Spelt flour Spelt flour gets points for its versatility (you can substitute it pound for pound for white flour without tasting a difference), nutty flavor, light texture and nutrition profile. A cousin of wheat, spelt flour has slightly more calories than the white stuff (120 calories per 1∕4 cup), but four times the stomach-satiating fiber and twice the heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. And, while spelt flour may be wheat-free, it’s not gluten-free, so stay away if you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, warns Freuman.
The inside scoop: Best for cookies, crusts, breakfast pastries and pancakes, the gluten in spelt makes it more fragile than white flour, so don’t over-mix. If rising is a concern (as with breads or muffins), substitute 50 percent spelt flour for white to start, suggests Cella. Store sealed in the fridge or freezer for up to 30 months; use at room temperature.
White whole-wheat flour Don’t let the name fool you. “White whole-wheat flour is whole-wheat flour, just made from a different variety of wheat that happens to be lighter,” says Freuman. Milder tasting than regular whole wheat, it may have the same calorie count as refined white, but the extra B vitamins and fiber (3 grams per 1∕4 cup) give it a leg up. The payoff: reduced risk of heart disease and improved digestive health.
The inside scoop: It’s best for cookies, bars, breads, muffins and pancakes; start by replacing half the all-purpose flour and work your way up from there, gauging taste and texture until you find the mix you like best. Store sealed in the fridge or freezer for up to 30 months; use at room temperature.
Quinoa flour “Quinoa flour is unique in the flour world, as it is one of the few complete sources of vegetarian proteins: It contains all nine essential amino acids required for building proteins in the body,” says Freuman, who recommends it for vegetarians. Gluten-free and a glycemic good-guy, the nutty-tasting seed flour also has three times more energy-enhancing iron than the white stuff and only slightly more calories (110 per 1∕4 cup).
The inside scoop: “It’s bitter in smell and coarse in taste, so making food that helps balance those factors is key,” says Gill. Use it when you make crackers or pizza dough; substitute 10 to 50 percent of the white flour. Store sealed in the fridge or freezer for up to 18 months; use at room temperature.