There is nothing worse than lumpy gravy or sauces… but what if I told you there was a flour that would melt instantly, creating the smooth, silky gravy of your dreams? Well, that’s exactly what instant flour was made for.
But it’s not just for gravy – instant flour is the secret ingredient to creating lump-free crepe and cake batter.
So, what exactly is instant flour? And what makes it “instant”? Let’s dive in!
What is instant flour?
Instant flour is a type of flour that has been pre-cooked, dried, and finely ground into a powder. It’s typically a combination of wheat flour and malted barley flour that is treated to make it dissolve instantly into liquids.
One of the earliest and most well-known brands of instant flour is “Wondra”, which was introduced by the Gold Medal flour company in 1963.
To make instant flour, wheat flour is first hydrated with water, then cooked at high temperature and pressure to gelatinize the starch. This gelatinized dough is then dried and milled into an extra-fine powder, preventing lumps from forming when mixed with liquids.
Instant flour is commonly used in commercial food production, such as in cake and pastry mixes, sauces, and gravies, as it can thicken and stabilize these products quickly and easily. It can also be used in home cooking to save time and simplify recipes that call for a roux or other thickening agent.
What’s the difference between instant flour and regular flour?
The ingredients in instant flour and regular flour are similar (blend of wheat flour, malted barley flour, and vitamins and minerals), but they differ in their processing.
Regular flour is milled from raw grains , while instant flour undergoes an extra step a process called “pre-gelatinization”, which pre-cooks or pre-activates the flour. This gives instant flour the ability to dissolve quickly in liquids and create a smoother, more uniform texture than regular flour or cornstarch.
Benefits of instant flour
Since instant flour has already been “cooked,” it dissolves quickly and easily in liquids, which makes it great for thickening sauces and gravies without clumps, which can happen when using regular flour or cornstarch.
And lastly, it can save you some time in the kitchen. Instant flour doesn’t require as much cooking time as regular flour, and it can reduce the resting time needed when making pancakes or waffles, as it absorbs liquid faster.
Instant flour nutrition facts
|Flour (¼ cup)||Calories||Carbs||Fiber||Sugar||Fat||Protein||Glycemic Index|
|Instant flour||100||22 g||<1 g||0 g||0 g||3 g||Likely high (close to AP flour)|
|All-purpose flour||120||24 g||1 g||0 g||0.5 g||4 g||85|
How to bake and cook with instant flour
Instant flour is amazing for creating smooth, lump-free batters for certain baked goods, such as crepes, pancakes, or angel food cakes. I also love adding instant flour to create a tender, flaky pie crust, but it doesn’t work that well for bread.
Instant flour can be used to create an extra-crispy skin on fried chicken or fish. Or, add it to stocks with herbs and wine for delicious gravies and sauces.
You can use instant flour in place of cake flour at a 1:1 ratio. To use instant flour as a substitute for all-purpose flour, use 1 cup + 2 tablespoons of instant flour for every 1 cup of all-purpose. When replacing cornstarch, you only need half the amount since it absorbs more liquid, faster.
Popular instant flour baked goods and dishes
Some popular ways to use instant flour:
- Cake and cupcake batters
- Pancakes and waffles
- Biscuits and scones
- Pie fillings and custards
- Gravies and sauces
- Creamy soups and chowders
- Fried chicken breading and coatings
- Tempura batter for vegetables and seafood
- Bechamel and cheese sauces for pasta dishes
How to make instant flour at home
Instant flour is typically made through an industrial process that involves high pressure and temperatures, but it’s possible to make a version of instant flour at home by mixing all-purpose flour and cornstarch…
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add 1 cup of all-purpose flour.
- Add 2 tablespoons of corn starch to the bowl and mix well using a whisk.
- Sift the flour and cornstarch mixture until extra-fine and use immediately.
- Whisk the instant flour into a small amount of cold water or other liquid before adding it to your recipe to prevent clumping.
How to store instant flour
Always keep instant flour (store-bought and homemade) in a cool, dry place. It typically has a shelf-life of about 6 months when stored the right way.
I like airtight containers for preventing any moisture from getting in, which can cause the flour to clump and spoil. Make sure you write down the expiration date that’s on the package.
What are the best substitutes for instant flour?
If you don’t have instant flour, you can use all-purpose flour and cornstarch using the recipe above.
Instant flour is essentially a flour that has been pre-cooked and then dehydrated, which allows it to dissolve quickly when added to liquids. By adding cornstarch to all-purpose flour, you’re essentially creating a mixture that behaves similarly to instant flour.
Other potential substitutes include cornstarch, potato starch, and arrowroot powder. These starches are also commonly used as thickeners in cooking and can be used in the same proportions as instant flour.
Cassava flour and potato flour also work well as a substitutes for instant flour in certain recipes that call for a gluten-free flour or that require a similar starch content.
Quick-mixing flour and instant flour are similar, but not exactly the same. Quick-mixing flour is pre-sifted and blended with baking powder and salt, while instant flour is pre-cooked and dried to dissolve more easily in liquids.
Instant blending flour is used to thicken sauces, gravies, and soups quickly and easily, as it dissolves easily in liquids without forming lumps or clumps. It can also be used as a convenient substitute for all-purpose flour in baking recipes that require quick mixing and less gluten development, such as pancakes, waffles, and biscuits.
Wondra flour is not the same as cake flour. Wondra is a type of instant flour that has been pre-cooked and dried, while cake flour is a finely milled, low-protein flour that is specifically designed for use in cakes and other delicate baked goods.