It happens to all of us at one time or another - you go to the pantry excited to make a recipe and you discover that you're missing a staple you never expected to run low on. For a key ingredient like flour, this can be a real inconvenience - especially when feeling the inspiration to make homemade bread. But you don’t have to give up tasty homemade sandwiches and wraps just because your grocery store is out of all-purpose.
Here are some options to make delicious breads out of less familiar grains and flours. Not all of these flours are available in every grocery store, but by scouring the gluten-free aisles, health food stores, and local ethnic markets you should find what you need.
Arepas are a Venezuelan and Colombian bread made of masarepa, an ancient flour ground from corn that’s been treated with lime. (If you can’t find masarepa, masa harina – which is usually available in grocery stores – works fine). Arepas are traditionally served with slow cooked meat inside, but are great with any filling, from jam to roasted veggies, and they make a mean breakfast sandwich. This three-ingredient arepas recipe is super quick and easy to make, even for baking beginners.
Pão de Queijo
Pão de Queijo, or Brazilian cheese bread, is traditionally made from sour manioc starch, which can be hard to find outside of South America. Tapioca starch makes a good replacement and is increasingly available in the gluten free section of the grocery store or in health food stores. These little breads are crispy, cheesy, and oh so satisfying; they’re something like gougères, but easier to make. This pão de queijo recipe uses mozzarella and parmesan cheese, but you can use whatever block you have in your fridge!
If you’ve ever eaten at an Ethiopian restaurant, you’re familiar with injera, the sourdough flatbread used as a plate, eating utensil, and delicious side dish. Injera is made from teff, one of the oldest cultivated grains in the world. Teff flour is often available in gluten free aisles, as it is a great gluten free flour substitute.
Making injera by traditional methods is a long process that involves establishing wild yeast cultures. If that sounds like a fun project, this authentic injera recipe will walk you through it step by step.
If you really want injera tonight, you can make it with commercial yeast using this quick injera bread recipe! It won’t be quite as sour as traditional injera, but it is still a delicious base for any hearty stew.
You can make cornbread using only cornmeal! It’s denser, sweeter, and slightly drier than cornbread made with a mix of cornmeal and all-purpose flour. It’s delicious with butter, as a base for a cheddar and onion grilled cheese (seriously) or crumbled into chili (to use up all those beans). This no-flour cornbread recipe uses bacon grease, which can be substituted for butter, if you prefer.
Cheese puffs and flatbreads are great, but what about when you really want a fluffy, sliceable, fresh-from-the-oven loaf of bread and there’s not a bag of wheat flour to be found? Spelt is an ancient wheat that is more and more readily available in stores. Unlike cornmeal or teff flour, spelt contains that all-important factor for bread texture, gluten. It has a wholesome, nutty flavour and loads of nutritional benefits. This spelt loaf recipe combines spelt with honey for a simple sandwich loaf reminiscent of honey-oat bread, or get fancy and develop a starter for a spelt sourdough loaf. If you can’t find spelt flour, you can replace it with kamut, another ancient wheat.
You don’t need to give up on bread just because the flour shelf is bare! Enjoy these wraps, rolls, and loaves – or pick up an unfamiliar flour and look up a new recipe! The possibilities are endless.
Make something delicious: