Don’t have plain flour under your hands? Wondering if you can use cornflour instead? It may be not as easy as you may think. There are some things to which you should pay attention if you don’t want to ruin your ingredients and recipes. Let’s find out if you can substitute the cornflour in baking, frying, and sauce thickening.
When you’re trying to substitute some ingredients, you should pay attention to the role of this ingredient in this specific recipe, their properties, the ratio of conversion, and the potential downsides of substituting this ingredient.
If you will pay attention to all of these aspects, you can easily substitute the plain flour with cornflour. The most important thing is to understand why the plain flour was used in this specific recipe and if you’re ok with replacing it with cornflour.
So, let’s find out if you can use cornflour instead of plain flour.
Difference Between Cornflour and Plain Flour?
So, can you use cornflour as a substitute for plain flour? Cornflour is made from corn, and doesn’t contain gluten, if you will use it in baking – the dough will not rise and have a high density. As cornflour doesn’t have gluten which gives structure to the dough, you need to use other ingredients that are rich in protein such as eggs.
On another side, plain flour is made from wheat, contains gluten, and is great for baking.
As they are different types of flours, they have different properties and different protein content. They also have different textures and structures. Corn flour contains more fats while wheat flour is richer in protein, fibers, and vitamins.
Can I Use Cornflour Instead of Plain Flour for Thickening?
If you don’t have the plain flour in your kitchen, or you’re looking for some gluten-free thickening agent for a soup, sauce, or stew, you can easily replace the cornflour with plain flour.
Prop Tip: Keep in mind that the cornflour has two times the thickening ability of flour. So, in case you will go with cornflour, you will need to use only half of the amount of cornflour instead of the amount of plain flour that was asked in the original recipe. So, if the recipe is calling for 2 tablespoons of flour, use only 1 tablespoon of cornflour.
Can I Use Cornflour Instead of Plain Flour for Baking?
Not really. If you’re planning to bake something and this dough needs to rise, I recommend picking another substitute. You will not get the results you are looking for.
For baking goods raised with yeast, you need to pick a substitute that has gluten in the wheat to provide the elasticity. In other words, gluten is a protein that has unique properties of keeping the dioxide gas in its structure and therefore making the dough rise.
Quick Note: As the cornflour is gluten-free, it doesn’t have these properties and the dough will remain flat and dense.
However, you can easily substitute plain flour with cornflour in pancakes, waffles, or cookies. The flavor may differ a little, but you may like it even more.
Can I Use Cornflour Instead of Plain Flour for Frying?
Cornflour is a better option for frying because it gives a lightly crispy crust and a nicer golden color to the dish and its cooks faster than all-purpose flour. The plain flour needs more time to cook and may result in over-cooked dishes if you’re cooking something small like chicken nuggets.
As you can find, if you know exactly why the plain flour is used in a specific recipe, you can easily use the cornflour instead of plain, no matter if we are speaking about baking, thickening, or frying.