Feb 12, 2015


Don’t have whole wheat pastry flour? Regular whole wheat flour is not a good substitute for whole wheat pastry flour. It will give you a heavier and more dense product. Whole wheat flour is usually ground hard wheat that is high in gluten and best for baking bread. Whole wheat pastry flour is a much finer grind and is made from a soft wheat low in gluten. It is best for sweets like cakes, muffins, and cookies. Whole wheat pastry flour is available at Whole Foods and can easily be purchased online (King Arthur Flour has it).  If you use my recipes regularly it’s worth the effort to find whole wheat pastry flour so you can add whole grains to your homemade baking.

Don’t have buttermilk? You cannot substitute milk for buttermilk. There is no perfect substitute for buttermilk, especially in baking. Due to its acidic nature, buttermilk makes baked goods lighter and fluffier so it’s worth using the real thing. You can freeze unused buttermilk in portions the size you will need for future recipes. It will separate when frozen but when you thaw it, just stir it back up. To substitute for buttermilk, there are several options:

1) Combine yogurt with milk, using plain yogurt and milk, about half and half.

2) Add 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice or distilled white vinegar to 1 cup of milk (not fat-free) and let it stand for 5 minutes or longer.

3) Combine sour cream with milk or water until it’s the thickness of buttermilk.

Don’t have bread flour? You can use all purpose flour. Bread flour has more protein than all-purpose flour and that helps with gluten development, which is helpful when working with yeast. With bread flour pizzas may be a little crispier and breads may be a little chewier and have more body but it’s not a huge difference.

Don’t have instant yeast? Regular active yeast can be used wherever I use instant yeast. But be sure to check the package directions for the required temperature of the liquid. My brand of instant yeast calls for 120 degrees F while my regular active yeast calls for 110 degrees F.

Don’t have 1% milk or low fat milk? Use a mixture of 3 parts water to 1 part whole milk. For example, to make the equivalent of one cup of 1% milk: combine  3/4 cup water + 1/4 cup whole milk.  (For 2% milk the mixture should be 50/50, i.e. half water and half whole milk)

Don’t have baking soda? Do not use baking powder instead. Baking powder is not a substitute for baking soda. Baking soda reacts with acidic ingredients in a recipe to make baked goods rise.

Don’t have extra light olive oil? For baking you can use canola, safflower, or any vegetable oil.

Don’t have a dutch oven? I have only used an enameled cast iron dutch oven but I have researched online and other people claim to have success using: a glass pyrex dish with a lid, a stainless steel pot with a lid, a clay baker, and a pizza stone with a stainless steel bowl as a cover. You can also look through the recipe comments for other ideas. Keep in mind that any lid must be tight fitting and have an oven-proof handle (not plastic). Your pot will need to hold at least 3 quarts but 5 to 6 quarts is most common.

Don’t want to use eggs? I’m sorry to say I don’t know of any good substitute for eggs. For anyone with egg allergies, rather than change a recipe and risk being disappointed, you can find many eggless recipes the are already proven online. If cholesterol is a concern, all my research has shown that egg yolks may contain cholesterol but they are low in saturated fat and they do not raise serum cholesterol in the blood. Eggs also contain nutrients that may help lower the risk for heart disease, including vitamin B12, riboflavin, and folate. Besides providing protein, iron, phosphorus, iodine, and vitamin E, eggs are also one of the few natural sources of vitamin D.

44 Comments on "Substitutions"

  1. Uschi

    What can one substitute for breadcrumbs if you’re on a low carb diet?
    Thank you!

    • nina

      You can use regular oats and grind them in a food processor, if you want them fine. If it does not matter ,then simply add them as is.

  2. Nana

    Grandpa is diabetic. How can I substituted Truvia for sugar and not get a bad taste?

    • Jenny Can Cook

      Sorry, I have no experience with any sugar substitute.

    • Courtney

      SWERVE is an excellent sugar substitute! It’s not artificial and comes in brown, confectioners and regular grain “sugar”. Used to only be available at Whole Foods, but now I’m finding it regularly at Safeway. Enjoy!!

  3. Faye in Nova Scotia

    Hello Jenny!!!
    Happened on your site quite by accident…. and so glad I did!

    I am 68 and on August 15 2018 I suffered a heart attack which required the insertion of a Stent. I am that person No one expected to have heart disease… Eat whole grains, fresh fruit, lots of vegetables, active, yadda yadda
    My question is:- being I must watch my cholesterol intake, egg yolks and red meats are no longer part of my diet. How can I make my egg whites taste like the yolks are still there?
    When baking, can I use flax eggs (1T flax + 2 T water) as a substitute in your
    Any advise is welcomed Jenny….. keep up the Great work!!!!

    • Sue

      Faye I made these cookies twice already. I substituted egg beaters for the one large egg. on the egg beater box it tells you how much to use to equal one egg. I thought the cookies came out delicious. I didn’t have prunes so I used moist raisins. I used whole wheat flour instead of the whole wheat pastry flour, as I did not have that on hand. In my opinion, they came out great.

  4. Betty Horne

    Hey Girlfriend,
    I’ve been a follower for many years . Love everything you do! And enjoy your sense of humor. Keep up the good work. well, I wouldn’t exactly call it “work” when you love what you do….How great is that?

    Betty Horne

  5. Judy

    I made your cinnamon puffs recently and they were delicious; however, I am lactose intolerant and cannot eat them as a result (I tried one, but shouldn’t have as I got sick per usual due to the buttermilk). Anyway, in your substitutions comments, you said not to use milk as a substitute for the buttermilk. I’m thinking of making the recipe again only this time using almond milk, coconut milk, or soy milk. Any comments?

    • Jenny Can Cook

      The acid in the buttermilk is essential to this recipe. You would need an acidic substitute and it might work with a alternative milk yogurt and you would have to thin it a little but I’m only guessing since I have only made them with buttermilk.

      • Judith

        I use Silk soy plain for all my baking, works great. For buttermilk I just add 1 tablespoon of vinegar and the soy milk to measure 1 cup.

  6. Twila

    I accidentally bought fat free Fage yogurt can I add something with it so that I don’t have to make another trip to the store? I am disabled and unable to get to the store very often. I’ve tried several of your recipes and love every one so far.

  7. MaryKate

    Can I add protein powder to the recipes calling for flour? I am thinking 3 or 4 tablespoons.


  8. Chris

    Can you use all purpose flour in this recipe instead of whole wheat pastry flour

  9. singdiva

    As those in the know know,Vegans plan to take over the world.Our first step is to form a faux egg by combining:1 Tbsp. Flax meal with 3 Tbsp. water, mix well, put in ice box for 15 minutes.Then have the cajohes to use it !! I used it with all my Holiday baking this year(2016) and no body noticed. I’ll cry tommorow

  10. Keshav

    Substitutions for eggs in recipes – sometimes I have used banana or yams (foods with the egg-like binding quality), and it comes out noticeably different in taste for sure and maybe texture slightly, but alright for me. Also, I may not have as as sophisticated palate as others.

  11. Cindy

    I am glaf to hear. About the egg story, i always throw my yolks away and use the whites for my morning breakfast, problem is I am still hungry. Thank you dear.😇📖👼🍟🍰🍗🍧

  12. Abby

    Would I be able to use melted butter instead? If so, would it be the same amount stated for the canola oil or not and would it be salted or unsalted butter?

    • Jenny

      I believe you can use melted butter and I would suggest the same amount of unsalted butter, melted and cooled. I have never made paczki with melted butter but I see other recipes that do so I believe it will work with my recipe. Good luck.

  13. Abby

    I have a question I did not find the answer to. I was going to make the polish doughnuts, but I did not have canola oil. I was wondering, are there were any substitutions for it?

    • Jenny

      Please look at the recipe, thanks.

      • Abby

        Would I be able to use melted butter instead?

        • Abby

          If so, would it be the same amount stated for the canola oil or not?

        • Abby

          If so, would it be salted or unsalted butter?

    • Jenny

      For baking you can use canola, safflower, extra-light olive oil, or any vegetable oil.

  14. Swati

    Hi Jenny,
    I was going through your website and found many good recipes. I love baking and always look for good and healthy recipes. I also watched some of your videos and liked the way you explain everything.
    Can you please suggest a brand for whole wheat pastry food? Also can I use this flour without using all purpose flour?


    • Jenny

      Whole wheat pastry flour can be hard to find so I use whatever brand I can find. I use this flour totally in some recipe but in others I feel some all purpose flour is needed.

      • Verna

        If you put regular whole wheat flour in the blender would that be a good substitute for pastry flour?

  15. Phyllis Martell

    can i substitute vegetable oil or canola oil or regular olive oil for everday cookies thans phyllis

  16. Debbie

    I’ve found that ground hard white wheat gives an end result like AP flour where whole wheat pastry flour is best for cakes and other more crumbly baked goods.

  17. L.L. Dambrosi

    Even though it is easy to print out your recipes, have you thought of your own cookbook? Perhaps a lot of work, but I’d be one of the first to purchase. Warm wishes.

    • Jenny

      Thanks but it’s easier to keep my recipes online, especially because I can make changes and improvements, which you can’t do once it’s in a book.

  18. Sherry

    Any substitute for sour milk?

    • Jenny

      I believe sour milk is like buttermilk so a replacement would likely be the same as for buttermilk.

    • Magart

      Put a teaspoon or so of lemon juice in a 1 cup measuring glass. Fill with milk and let sit 15 minutes. You will have sour milk.

  19. Mary Ann

    A thing I learned from my mother, as a substitute for buttermilk in her biscuits, was to put a little vinegar (I have never measured so don’t know how much exactly) to curdle the milk. Have you ever tried this and does it work for you?

    • Jenny

      I have not tried it but that option is explained above.

  20. Cindy

    Hi Jenny.

    I’ve heard that one can make 1 cup of cake flour (milled from soft wheat with low gluten) using all purpose flour by measuring 1 cup of all purpose flour and replacing 2T of the all purpose flour with 2T of corn starch. Would it be possible to do this with whole wheat flour as a substitute for whole wheat pastry flour?

    Thanks for the great site and recipes!

    • Jenny

      I wish that would work with whole wheat flour but it won’t. The two flours are very different.

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