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How to Substitute Flours

By Cook's Illustrated Published May 2005

Find yourself in a jam? Here are some tips for substituting flours.

The texture of baked goods depends on, among many other things, the protein content of the particular flour used to prepare them.

All-Purpose Flour

The kitchen workhorse and pantry staple, all-purpose flour has a protein content ranging between 10 and 12 percent. This staple has no substitute.

Cake Flour

With just 6 to 8 percent protein, cake flour will impart a more tender, delicate, fine-crumbed texture to baked goods.

To Replace: 1 cup cake flour

  • 7/8 cup all-purpose flour + 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Bread Flour

At the other end of the spectrum from cake flour, bread flour has close to 14 percent protein. This ensure strong gluten development and thereby a sturdy dough.

To Replace: 1 cup bread flour

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Caution: Breads and pizza crusts may bake up with slightly less chew, but results will be acceptable.

There's just no substitute for the original all-purpose flour.