What is the Best Substitute for Barley Flour?

by Charlie
Barley Flour

Barley flour is a highly versatile flour option that serves a lot of benefits. It works with various dishes, and it also offers a lovely taste that many appreciate. 

However, like every flour variant, barley flour has some areas where it might not necessarily be the best option. You might need to get a substitute in such a case. 

What is the best substitute for barley flour? Bread flour is the best substitute for barley flour because it works for pretty much the same meals. It might not taste the same, but it has many of the same characteristics as barley flour and is also easy to work with.

An Overview of Barley Flour 

Barley flour is pretty much what its name sounds like – a non-wheat flour that you get from grinding barley. Barley flour contains a small amount of gluten, and while that doesn’t make it ideal for some people, this gluten content is also why barley flour is popular among conventional bakers who are looking to improve their skills. 

With a mild nutty flavor, barley flour has properties of both whole grain flours and regular flours. You can use it as a substitute for several four options, and it can work pretty well without compromising the texture of the dish. From baking and cooking to texture addition and thickening, barley flour is an ideal option for anyone across the board. 

With such versatility, it’s easy to see why so many people love barley flour.

Some also love the fact that barely has low gluten content as it means that the flour works in tenderizing baked goods while allowing them to also rise well enough. Eve with its gluten content, barley flour remains a great healthy choice. It has a low calorie count, and it also contains protein and fiber. 

Why Replace Barley Flour?

  • Gluten content: Barley flour contains some level of gluten. This means that people who are gluten intolerant or those with the coeliac disease might not enjoy using it so much.  
  • Non-availability: If you can’t find any barley flour around you, a substitute will need to come into play. 
  • Taste differences: Barley flour’s nutty flavor might not sit well with some people. In such a case, you will need a substitute to stand in. 

Options for Barley Flour Substitutes

Best Overall Substitute for Barley Flour: Bread Flour 

Bread flour is gotten from the hard red spring wheat, which contains a significant amount of proteins. It is a refined flour, so it doesn’t have a lot of the original wheat nutrients. Still, it is a healthy flour variant nonetheless. 

For one, bread flour comes with high protein content, allowing for the increased development of gluten. With the gluten, you can expand dough and let the latter hold more air. This is why bread flour works so well when it comes to baking. 

The addition of gluten can also make for a more crunchy feeling. This is why you will find some recipes for cookies demanding bread flour. 

With a high protein count, bread flour is great for baking. It can provide more structure to things like pizza doughs, yeast (for bread), and other pastry doughs.

Bread flour has a mild taste, so it is an ideal one-for-one substitute for barley flour. Of course, the fact that it has gluten means that it isn’t quite the best for certain people. 

Best Substitute for Baking: Cake Flour

Made from much softer wheat, cake flour shines especially when it comes to baking light and tender cakes. You can use it as a one-for-one substitute for barley flour in this regard, and it is a lovely mix in just about every baking recipe. 

Note, however, that cake flour doesn’t quite work with baking chewy pastries. It is also not gluten-free, so you want to steer clear of it if you have any gluten sensitivities. 

Interestingly, you can make cake flour with all-purpose flour. Just add some cornstarch or arrowroot to the all-purpose flour, and you’re pretty much ready to go. 

Apply your cake flour in the same quantity as barley flour. Cake flour comes with a light and tender taste, so you can apply it as you like without worrying about overshadowing your dish 

Best Substitute in a Time Crunch: Whole Wheat Flour 

Usually made from milling hard red wheat, whole wheat flour is an impressive flour variant. It is also very versatile, allowing you to enjoy the application in different functions. 

The primary benefit of whole wheat flour is that you can find it anywhere. So, in cases where barley flour is scarce, this one will be able to stand in for it quite nicely. 

In baking, whole wheat flour can help to provide a denser and richer flavor than many other flour variants. It works with different types of baked goods, and it is also easy to use. 

In terms of application, whole wheat flour is a bit of a tricky choice. While it is a good one-for-one substitute, you still want to be careful with whole wheat flour. It takes a lot of liquid in, so most experts suggest combining it with some other four variants – like white four, etc.  

Another slight issue with whole wheat flour is that it doesn’t have such a long shelf life. So, you want to get enough that you can use in one application and be done with it. 

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