or Fortified
Since the wheat processors know they stripped everything out of the flour. They try to put artificial vitamins and minerals back into the flour so the nutrition label looks better. These are not the same nutrients at all that were taken out of the flour in the first place.
These words are a definite sign that its white flour.
Healthy Flour Substitutes for White Flour
So now you know why not to buy white flour and how to know what white flour is. You need to know what to buy in the store. Here are my favorite healthy flour substitutes for white flour.
You will see me use Einkorn flour a lot on my blog. It’s my favorite Clean Eating flour and pretty much has the light texture of white flour and makes, delicious, light fluffy food. People I cook for don’t even know it’s not white flour. It substitutes almost 1:1 to white flour too.
It just absorbs liquids a little more, so you need to take that into account. You can learn all about einkorn flour here and see all the einkorn flour recipes currently on my blog.
This is my next favorite healthy flour and comes in either light or whole wheat. The light is nice though because it hasn’t been stripped of the nutrition and can be subbed 1:1 to white flour. You can learn all about spelt flour and see my recipes that use it here.
Whole Wheat Flour
As mentioned above, this is the most popular white flour substitute. I don’t personally use it as much because it is dense and harder to work with and harder to get to my children to eat it. It is a lot easier to find and more affordable than einkorn flour or spelt flour. You can get more whole wheat flour recipes here.
White Whole Wheat Flour
My mother has baked with Whole Wheat White Flour for years. She thinks it’s wonderful. It is a hard wheat like whole wheat but it has a finer nicer texture and flavor which is more like all-purpose white flour. But it isn’t processed like all purpose flour.
If you want to bake with flour that is super healthy I suggest you buy the whole white wheat and the whole wheat and grind them into flour yourself. You will need to buy a wheat grinder. I suggest this because a lot of the nutrients in flour disappear after they are ground into flour and it sits around. The longer it sits the more nutrients it loses. My mom used to grind her wheat and if she didn’t use it immediately she would store it in the freezer because that is supposed to help it retain the nutrients.
This is the wheat grinder my mom has – it costs a little more than others but you get what you pay for.
If you want to try grinding your own wheat buy what they call wheat berries or whole wheat. You can buy wheat berries in grocery stores in Utah where we live. I don’t know about where you live but it’s very common here. My mom buys a 50-pound bag but I wouldn’t do that until you’ve tried it and make sure you like it. A bag of wheat berries will store almost indefinitely as long as it’s kept dry and cool. A pound of wheat berries will make a lot more than a pound of flour, that’s one reason it’s so economical.
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour is 100% stone ground, whole grain flour made from soft white wheat. The whole wheat berries are milled with the germ, bran and endosperm all intact. How is whole wheat flour different from whole wheat pastry flour? Regular whole wheat flour is milled from hard red wheat and whole wheat pastry flour is milled from soft white wheat. Whole wheat pastry flour makes nice tender baked goods which are similar to those made with regular white flour. Whole wheat flour has a higher protein content than whole wheat pastry flour.
Oat flour is simply rolled oats ground into flour. You have several choices here. You can buy oat flour which is a little pricey. Or if you want to save money you can make your own oat flour. Here are your choices: You can buy quick oats which I don’t recommend because they aren’t clean because they are the most processed oats you can buy. Or you can buy old fashioned oats and put them in your blender and blend them until they turn into flour. It doesn’t take very long. That’s what most people I know do.
Or you can buy oats groats or steel cut oats. They are more healthy with more nutrients because they haven’t been processed at all. BUT they won’t grind into flour in your blender. They have to be ground in a wheat grinder like you grind wheat berries in.
Other Healthy Flour Substitutes to Consider
Here are some other flours you may want to consider. They are a lot harder to work with and don’t taste the same as white flour. I don’t recommend you try them unless you need to for dietary reasons. If you do try them please make sure you follow a recipe that has been tried and tested. You can’t just substitute them straight across with white flour:
Garbanzo Bean Flour