The Hack You Need To Know If You Run Out Of Flour

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Don't you just hate it when you're all set to bake and you go to the cabinet to dig out those trusty stand-by ingredients and — oh no — you're running short on flour! How could that be? Flour is just one of those staples that's so very basic, it seems to be something that's always in the pantry, with the canister perhaps being magically refilled by flour pixies or something. Well, if those pixies fall down on the job, nutrition expert Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, says "Don't fret! You can use your blender to pulse rolled oats or dried quinoa to make a DIY 'flour'."

Amidor, who authored The Best 3-Ingredient Cookbook, says that this DIY flour is something that you can easily substitute for flour used as a thickener for soups and sauces (cornstarch or even potatoes could work for this, too). She says it can also be used to make bites, balls, mini-muffins, and other baked goods that really don't need to do much rising.

Homemade flour won't work in every recipe

Amidor admits that ground oats or quinoa "will not act the same way as flour, as wheat flour contains gluten," adding that with most traditional full-size muffin, breadcake, and cookie recipes this substitute flour won't be able to have the same reaction that wheat flour would. This means your baked goods won't come out quite as moist and fluffy as if you'd used the actual ingredient called for. Amidor herself says, "I would not substitute this flour for a traditional wheat flour in traditional muffins, cakes, cookies, etc.," explaining that the lack of gluten means they "won't have that amazing baked feel you get with traditional baked goods."

What she suggests, instead, is using such a flour to "create look alike muffins, pancakes, bites, and other goodies" and adds that "it can certainly be used with a wet ingredient like peanut butter, applesauce, mashed bananas, and the like to create a 'batter' that will be a spin off of cookies, muffins, and the like." Plus, if you're using DIY oat flour, it's actually pretty amazing in pizza crust. So go on, give it a try. If nothing else, milling your own flour could confer certain bragging rights. Next time your annoying foodie/hipster friend is droning on about grinding their own coffee beans, you can say, "That's nothing, I grind my own grains!"