The baking aisle in the grocery store has become an exciting place in recent decades. Long gone are the days when home cooks purchased only all-purpose and whole wheat flours, with the occasional addition of pastry flour for special occasions. Now there is an array of flours available in every store, many with exotic names, like amaranth and spelt, and many that you recognize in other formats, such as chickpea.
The availability of these ‘alternative’ flours, however, has made baking and cooking more interesting than ever, not to mention healthier; but they behave in ways that are different than traditional wheat flours. Here is our rough guide to what these flours are, how they behave, and the best ways in which to use them.