The most common substitutes for high-gluten flour are bread flour and whole wheat flour. However, 100% white whole wheat flour, pastry flour, or all-purpose flour can also work. Gluten-free substitutes include soy flour, almond flour, and quinoa flour.
No matter what you use, the trick is getting the substitution ratio accurate. This article can help ensure that you do that.
1. Bread Flour
Bread flour is a type of high-gluten flour, so it’s a natural replacement for high-gluten flour in most recipes.
According to Healthline, bread flour typically contains 14 grams of protein per 1/2 cup. That’s only slightly lower than high-gluten flour, which usually has 15.5 grams of protein. Unfortunately, the carb count of bread flour is higher, and it has almost no fiber, compared to high-gluten flour’s 12.2 grams of fiber.
Still, in terms of taste and texture, bread flour will be one of the most similar replacements for high-gluten flour. It works especially well in croissants, rolls, and of course, bread (particularly yeast bread).
You can swap out bread flour for high-gluten flour at a one-to-one ratio. However, you may want to reduce the amount of water you use when kneading, as bread flour doesn’t absorb water at the same rate as high gluten. If you use the exact amount, you may end up with soggy dough.
2. Whole Wheat Flour
In many ways, whole wheat flour is an even better replacement for high-gluten flour than bread flour. It has only 0.5 grams less protein than high-gluten flour per serving. Its protein percentage (11.5 – 14.4%) is also pretty comparable to high-gluten flour’s percentage (12.5 – 14.5%). Unlike bread flour, it also contains fiber, though not as much as high-gluten flour.
Still, the two flours are very similar. You can use whole wheat flour in any recipe that calls for high-gluten flour at a one-to-one swap. You won’t have to make any water adjustments or anything else. You shouldn’t notice any differences in texture, stretchiness, or moldability.
Ultimately, the taste will be different – more earthy and wheaty. However, depending on the recipe’s other ingredients, that may not be an issue. It isn’t the best substitute for pastries and baked goods, though, as the taste doesn’t lend itself well to sweet recipes.
If you want to get the protein amount up to that of high-gluten flour, you can add a teaspoon of vital wheat gluten without changing the taste too much. It isn’t necessary for the structure or texture of your dish, though.
3. All-Purpose Flour
You can pretty much use all-purpose flour in any recipe. That’s why it’s all-purpose. Swap it out at a one-to-one ratio for high-gluten flour in any recipe. Just remember that it won’t have the same high levels of protein, fiber, magnesium, or selenium.
You can try adding a tablespoon of vital wheat gluten to make up for this lack, though it may alter your recipe’s flavor.
4. Pastry Flour
Pastry flour isn’t the best replacement for high-gluten flour in noodles, artisan breads, or pretzels. However, if you’re making cakes, pies, and other baked goods, it works very well. Furthermore, though bread isn’t technically a pastry, it works relatively well for that, too.
Because of its fine texture, it’s much different to work with than high-gluten flour. Even so, you can still swap it out, measure for measure. It’ll give your baked goods a light, fluffy texture and a nice shape.
It won’t have the same amount of protein, but you don’t want to add vital wheat gluten. The taste is far too strong, and it won’t be a good addition to any sweet recipes.
5. 100% White Whole Wheat Flour
Remember earlier when I said whole wheat flour was an excellent replacement for high-gluten flour except in sweet recipes? Well, 100% white whole wheat flour is a slightly different story.
It has many of the same health benefits as whole wheat flour, including the wealth of fiber. However, its taste isn’t nearly as dark and earthy. It’s like having the taste of all-purpose flour with the nutritional breakdown of whole wheat flour. (A great combo, right?!)
Use it at a one-to-one ratio for high-gluten flour in any recipe that calls for it, specifically the sweeter ones. Unfortunately, though, you won’t be able to add vital wheat gluten to this one to help raise the protein content. (You can, but it’ll change the taste significantly, ultimately killing the purpose of using this flour for sweet recipes in the first place.)
Now, let’s look at the final three substitutions on the list, all of which are gluten-free.
6. Soy Flour
For most people, it isn’t the excessive amount of gluten they’re after when they use high-gluten flour. Instead, they want high levels of protein. That’s why soy flour is an excellent high-gluten flour substitute for those with gluten sensitivities.
One cup of soy flour has approximately 39 grams of protein, which is actually higher than the protein count in high-gluten flour.
So then, why not just use soy flour all the time in baking?
Because it doesn’t bake well.
You’ll still have to mix it with another type of flour to ensure it will rise correctly. You can mix it with coconut flour or almond flour to use in high-gluten flour recipes. You’ll need two tablespoons of soy flour for every cup of coconut or almond flour. Then, swap that combined mixture out for high-gluten flour measure for measure.
7. Almond Flour
Almond flour is another non-gluten flour that has plenty of protein. Its count isn’t quite as high as high-gluten flour, but it’s at least on par with all-purpose and pastry flours – maybe even slightly higher.
The great thing about almond flour is that you can also swap it at a one-to-one ratio for high-gluten flour. You won’t have to do any adjustments or kitchen alchemy, as I like to call it. It does sometimes give your recipes a slightly nutty flavor, though, so you may want to account for that before deciding whether or not it’s suitable for what you are making.
8. Quinoa Flour
Finally, we have quinoa flour. It, too, can be used by itself in baking at a one-to-one swap for most recipes. It’s high in protein and fiber, though not as high as high-gluten flour, and you can use it in a variety of recipes.
The biggest problem with quinoa flour is that it’s somewhat bitter. For that reason, some people avoid using it in their sweet recipes. I find that it works okay in desserts, as long as there are plenty of other flavorful ingredients to help mask its bitterness.
Most recipes will be fine as long as they contain some of these bold flavors:
- Bold spices
If you’re using it for bread, you can always toast it to help mask the bitterness, as well.
Are High-Gluten Flour and Bread Flour the Same?
High-gluten and bread flour aren’t the same, though some people mistakenly think they are. Simply put, all bread flour is high-gluten flour, but not all high-gluten flour is bread flour. Both have high protein levels, but bread flour has more carbs, and high-gluten is used in non-bread recipes.
Healthline also points out that high-gluten flour contains much more fiber, magnesium, and selenium than bread flour. Furthermore, while bread flour is typically used in bread, as the name implies, high-gluten flour is perfect for noodles, bagels, pizza crusts, and other products.
Can you Make High-Gluten Flour?
You can make a version of high-gluten flour at home by adding a product like vital wheat gluten to regular all-purpose flour (or wheat flour). The amount of vital wheat gluten you’ll add to the flour depends on what kind it is.
For example, if you’re using all-purpose flour, you’ll need a whole tablespoon of vital wheat gluten. However, if you’re using bread flour, you may only need a teaspoon of vital wheat gluten. Other flours will require different amounts.
I hope this article has been helpful. Thanks for stoppin’ by!
For more, don’t miss Is Fudge Gluten-Free? | We Asked a Nutritionist.
Anne James has a wealth of expertise in a wide array of interests, including quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, and making jelly.
She has a professional canning business and has been featured in the local newspaper, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is.
With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass.
Lovingly known as “Jelly Grandma” by her grandkids, Anne hopes your visit here has been a sweet one.