Zopf (Zupfe)- Swiss Braided Loaf Bread

Regular readers of this blog know that I am a bake-aholic.  In the beginning of my baking months, I really followed the recipes to the tee, judiciously measuring every single 1/8th of measurements possible.

Then the real inner me started revealing itself and I started tinkering the recipes and making my own. No – its not about experience alone. You don’t have to make 100 breads to do that. Its all about Food Science. Pure logic. When I try to learn, I try to understand why so and so ingredients go together, what makes it click and why. You can’t tell me add xanthum gum and not tell me why. Explanations of “that’s how it is” don’t appeal to me. Once you learn that, Baking becomes a breeze – in short an addiction because the whole world of aromatic baked goods are right at your feet.

And yes one more thing – if you get a sudden wave, an inspiration to bake and upon entering the kitchen you happen to find that so and so ingredient is missing – Wait. Don’t sigh and give up – See if suitable substitutions can be made. Out of 10 recipes that I bake, at least 6 of them have my own substitutions on account of an ingredient’s unavailability.

In this month alone I have had 27 requests (mails,comments,phone calls) asking me for what and what to be substituted for what and what. To make it easier on everyone (for cases when I am not available for quick reply) – I thought of making this post. I have maintained notes of substitutions which I have researched from all over Internet, Magazines, Friends, Neighbors, cookbooks, Food Network channels which I use as a guideline for my own baking. And here they are – Next time you realize that an ingredient is missing – Check this list to make sure that there is a substitute available. Bookmark  this list cos I will be updating it as and when I find something.

Ingredient Substitutes in Baking

(*) is to indicate that this substitution is ideal from personal experience.

Flour Substitutes ( For 1 cup of Flour)

All Purpose Flour
  1. 1/2 cup white cake flour plus 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  2. 1 cup self-rising flour (omit using salt and baking powder if the recipe calls for it since self raising flour has it already)
  3. 1 cup plus 2  tablespoons cake flour
  4. 1/2 cup (75 grams) whole wheat flour
  5. 7/8 cup (130 grams) rice flour (starch) (do not replace all of the flour with the rice flour)
  6. 7/8 cup whole wheat
Bread Flour
  1. 1 cup all purpose flour
  2. 1 cup all purpose flour plus 1 teaspoon wheat gluten  (*)
Cake Flour
  1. Place 2 tbsp cornstarch in 1 cup and fill the rest up with All
    Purpose flour (*)
  2. 1 cup all purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons
Pastry flour
  1. Place 2 tbsp cornstarch in 1 cup and fill the rest up with All Purpose flour
  2. Equal parts of All purpose flour plus cake flour  (*)
Self-rising Flour
  1. 1½ teaspoons of baking powder plus  ½ teaspoon of salt plus 1 cup of all-purpose flour.
Cornstarch (1 tbsp)
  1. 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  2. 1 tablespoon arrowroot
  3. 4 teaspoons quick-cooking tapioca
  4. 1 tablespoon potato starch or rice starch or flour
Tapioca (1 tbsp)
  1. 1 – 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Cornmeal (stone ground)
  1. polenta OR corn flour (gives baked goods a lighter texture)
  2. if using cornmeal for breading,crush corn chips in a blender until they have the consistency of cornmeal.
  3. maize meal
  4. Corn grits

Sweeteners ( for Every 1 cup )

* * (HV) denotes Healthy Version for low fat or fat free substitution in Baking

Light Brown Sugar
  1. 2 tablespoons molasses plus 1 cup of white sugar
Dark Brown Sugar
  1. 3 tablespoons molasses plus 1 cup of white sugar
Confectioner’s/Powdered Sugar
  1. Process 1 cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Corn Syrup
  1. 1 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup water
  2. 1 cup Golden Syrup
  3. 1 cup honey (may be little sweeter)
  4. 1 cup molasses
Golden Syrup
  1. Combine two parts light corn syrup plus one part molasses
  2. 1/2 cup honey plus 1/2 cup corn syrup
  3. 1 cup maple syrup
  4. 1 cup corn syrup
  1. 1- 1/4 cups sugar plus 1/4 cup water
  2. 3/4 cup maple syrup plus 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  3. 3/4 cup corn syrup plus 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  4. 3/4 cup  light molasses plus 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
  5. 1 1/4 cups granulated white or brown sugar plus 1/4 cup additional liquid in recipe plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Maple Syrup
  1. 1 cup honey,thinned with water or fruit juice like apple
  2. 3/4 cup corn syrup plus 1/4 cup butter
  3. 1 cup Brown Rice Syrup
  4. 1 cup Brown sugar (in case of cereals)
  5. 1 cup light molasses (on pancakes, cereals etc)
  6. 1 cup granulated sugar for every 3/4 cup of maple syrup and increase liquid in the recipe by 3 tbsp for every cup of sugar.If baking soda is used, decrease the amount by 1/4 teaspoon per cup of sugar substituted, since sugar is less acidic than maple syrup
  7. You can prepare your own maple syrup substitute at home with the help of this recipe. Please see Note below.
  1. 1 cup honey
  2. 1 cup dark corn syrup
  3. 1 cup maple syrup
  4. 3/4 cup brown sugar warmed and dissolved in 1/4 cup of liquid ( use this if taste of molasses is important in the baked good)
Cocoa Powder (Natural, Unsweetened)
  1. 3 tablespoons (20 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa plus 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar, lemon juice or white vinegar
  2. 1 ounce (30 grams) unsweetened chocolate (reduce fat in recipe by 1 tablespoon)
  3. 3 tablespoons (20 grams) carob powder
Semisweet baking chocolate (1 oz)
  1. 1 oz unsweetened baking chocolate plus 1 Tbsp sugar
Unsweetened baking chocolate (1 oz )
  1. 3 Tbsp baking cocoa plus 1 Tbsp vegetable oil or melted shortening or margarine
Semisweet chocolate chips (1 cup)
  1. 6 oz semisweet baking chocolate, chopped
  2. (Alternatively) For 1 cup of Semi sweet chocolate chips you can use : 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 7 tablespoons sugar ,1/4 cup fat (butter or oil)

Leaveners and Diary

* * (HV) denotes Healthy Version for low fat or fat free substitution in Baking

Compressed Yeast (1 cake)
  1. 1 envelope or 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 packet (1/4 ounce) Active Dry yeast
  1. 1 cake  fresh compressed yeast
  2. 1 tablespoon  fast-rising active yeast
Baking Powder (1 tsp)
  1. 1/3 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  2. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
  3. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/3 cup molasses. When using the substitutions that include liquid, reduce other liquid in recipe accordingly
Baking Soda(1 tsp)
  1. 3 tsp Baking Powder ( and reduce the acidic ingredients in the recipe. Ex Instead of buttermilk add milk)
  2. 1 tsp potassium bicarbonate
  3. Ideal substitution – 2 tsp Baking powder and omit salt in recipe
Cream of tartar (1 tsp)
  1. 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  2. 1 tsp lemon juice
  3. Notes from What’s Cooking America - If cream of tartar is used along with baking soda in a cake or cookie recipe, omit both and use baking powder instead. If it calls for baking soda and cream of tarter, just use baking powder.Normally, when cream of tartar is used in a cookie, it is used together with baking soda. The two of them combined work like double-acting baking powder. When substituting for cream of tartar, you must also substitute for the baking soda. If your recipe calls for baking soda and cream of tarter, just use baking powder. One teaspoon baking powder is equivalent to 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 5/8 teaspoon cream of tartar. If there is additional baking soda that does not fit into the equation, simply add it to the batter.
Buttermilk (1 cup)
  1. 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar (white or cider) plus enough milk to make 1 cup (let stand 5-10 minutes)
  2. 1 cup plain or low fat yogurt
  3. 1 cup sour cream
  4. 1 cup water plus 1/4 cup buttermilk powder
  5. 1 cup milk plus 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 teaspoons cream of tartar
Plain Yogurt (1 cup)
  1. 1 cup sour cream
  2. 1 cup buttermilk
  3. 1 cup creme fraiche
  4. 1 cup  heavy whipping cream (35% butterfat) plus 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Whole Milk (1 cup)
  1. 1 cup fat free milk plus 1 tbsp unsaturated Oil like canola (HV)
  2. 1 cup low fat milk (HV)
Heavy Cream (1 cup)
  1. 3/4 cup milk plus 1/3 cup melted butter.(whipping wont work)
Sour Cream (1 cup)

(pls refer also Substitutes for Fats in Baking below)

  1. 7/8 cup buttermilk or sour milk plus 3 tablespoons butter.
  2. 1 cup thickened yogurt plus 1 teaspoon baking soda.
  3. 3/4 cup sour milk plus 1/3 cup butter.
  4. 3/4 cup buttermilk plus 1/3 cup butter.
  5. Cooked sauces: 1 cup yogurt plus 1 tablespoon flour plus 2 teaspoons water.
  6. Cooked sauces: 1 cup evaporated milk plus 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice. Let stand 5 minutes to thicken.
  7. Dips: 1 cup yogurt (drain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve for 30 minutes in the refrigerator for a thicker texture).
  8. Dips: 1 cup cottage cheese plus 1/4 cup yogurt or buttermilk, briefly whirled in a blender.
  9. Dips: 6 ounces cream cheese plus 3 tablespoons milk,briefly whirled in a blender.
  10. Lower fat: 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice plus 2 tablespoons skim milk, whipped until smooth in a blender.
  11. Lower fat: 1 can chilled evaporated milk whipped with 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
  12. 1 cup plain yogurt plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  13. 1 cup plain nonfat yogurt

Substitutes for Fats in Baking

* * (HV) denoted Healthy Version for low fat or fat free substitution in Baking

Butter (1 cup)
  1. 1 cup trans-free vegetable shortening
  2. 3/4 cups of vegetable oil (example. Canola oil)
  3. Fruit purees (example- applesauce, pureed prunes, baby-food fruits). Add it along with some vegetable oil and reduce any other sweeteners needed in the recipe since fruit purees are already sweet.
  4. 1 cup polyunsaturated margarine (HV)
  5. 3/4 cup polyunsaturated oil like safflower oil (HV)
  6. 1 cup mild olive oil (not extra virgin)(HV)

Note: Butter creates the flakiness and the richness which an oil/purees cant provide. If you don’t want to compromise that much to taste, replace half the butter with the substitutions.

Shortening(1 cup)
  1. 1 cup polyunsaturated margarine like Earth Balance or Smart Balance(HV)
  2. 1 cup + 2tbsp Butter ( better tasting than shortening but more expensive and has cholesterol and a higher level of saturated fat; makes cookies less crunchy, bread crusts more crispy)
  3. 1 cup + 2 tbsp Margarine (better tasting than shortening but more expensive; makes cookies less crunchy, bread crusts tougher)
  4. 1 Cup – 2tbsp Lard (Has cholesterol and a higher level of saturated fat)
  1. equal amount of apple sauce
  2. stiffly beaten egg whites into batter
  3. equal parts mashed banana
  4. equal parts yogurt
  5. prune puree
  6. grated raw zucchini or seeds removed if cooked. Works well in quick breads/muffins/coffee cakes and does not alter taste
  7. pumpkin puree (if the recipe can handle the taste change)
  8. Low fat cottage cheese (use only half of the required fat in the recipe). Can give rubbery texture to the end result
  9. Silken Tofu – (use only half of the required fat in the recipe). Can give rubbery texture to the end result
  10. Equal parts of fruit juice

Note: Fruit purees can alter the taste of the final product is used in large quantities.

Cream Cheese (1 cup)
  1. 4 tbsps margarine plus 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese – blended. Add few teaspoons of fat-free milk if needed (HV)
Heavy Cream (1 cup)
  1. 1 cup evaporated skim milk (or full fat milk)
  2. 1/2 cup low fat Yogurt plus 1/2 low fat Cottage Cheese (HV)
  3. 1/2 cup Yogurt plus 1/2 Cottage Cheese
Sour Cream (1 cup)
  1. 1 cup plain yogurt (HV)
  2. 3/4 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt plus 1/3 cup melted butter
  3. 1 cup creme fraiche
  4. 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar plus enough whole milk to fill 1 cup (let stand 5-10 minutes)
  5. 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese plus 1/2 cup low-fat or nonfat yogurt (HV)
  6. 1 cup fat-free sour cream (HV)

Note: How to Make Maple Syrup Substitute at home

I have seen this on the internet, cant remember where but I have noted it down for future references. See if this works for you.

For 1 Cup Maple Syrup

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract or vanilla extract


In a heavy saucepan, place the granulated sugar and keep stirring until it melts and turns slightly brown. Alternatively
in another pan, place brown sugar and water and bring to a boil without stirring. Now mix both the sugars and simmer in low heat until they come together as one thick syrup. Remove from heat, add butter and the extract. Use this in place of maple syrup.

Store it in a fridge in an air tight container.

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71 Responses to “Baking Substitutes 101”
  1. This refers to Nancy’s question…you can just whip the whole egg(s) until it’s light and fluffy – it should be a pale yellow and creamy looking. Then fold it into the dry ingredients. Also, I’m pretty sure if not 100% confident that Tim Hortons uses a mix for their muffins which explains why it’s always so fluffy and light. Good luck with your muffins!

  2. I have looked everywhere but can’t find an answer to the following: I am looking to make a muffin recipe wherein they are light and fluffy. I read a comment that using whipped egg whites in a muffin recipe folded in at the end produces this texture. So here’s my question: If a recipe calls for 1 or two eggs, do I separate the eggs, add the yolks and then whip the whites? Please help as I am determined to find the “perfect” blueberry muffin recipe. I live in Canada and the muffins we love are made by Tim Hortons and yet, I can’t seem to reproduce their delicious gems. I’d greatly appreciate your assistance!

  3. Nell Weidenhamer

    Are there any substitutions for Coconut Oil or Coconut Sugar? I am at college with very limited resources/ingredients. Thanks!

  4. Barbara 64

    I can’t seem to find an answer to my question online anywhere :roll: It’s probably me looking but not seeing!!!
    I need to know whether I can use 50% creme fraiche in my Ina Garten fresh peach cake batter. Any help much appreciated.
    Blessings, Barbara

  5. Willow

    Heather & Lorna,
    I was flabbergasted when I read the suggestion to give spelt to someone with celiac’s! Spelt is a verity of wheat!

    Lorna, I’m sure you already know this, but please don’t ever give spelt to your daughter unless her doctor suggests it (which I can’t imagine). BTW, I’ve found some great sites & recipes catering to Celiac’s, gluten allergies, paleo and grain free diets since my wheat allergy diagnoses 3 weeks ago. Google “flour substitutions for baking” etc. If all else fails, try wellnessmama(dot)com. Good luck and good health to you and your daughter. :-)

    Heather, thank you for tring to help, but please double check facts like this, as you could be risking someone elses health.

    On a side note: Oats may contain gluten, but it’s totally dependant on the field in which they’re grown and facility in which they were processed. If it’s grown in a dedicated field and processed in a gluten free facility, the oats will be gluten free. If, however anything processed on or near the equipment, or even in the same facility contains gluten (all wheats, barley, triticale, and rye), people with Celiac’s or an immune system sensitive enough may have a severe reaction. In some cases this includes just being in the same room as the tainted food. This goes for pretty much all naturally gf foods out there. Note: Oats may still be risky for children with Celiac’s. See Wikipedia’s Gluten-Free Diet page.

  6. Heather

    Lorna –
    Spelt is a great substitute for flour. Most celiacs can have spelt. If your daughter can eat oats, than she should be able to eat spelt. Splet flour can be used in direct substitution of wheat flour. Good Luck

  7. Robin

    I don’t understand the following substitution for pastry flour. Are numbers 1 and 2 both substitutions for pastry flour or are we supposed to do both? Thank you
    Pastry flour
    1) Place 2 tbsp cornstarch in 1 cup and fill the rest up with All Purpose flour
    2) Equal parts of All purpose flour plus cake flour (*)

    Its either (1) OR (2). Just different options to try and see what works best for you :) –DK

  8. Lorna

    My daughter has just been diagnosed with celiacs disease, and so i am trying to work out how to make butterzopf that is gluten free as this is the only bread that she eats. Please help me, I have never made bread before, but I am quite good at the baking i do, and i am not phased by a challenge. Thanks,

  9. Neha

    Divya, This is really helpful. Have you used egg substitutes? What has been your experience?

  10. Carolynn

    Since I don’t use face book or twitter, I am irritated that I cannot email this info to my daughter.

  11. ARLENE

    Thank you so much. Living over hear in Sunny Sri Lanka is all well and good but trying to get ingredients………nightmare..soooo dear one thanks a million for this list

  12. Dr. K R Anilakumar

    I wish to get commercially available fat replacers. Is it available in India?

  13. Carol

    :lol: thanks for all the information. Hubby has sweet tooth and I am looking for something easy to make with quinoa , he loves chocolate cakes and puddings. Would love to have recipes using quinoa without so many extra ingredients. We are trying to eat natural, organic when possible.

  14. Very helpful! Thank you so much! (Found you via Google when I was looking for applesauce substitutions.)

  15. Indira

    thank you so much for this information, it is really very helpful, is there any substitute for egg? ..

    Please refer my post : Egg Substitutes for Cooking and Baking

  16. Thank you for the long tips :wink:

  17. Can I substitute salted butter for unsalted butter if I omit the salt from the recipe? This is for cookies.

  18. Jaslyn

    Coconut oil works just as good as butter. It even provides the flakiness and the richness they talk about. :-D

  19. Claudene

    I am wondering if Coconut Oil can be used instead of Butter or shortening in recipes?
    RE: Sweeteners: Can Agave be used to substitute for white sugar?
    RE: Flour Substitutes for All-Purpose White flour-I think it needs it’s own section, so many flours, so little comparison: Soy, Coconut, Spelt, Corn etc. The list goes on and on. Plz Advise. Thanks.

  20. sam

    I am an ex-pat living in the philippines.. I went to buy some cottage cheese the other day. SURPRISE !!!! It came to the equivalent of $2.69 usd. per 240 grams ( about 1 cup) OUCH !! so I need to know how to make substitute cottage with flour and ???? I want my lasagne .. Thanx SAM

  21. Anoo

    Thank u soooo much for the substitutes..its really really useful !

  22. Crispus

    dear Dear gal! Bless ur heart for posting this….i am at my wit’s end searching, scouring, reading, trashing and re-reading, googling, trawling the internet for good vegan subsitutes..after baking a dozen pasty cakes, crumbly cake-like thingy, fall apart b4u touch cookies etc…i was still hopeful that someone somewhere will ahve some step by step, with pictures and good substitutes to dairy n egg..(all this for my lil’O whose got egg,whey,milk, and partially soy allergies..) LOV ur site, i sat 2+ hrs reading it straight post to post and still so much to read…MUAH my blog friend…Wish u good cheer and a long happy Bloglife!!

  23. kavya

    Dear DK
    Thankyou very much. You have shared a very very useful information with us. I have tried u r tip for Baking soda. In the place of baking soda i used baking powder and it worked out very well. Believe me i have purchased MW Oven last month and went to company cookery class where the person who teaches also did not guide me very well on this . Even shopkeepers used to give me cooking soda . Due to non availability of baking soda i did not tried so many recipes. Today i tried simple cake using baking powder in the place of baking soda. I have 7yr daughter who is asking me to prepare cake for her.Today i made cake and my daughter shared the cake with her friends being children’s day . All their joy’s credit goes to you DK. Today i do not know how to express my special thanks to D & K. Thankyou very much is a simple word from my side. You did a great job. Keep it up. I will try some more recipes and comeback to you.

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