Being gluten-free is all the rage and if you can’t stomach wheat then use this list of 12 wheat flour alternatives to make gluten-free flour.
Why Seek Wheat Flour Alternatives?
Wheat and some other grains produce gluten. While we won’t get into the why’s and why not’s of gluten in this article, some people need to avoid it. Gluten is what makes French bread and pizza crust stretchy. While gluten does come from wheat, it can also come from some oats (there are gluten-free oats available), barley, and rye. Some grains, like some oats, rice, corn, and quinoa may contain some gluten, or they may not, but it doesn’t react in the body the same way.
12 Wheat Flour Alternatives to Make Flour With
Sometimes you need to think outside the grain box. Whole grains are the most common source of flour but there are many other things that you can use:
Most commonly acorns from the white oak tree. Acorns must be leached, usually in water, to release the tannins that are present. Tannins are very bitter and astringent. Leaching the acorns helps to make them more mild tasting. Once the tannins are removed, the acorns can be roasted and then ground into flour.
2. Birch Bark
Specifically, the inner bark of the birch tree may be our most unique in this list of wheat flour alternatives. You will need to remove the papery part of the bark and then you’ll get to the inner bark. I chose not to harm living trees but used bark from trees that were recently cut. The inner bark is about 1/8 inch thick. You’ll need a few cups of bark to get a cup of flour. I dried mine in a 250°f oven for about an hour. Then I ground it with a coffee grinder. You can use almost any type of birch for this application.
3. Dock Seeds
Almost any type of dock will work. Yellow Dock grows wild in my area, so it is in natural abundance. Simply dry the seeds and grind with a coffee or spice grinder. Use as you would any other flour.
Also known as Pigweed in some areas. It grows very tall and has an abundance of seeds. They can have spiky outsides, so be careful when harvesting. Amaranth is very nutrient-dense and makes a great flour alternative.
5. Cattail Pollen
Cattails grow in marshy areas around ponds, lakes, and rivers. The pollen is the yellowish fluffy substance above the brown fruit at the top of the stalk. It’s pretty weightless but does make a great flour substitute.
6. Cattail Roots
Cattails can also be dug from the marsh and cleaned well. Once clean, slice into thin pieces and roast in a low-temperature oven until crisp. Once dry, grind into flour.
Also known as Jerusalem Artichokes, sunchokes contain inulin instead of starch. They can be dried and used as a wheat flour alternative in many recipes. Commercial producers have been using sunchokes in spaghetti noodles for a few years now.
Clovers can be dried and used as a flour substitute, but only in small amounts. They absorb a lot of liquid and can turn your baked goods very green. In some cases, that may be a good thing!
9. Kudzu Root
Add Kudzu root to the list of wheat flour alternatives. Treat them as you would the sunchokes. Clean them well and dry thoroughly before grinding them into flour.
10. Wild Rice
Wild rice is a grass that can be made into flour. The seeds from wild rice are very nutritious as well as tasty. Try to find hand-harvested rice as the processed types remove a lot of what is good for you. I like wild rice flour for muffins and quick breads.
Some lichens, such as Reindeer Moss, can be used as a wheat flour alternative. I haven’t tried this yet, but I do have some drying for future use.
12. Wild Nuts
Most nuts make great flour! Hazelnuts are a dry nut that lends well to baking, along with butternuts and chestnuts. Hickory nuts tend to taste like barbecue but could be great mixed with cornbread. Pecans and walnuts tend to be kind of greasy, but if you toast them, they can turn out well.
This is only a partial list of botanicals that can be made into flour as an alternative to wheat. Do you have a favorite that is not listed here?