How to Substitute Flours

Erin Jeanne McDowel wrote . . . . . . . . .

Baking is a science, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to make substitutions. With some guidance, you’ll be able to substitute different flours into a single recipe. But you’ll just want to keep a few things in mind, notably protein content and the moisture. This guide is by no means comprehensive — it may not answer your questions about oat flour — but consider it a starting off point to help you understand what you’re working with.

Tips for Successful Substitutions

Use a flour with a similar protein content. Protein content affects a baked good’s final texture and crumb: Treats made with higher-protein flours tend to be denser, while those made with lower-protein flours are lighter and softer.

Here are some common flours and their protein contents:

Whole-wheat: 14 percent

White whole-wheat: 13 percent

Bread: 12 to 13 percent

Spelt: 12 to 13 percent

All-purpose: 11 to 12 percent

Whole-wheat pastry: 9 to 11 percent

Pastry: 8 to 9 percent

Cake: 6 to 8 percent

Substitute by weight whenever possible. If measuring by volume, carefully scooping the flour into the measuring cup, overfilling it, then leveling it off will yield a more accurate measure.

If substituting a flour with a higher protein content (a “stronger” flour) or lower protein content (a “softer” flour), know that the moisture of the dough or batter will most likely be affected. When a stronger flour is substituted in, it’s at risk of being too dry. Similarly, if a softer flour is used, it’s at risk of being slightly too wet. If it’s dry, add 1 teaspoon water at a time and combine. If it’s too wet, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of flour at a time until you reach your desired texture.

Substitutions by Flour Type

Whole-Wheat Flour

Whole-wheat flour has the highest protein content on our list. For that reason, when substituting it for all-purpose, use 50 percent whole-wheat, and 50 percent of another flour, preferably all-purpose, pastry flour or spelt, to avoid a dense result. If you want to use only whole wheat, you’ll need to add more water.

Bread Flour

At 12- to 13-percent protein content, bread flour is stronger than all-purpose flour, but it can generally be substituted for all-purpose, and vice versa. However, it’s important to remember that bread flour’s increased protein could result in a dough or batter that’s dry, so you may need to add water. Make sure not to overmix: Its higher protein content can also lead to a tougher result if not mixed in gently.

All-Purpose Flour

You can use all-purpose flour in place of bread flour, but all-purpose’s lower protein content means it may yield a slightly wetter dough or batter. Use all-purpose in conjunction with whole-grain flours to help reduce the overall protein content in the recipe — for example, a half whole-wheat and half all-purpose mix to avoid dense muffins. And a note: Gluten-free all-purpose flour blends perform similarly to regular all-purpose, and can generally be substituted one-to-one. These blends are great in everything from cookies to quick breads to scones, so if you can’t get all-purpose flour, it’s worth picking up a bag of a gluten-free blend, if it’s available.

Spelt Flour

With a protein content of 12- to 13-percent, spelt is closest to all-purpose in protein content, making it a delicious (and whole grain!) substitute that can easily be swapped cup for cup. Keep an eye on the consistency of the final dough or batter: It may be dry and need more moisture.

Pastry Flour

Pastry flour is a softer flour that substitutes well for all-purpose in any recipe where tenderness is the goal, like muffins, quick breads and cakes. If you can find it, whole-wheat pastry flour is an even better swap for all-purpose. Similarly, you can also use all-purpose flour in a recipe that calls for pastry flour.

Cake Flour

With the lowest protein content of this group, cake flour is best used for cakes. However, it can also be used successfully in other soft baked goods, like biscuits, scones or even cookies. For every 1 cup/130 grams of all-purpose flour, substitute 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons/145 grams cake flour. To make your own cake flour substitute, sift together 3/4 cup/95 grams all-purpose flour with 3 tablespoons cornstarch. This is equivalent to 1 cup/115 grams cake flour.

Source: The New York Times

Mu Shu Pork


8 oz center-cut pork loin, trimmed
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1/4 cup Shaoxing rice wine
1/2 teaspoon roasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch
5 dried Chinese mushrooms
3/4 oz dried black fungus (wood ears)
4 tablespoons oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
1 leek, white part only, finely shredded
1/4 small Chinese cabbage, shredded, stem sections and leafy sections separated
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
12 Mandarin pancakes


  1. Cut the pork against the grain into slices about 1/4 inch thick, then cut into thin, matchstick-size shreds about 3/4 inch long.
  2. Put the shreds in a bowl, add 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of the rice wine, the sesame oil and 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch, and toss lightly to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Soak the dried mushrooms in boiling water for 30 minutes, then drain and squeeze out any excess water. Remove and discard the stems and shred the caps.
  4. Soak the dried black fungus in cold water for 20 minutes, then drain and squeeze out any excess water. Shred the black fungus.
  5. Heat a wok over high heat, add 2 tablespoons of the oil and heat until very hot. Stir-fry the pork mixture for 2-3 minutes, until the meat is brown and cooked. Remove with a wire strainer or slotted spoon and drain.
  6. Rinse and dry the wok. Reheat the wok over high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat until hot. Stir-fry the egg to scramble, then move to the side of the wok.
  7. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, heat until very hot, and stir-fry the garlic, ginger, mushrooms and black fungus for 10 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the leek and toss lightly for 1-1/2 minutes, then add the cabbage stems and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the leafy cabbage sections, and cook for 1 minute, or until the vegetables are just tender.
  8. Combine 1-1/2 tablespoons of the soy sauce, the remaining rice wine and cornstarch, the sugar, black pepper and the meat, add to the sauce and simmer until thickened.
  9. Mix together the hoisin sauce, remaining soy sauce and 1-1/2 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Serve the pork with the pancakes and sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: The Food of China

In Pictures: Food of T’ang Court (唐閣) in Hong Kong

Traditional Cantonese Cuisine

The Michelin 3-star Restaurant

Tips to Keeping Slim When You’re Stuck at Home

Beware of your fridge, pantry and couch during the coronavirus pandemic.

Being cooped up at home with easy access to food can lead to overeating. Couple that with routine housekeeping, working from home, homeschooling your kids and tending to loved ones, and it’s a sure-fire recipe for weight gain, experts at the University of Georgia in Athens warn.

“These tasks have been added to our many other responsibilities,” said Emma Laing, director of dietetics in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. “So if something has to give as we strive to find our new normal, routines surrounding eating and physical activity might go out the window.”

To stay on track, get up off the couch. Try to set times during the day for physical activity you enjoy, and to eat regular meals and snacks that provide adequate energy and hydration.

“In creating this schedule, do so while maintaining flexibility,” Laing said. “It’s important to trust our bodies’ cues for hunger, so listen to those first.”

Try to avoid mindless snacking.

Social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising. In fact, physical activity is a crucial stress management strategy.

Ali Berg, a Cooperative Extension nutrition and health specialist, pointed out that “physical activity is good for maintaining immunity, in addition to adequate nutrition. Being active is also good for mental health.”

Even though gyms and yoga studios are closed, you can find other ways to be active, said Tracey Brigman, a clinical assistant professor.

“I start each day with a 2-mile walk,” said Brigman. “Anytime I cook, I dance (and embarrass my kids). Music also lifts my spirits so I don’t stress eat. If I have down time waiting for a timer, I jog around the rooms in my house while I wait.”

Other simple ways to stay active include playing with your pets, finding workouts online or through free apps, playing games with the family — and even cleaning the house.

Source: HealthDay

Researchers Build Micro-device to Detect Bacteria, Viruses

Engineering researchers developed a next-generation miniature lab device that uses magnetic nano-beads to isolate minute bacterial particles that cause diseases. Using this new technology improves how clinicians isolate drug-resistant strains of bacterial infections and difficult-to-detect micro-particles such as those making up Ebola and coronaviruses.

Ke Du and Blanca Lapizco-Encinas, both faculty-researchers in Rochester Institute of Technology’s Kate Gleason College of Engineering, worked with an international team to collaborate on the design of the new system—a microfluidic device, essentially a lab-on-a-chip.

Drug-resistant bacterial infections are causing hundreds of thousands of deaths around the world every year, and this number is continuously increasing. Based on a report from the United Nations, the deaths caused by antibiotics resistance could reach to 10 million annually by 2050, Du explained.

“It is urgent for us to better detect, understand, and treat these diseases. To provide rapid and accurate detection, the sample purification and preparation is critical and essential, that is what we are trying to contribute. We are proposing to use this novel device for virus isolation and detection such as the coronavirus and Ebola,” said Du, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering whose background is in development of novel biosensors and gene editing technology.

The lab team is interested in the detection of bacterial infection, especially in bodily fluids. One of the major problems for detection is how to better isolate higher concentrations of pathogens.

The device is a sophisticated lab environment that can be used in field hospitals or clinics and should be much faster at collecting and analyzing specimens than the commercially available membrane filters. Its wide, shallow channels trap small bacteria molecules that are attracted to packed, magnetic microparticles.

This combination of the deeper channels on the nano-device, increased flow rate of fluids where bacteria are suspended, and the inclusion of magnetic beads along the device channels improves upon the process of capturing/isolating bacterial samples. Researchers were able to successfully isolate bacteria from various fluids with a microparticle-based matrix filter. The filter trapped particles in small voids in the device, providing a larger concentration of bacteria for analysis. An added advantage of a smaller device such as this allows for multiple samples to be tested at the same time.

“We can bring this portable device to a lake which has been contaminated by E. coli. We will be able to take a few milliliters of the water sample and run it through our device so the bacteria can be trapped and concentrated. We can either quickly detect these bacteria in the device or release them into certain chemicals to analyze them,” said Du, whose earlier work focused on devices that use the CRISPR gene-editing technology and the fundamental understanding of fluidic dynamics.

Teaming up with Lapizco-Encinas, a biomedical engineer with expertise in dielectrophoresis—a process that uses electrical current to separate biomolecules—their collaboration provided the increased capability toward better pathogen detection, specifically for bacteria and microalgae isolation and concentration.

“Our goal is not only isolating and detecting bacteria in water and human plasma, but also working with whole blood samples to understand and detect blood infection such as sepsis. We already have a concrete plan for that. The idea is to use a pair of the nano-sieve devices for sequential isolation,” said Lapizco-Encinas, an associate professor in RIT’s biomedical engineering department.

Du and Lapizco-Encinas were part of a team that consisted of mechanical and biomedical engineers from Rutgers, University of Alabama, SUNY Binghamton, and Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute in China to address the global challenges of disease pandemics. The new data is published in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.

Source: Rochester Institute of Technology

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