Rye flour is the milled form of the rye grain. Rye flour comes in different colors and degrees of coarseness. Not all grocery stores carry it, which means that you may not be able to find it easily and will need to look for an alternative. The right substitute flour depends on the type of rye flour you are trying to replace. While no other flour will give you the same distinctive flavor and texture that you would get from rye flour, the rye flour substitutes below are some of the best options.
Your Best Bet: Whole wheat flour
White flour contains only the endosperm of the wheat grain while whole wheat flour contains the bran and germ as well as the endosperm. The fact that it contains bran makes it a closer match for rye flour in terms of nutritional value. It also contains less gluten, which means that a loaf of whole wheat bread will be denser than one made with all-purpose or bread flour. The density gives whole wheat bread a similar texture to bread made with rye flour.
As with rye, recipes with whole wheat flour often involve combining it with white flour to make up for the gluten deficiency.
A decent second choice: Buckwheat flour and white flour combo
The buckwheat used to make buckwheat flour is not related to wheat even though it has the word wheat in the name. Buckwheat flour has a nutty flavor and a dark color, similar to rye flour.
Another similarity with rye flour is the fact that buckwheat flour is loaded with nutrients. It is full of essential amino acids. While buckwheat bread will have a different flavor profile from rye bread, the two should still look similar.
Buckwheat flour is not the best option for making bread on its own. The reason is that it has no gluten, which means that bread made with only buckwheat will be crumbly. The buckwheat and white flour combination works best in pancakes, pastries and other baked goods.
In a pinch: Barley flour
Barley flour is made from barley grain. Barley flour is similar to rye flour in that it contains some gluten, but not enough to make it function like wheat. The gluten in barley flour is not as strong as the gluten in wheat flour so it does not rise as well. You will still need to mix barley with a gluten-rich flour to keep bread and other leavened baked goods from crumbling.
Its flavor is a nutty sweetness that is different from the sourness of rye but that should still make for a tasty result if you use it as a rye flour substitute. It also has a nutritional profile similar to that of rye flour since it is rich in fiber and in many of the same vitamins and minerals.
Barley works best as a rye substitute in pancakes and cakes but can work in a yeast bread as well. Note that barley flour has a lighter color and will result in a paler end-product than you would get if using whole grain rye flour.
Amaranth flour has more protein than rye and more of the other important nutrients as well. It contains no gluten, which means that you will need to combine it with white flour to get the structure needed for baked goods to rise. Amaranth flour does not contain gluten so a pastry made with it will have a similar texture to one made with rye flour in that it will be dense.