00 flour is the staple ingredient for cakes, pasta, pizza, and bread in Italian cuisine. It’s milled to be as fine as baby talc giving the dough a smoother texture. This is the flour that gives the famous Neapolitan Pizza the less chewy crispy crust popular worldwide.
What if you need a good substitute for 00 flour? To replace 00 flour there are many alternatives, with and without gluten including all-purpose flour, wholewheat flour, and semolina flour.
00 flour is certainly the most used flour in cooking, despite containing the least nutrients due to the heavy refining process to make it pure and white. This refining eliminates the bran containing the fiber and the germ that has the amino acids, mineral salts and vitamins. There is a wide variety of healthier but also tastier alternatives that can be chosen as wholemeal and organic. Let’s discover them together.
HOW TO REPLACE 00 FLOUR: substitutes containing gluten
The traditional substitutes contain different levels of gluten and in gneral can all be used to substitute for 00 flour both in baking sweets and savory dishes but also for the preparation of pastas.
1. All-purpose flour
This is the most popular substitute still undergoing a high level of refinement and with little nutritional value.
All-purpose flour can be substituted interchangeably in all the recipes containing 00 flour as like the 00 flour it contains little bran and a lot of starch and sugar.
2. Manitoba flour
Manitoba flour is one of the strongest flour. This American soft wheat flour, is very resistant due to its high percentage of proteins and gluten making it suitable for the preparation of foods that require long resting times such as pizza, bread, and Panettone.
3. Whole wheat flours
Wholemeal flour is perhaps the easiest to find. It can replace 00 flour in any preparation because it is very similar in terms of composition. Additionally, it’s even richer in bran and therefore in nourishment: it contains some vitamins like vitamin E and B and mineral salts. Since this type of flour is left with the bran, it is not as fine and white as the 00 flour.
Wholemeal flour gives a slightly rustic taste to cakes, biscuits, pies, pasta, bread, and pizza. For biscuits and bread, it can totally substitute 00 flour, while for others, such as cakes and crepes it’s easier to mix it with a thinner flour such as the all-purpose flour, oatmeal, or spelt flour that has a more delicate flavor and makes the dough less dry. Otherwise, you can replace the 00 flour completely with wholemeal increasing the amount of liquid in the original recipe.
Pay attention to the “fake wholemeal” flour, very common on the market, usually a mix of 00 flour with bran.
4. Whole spelt flour
Similar to wholemeal flour, whole spelt flour is equally rich in bran, therefore vitamins, and mineral salts. It’s perfect to replace 00 flour in the preparation of baked goods, such as bread and cakes because of its sweet taste. Spelt can also be found in a finer, more processed version and lends itself efficiently for the preparation of both sweet and savory baked goods. One reason I like to use spelt flour is it has less gluten than most flours and thus it’s easier to digest.
Bread with Spelt Flour
- spelled flour
- hot water
- mother yeast
- Mix all the ingredients until a smooth and compact dough is obtained.
- Leave to rise for about 3 hours. Knead the dough again giving it the desired shape.
- Leave to rise directly in the oven molds for another 2-3 hours.
- Cook at 220 ° for 15 minutes, then at 180 ° for the remaining 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
5. Oat flour
Whole oat flour is rich in bran and fiber, it also has fewer calories and in general a great choice for the preparation of sweet and savory doughs. Oat flour is practically gluten-free depending on the label on the package, and pairs perfectly with any other flour. Oat flour is also a little sweet in taste making it perfect for the preparation of healthy cookies and cakes.
6. Kamut flour
Kamut flour is only a variant of traditional flour (00), and derives from the grinding of Khorasan wheat. One advantage of this flour is that it uses a high protein grain and therefore it has a lower glycemic index than the 00 flour. It kinds of tastes like hazelnut making it a perfect option for the preparation of desserts. Nevertheless, it is also very versatile and can easily be used for the preparation of bread, pizzas, focaccia, and pasta. Combine with any flour but mostly with rice, spelt, and hazelnut flour for the preparation of the tastiest biscuits and cakes!
7. Rye flour
Rye flour, mostly known for the black bread typical in Northern Italy and Germany. Rye flour is real gem, rich in minerals and fiber with a neutral taste making it also suitable for wraps, crackers, salty cake bases, and savory strudels when paired up with spelt or wholemeal flour. Alternatively pair the rye flour with hazelnut, almond, and buckwheat flour for sweet preparations including biscuits, cakes, and pancakes. As for leavened products, it is advisable to mix the rye flour with that of wheat as it rises with difficulty.
8. Barley flour
Barley flour is obtained by grinding hulled barley grains. It is also rich in minerals and has a low glycemic index. It can be used for the preparation of sweet and savory baked goods, and for fresh pasta but ideally with flours containing gluten such as wholemeal flour.
HOW TO REPLACE 00 FLOUR: gluten-free substitutes
If you’re looking for gluten-free flours then here we have quite a few that can replace the flour 00 and also gluten free fine white flour options you can find in the supermarket.
1. Chestnut flour
Chestnut flour is derived from chestnuts, particularly distinguishable by the fragrant and intense aftertaste. Besides being particularly suitable for the baking of sweets, it’s also a flour rich in carbohydrates, and mineral salts, and low in fat.
2. Legume flour
Legume flour is derived from the grinding of dried legumes and for this reason, is loaded with vegetable proteins.
3. Corn flour
Contains pure corn starch, and also low in protein, fiber and other nutrients. I use it mainly as a thickener in creams and soups. It’s also a great ingredient to add softness to the dough apart being an excellent substitute for 00 flour. I usually love to use this flours in corn tortillas but can also be used to bake a gluten free popular Italian sweet – the Easter Colomba (dove).
Gluten free Easter Dove
- gluten-free flours
- corn flour
- cornstarch or starch
- baking powder
- brown sugar
- granulated sugar
- Combine egg yolks, butter, sugar, flour, almonds, and yeast.
- Add the whipped egg whites with the salt and mix with slow movements from the bottom up.
- Prepare the glaze with whipped egg whites, cornstarch, and corn flour.
- Then add sugar and almonds.
- Bake in the oven for 50 minutes, checking for browning after half an hour.
- Leave to rest for another 10 minutes in the oven.
Tapioca flour comes from a tuber and contains corn starch, in small quantities proteins, fibers, and fats. Its main use is as a thickener and also to prepare bobas.
5. Soy flour
The flour of the same name is born from the grinding of roasted soybeans. Soybean meal is rich in protein and fiber. Alone or combined with other flour it is used for the preparation of bread, pasta, and desserts.
6. Potato flour
Also known as potato starch, it is a flour derived from the grinding of dried potatoes. Contains starch and is mainly used as a thickener or for baking doughs that require elasticity.
7. Almond flour
Derived from the grinding of almonds, its flour is very high in calories because of the high amount of fats but also contains proteins, sugars, mineral salts, vitamins B and E. Suitable for the preparation of desserts.
8. Rice flour
Brown rice flour comes from the wholemeal grinding of the grain of rice while white rice is derived from grinding the external part of the grain. This flour is also quite healthy containing vitamins E and B, mineral salts. I usually mix this together with spelt for the preparation of sweets.
Sweet Easter Bread
- gluten-free flour
- gluten-free wholemeal flour
- whole milk
- Brown sugar
- granulated sugar
- gluten-free brewer’s yeast
- Dissolve the yeast with warm milk.
- Separately, beat the eggs with the sugar and butter.
- Add the sifted flour. Knead and leave to rest for 2 hours.
- Then divide the dough into 18 balls to be placed on the baking sheet and decorate with eggs.
- Cover the dough and let it rest for 1 hour.
- Bake in the oven for 50 minutes.