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Stress Baking in a Pandemic: What to Bake If You Can’t Buy Enough Flour

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, there was a bit of a baking epidemic in addition to all the pandemic stress.

Flour, sugar and other baking needs were in short supply, even worse than at the holidays, the only other time of year so many people seem to care to bake from scratch.

What can you do if you can’t find flour, whole wheat or otherwise, in the store? Even buying online wasn’t an option at that point, and if you care about whole grain flour baking, you know you need freezer space.

The problem is I noticed at that time was that a lot of people were baking with white flour and white sugar. I was even in a store a few weeks into quarantine and noticed that cake mixes, frosting and colorful bling for the tops of cupcakes were in very short supply.

To me, these are not vital necessities.

baking supplies

I understand parents were probably trying to keep things fun and give their kids something to do, but it’s killing me that folks were still feeding them so much sugar, even though they were (finally) completely in our control for nourishment.

We often complain as real foodies about the amount of sugar given to our kids at school, church functions, libraries, sporting events, etc. We can do better at home!

The Baking from Scratch and Preparedness Conflict

If we’re cooking at home, we really should be baking from scratch. But let’s think about whole-grain flours, sourdough, sprouting legumes, and nourishing traditional techniques.

A reader pointed out a problem with whole grain baking and preparedness together. We know that once a whole grain is pulverized into a flour, it immediately begins going rancid.

Whole-grain flour has a very short shelf life and should be frozen if not used right away. Buying an extra freezer just for your whole-grain flour is not a very economical way to have a preparedness mindset.

gluten-free whole grains and flour

So if someone can’t afford or just doesn’t yet have a grain mill to grind to their own flour, what are they to do?

P.S. If you grind your own flour, whole grains like wheat berries, whole barley, rice and more can last at room temperature for a very long time. Here’s a bit about my favorite grain mill.

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Katie Kimball from Kitchen Stewardship opening her Mockmill grain mill.

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Whole Grain Baking Without Flour – Use Whole Grains to Make Bread!

Every so often, I come across really interesting, unique recipes that turn conventions on their heads. I love them. I love being a little rebellious and doing something out of the ordinary, and I love it even more when it all works out beautifully.

It’s just this sort of recipe that is the answer to whole-grain baking and long-term storage together. That makes me love these recipes even more.

rolled oats

Did you know you can make waffles out of whole oats or flatbread out of rice and lentils? No one would ever guess that there wasn’t any flour in these recipes. And if you’re doing the low-carb thing, you can even make waffles, pancakes and more out of nuts.

Side note: Some nuts, particularly walnuts (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!)and raw cashews (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!), probably ought to be kept cold themselves, but they’re not nearly as sensitive as whole-grain flours. I have a few favorite recipes like this on Kitchen Stewardship®.

Flour Shortage Baking Recipes at Kitchen Stewardship®

Flour and Whole grain
cardamom cranberry cake
Almond Power Bars

I also have a few more favorites that are inside some of my e-books. Try oatmeal waffles, cashew waffles and whole-grain, no-flour pancakes, all in The Healthy Breakfast Book. Those pancakes are so cool, because you don’t even need a high-powered blender to make them. Any cheap blender can take a cup of rice, spelt berries or barley and two cups of milk and blend them into a beautiful pancake batter.

By the way, for preparedness or budget sake, you can almost always get away with replacing the milk in pancake batter with water. The pancakes will be a little thinner but still delicious.

You can also try dosas from The Healthy Lunch Box eBook, traditional wraps made from whole rice, lentils, and yogurt, fermented for 2 days and cooked up like pancakes, but sturdy enough to make a wrap full of meat and condiments. Wow!

oat flour

I asked my real-foodie friends if they had any of these unique recipes around and here’s what they came up with. (Photos were used with permission.)

RELATED: Preparing for a food shortage …

Dessert Recipes Without Flour – Baking in a Shortage

flourless dessert recipes

Baked Snacks Without Flour

flourless recipes

Other Flourless Baking Recipes if You Can’t Buy Flour

baking without flour

And finally, remember that even Jesus said, “Man does not live on bread alone.” We are pretty used to our baked goods here in America, but one can easily go months, years or even a lifetime without baking anything.

If you still want to make sure you have enough carbohydrates for energy, think about cooking whole grains like steel-cut oats, rice of all kinds, quinoa, barley and more as part of your meal.

Flour and Kitchen
Share your favorite flourless baking recipes in the comments!

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

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