No AP flour or yeast? Here are recipes to keep you baking without them

Almond flour forms the base of these shortbread bars, just one of many baking recipes that use alternative or gluten-free flours instead of hard-to-find all-purpose flour or yeast.
(Leslie Grow / For The Times)

As everyone settles into their home quarantine routines, many have turned to the arduous task of bread baking as a project to help pass the time. But that means now many grocery stores and online retailers have seen their inventories of all-purpose flour and yeast depleted, leaving a new population of would-be bakers with no ingredients for their loaves, cakes and cookies.

To help ease the pain of finding next to nothing in the baking aisle but a faint trail of white flour leading to the checkout counter, here are some baking projects you can take on that require neither all-purpose flour nor yeast.

But first, some helpful tips:

  • Make your own all-purpose flour, which is typically 10% to 11% protein, by mixing together a slightly higher-than-half ratio of bread flour (12% to 14% protein) and cake flour (7% to 8% protein) before you measure out what your recipe calls for in all-purpose flour. For every 1 cup of all-purpose, combine 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons bread flour with 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour. But also keep in mind that if you’re already making bread, pasta, crackers or anything else that requires a high-protein flour, just use all bread flour. And same goes for using cake flour in cakes, quick breads, muffins or pancakes, which all benefit from the lower protein percentage of cake flour.
  • Make crackers! Because they’re thin and are meant to be crunchy, there’s no need for yeast. This is the best use for alternative flours like rye, buckwheat or whole wheat, which, because of the inherent thinness and brittleness of crackers, don’t need gluten development to stay together. Just roll the dough out as thin as you can get it, bake, then break up to whatever size you like.
  • Replace the all-purpose flour in your recipes with spelt flour, which is the most common “alternative flour” that is interchangeable, cup for cup, with all-purpose flour in all recipes, even bread since it has a slightly higher protein percentage that falls between all-purpose and bread flours.
  • Buy gluten-free flour mixes from brands like Bob’s Red Mill or Cup4Cup, which are created to be substituted in the same measurements for regular all-purpose flour. With Bob’s Red Mill’s gluten-free flour mix, you’ll still have to add a small amount of xanthan gum, which the brand also sells, to add to your recipes to help with binding. With Cup4Cup, you use their “multipurpose flour” blend, but if you have a recipe in mind, opt for their mixes that are specific to baked goods like cornbread, muffins, brownies and multigrain bread. Sure, the texture won’t be quite the same, but you’ll still achieve a decent replication of the original that uses all-purpose flour.

Gluten-free skillet brownies

Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 8 to 12


Gluten-Free Buckwheat Brownies With Tahini Whipped Cream

Time 45 minutes
Yields Makes 12 to 16 brownies

Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Time 2 hours
Yields Makes about 3 1/2 dozen

Wheat-free muffins

Time 45 minutes
Yields Makes 10 muffins


Momed’s Flourless Chocolate Cake

Time 35 minutes
Yields Serves 8 to 10

Brazilian cheese bread

Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 10 to 12

Classic buttermilk Irish soda bread

Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Yields Serves 10 to 12

Use spelt flour or gluten-free flour mix in place of the all-purpose flour.


Leona's seeded crackers and cheese

Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Yields Serves 6 to 8

Four-seed snapper crackers

Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields Makes 6 to 8 dozen crackers

Cherry-almond cobbler

Time 50 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Almond and Orange Shortbread Bars with Poppy Seed Jam

Time 2 hours
Yields Makes 24 squares