Types of Flour:
Flour that is used in
baking comes mainly from wheat, although it can be
milled from corn, rice, nuts, legumes, and some fruits
and vegetables. The type of flour of flour used is vital
at getting the product right. Different types of flour
are suited to different items and all flours are
different you cannot switch from one type to another
without consequences that could ruin the recipe. To
achieve success in baking, it is important to know what
the right flour is for the job!
All-Purpose Flour is a blend of hard and soft wheat; it may be bleached or unbleached. It is usually
translated as "plain flour." All-Purpose Flour has 8% to 11% protein (gluten). All-purpose flour
is one of the most commonly used and readily accessible flour in the United States.
Flour that is bleached naturally as it ages is labeled
"unbleached," while chemically treated flour is labeled "bleached." Bleached flour has less protein
than unbleached. Bleached is best for pie crusts, cookies, quick breads, pancakes and waffles. Use
unbleached flour for yeast breads, Danish pastry, puff pastry, strudel, Yorkshire pudding, éclairs,
cream puffs and popovers.
Shelf-Life: For cabinet storage, up to 8 months if properly stored in
a sealed container or if tightly wrapped, and for refrigerator storage, up to one year.
Shelf Life: Several
months in a cool, dry cabinet when stored in a
sealed container or if tightly wrapped, and up to
one year in the freezer.
Bread Flour is white flour made from hard, high-protein wheat. It
has more gluten strength and protein content than
all-purpose flour. It is unbleached and sometimes
conditioned with ascorbic acid, which increases
volume and creates better texture. Bread flour has
12% to 14% protein (gluten). This is the best choice for yeast products.
is gluten-free which makes it a good choice for anybody with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. It is
packed with nutrients, readily available, easy to work with and has a nice nutty
flavor. Check out the article
Buckwheat Flour - Adds Nutrients and Flavor to Baked Goods.
is a fine-textured, soft-wheat flour with a high starch
content. It has the lowest protein content of any
wheat flour, 8% to 10% protein (gluten). It is chlorinated (a bleaching process
which leaves the flour slightly acidic, sets a cake
faster and distributes fat more evenly through the
batter to improve texture. When you're making baked
goods with a high ratio of sugar to flour, this
flour will be better able to hold its rise and will
be less liable to collapse. This flour is excellent
for baking fine-textured cakes with greater volume
and is used in some quick breads, muffins and
cookies. If you cannot find cake flour, substitute
bleached all-purpose flour, but subtract 2
tablespoons of flour for each cup used in the recipe (if using
is usually milled from spring wheat
and has a high protein (gluten) of 12% to 14%. It is used primarily for
diabetic breads, or mixed with other non-wheat or
low-protein wheat flours to produce a stronger dough
(Wondra from Gold Medal) is granular and formulated to
dissolve quickly in hot or cold liquids. It will not
work as a substitute for all-purpose flour, although
there are recipes on the container for popovers and
other baked goods. It is used primarily in sauces
is used in the same way as regular flour. It must
follow U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations to
be labeled "organic." Using this flour is a matter
of personal preference.
is made with soft wheat and falls somewhere between
all-purpose and cake flour in terms of protein
content and baking properties. Pastry flour (also
known as cookie flour) has a protein (gluten) of 9% to
10%. Use pastry flour for making
biscuits, pie crusts, brownies, cookies and quick
breads. Pastry flour makes a tender but crumbly
pastry. Do not use it for yeast breads. Pastry flour
(both whole-wheat and regular) is not readily
available at supermarkets, but you can find it at
specialty stores and online. You can try to mimic it
by using a 2-to-1 ratio of all-purpose flour to cake
Rice Flour - Rice
flour (also called Mochiko on Japanese and Pirinç
Unu in Turkish) is a form of flour made from finely
milled rice. It can be made from either white or
sometimes referred to as phosphated flour, is a low-protein flour with salt and leavening (baking
powder) already added. It's most often recommended for biscuits and
some quick breads, but never for yeast breads. Exact
formulas, including the type of baking powder used,
vary by manufacturer. Recipes that call for
self-rising flour do not call for the addition of
salt or leavening agents.
Make your own self-rising
flour: Using a dry measure, measure the
desired amount of all-purpose flour into a
container. For each cup of all-purpose flour, add 1
1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of
salt. Mix to combine.
is used in making pasta and Italian puddings. It is
made from durum wheat, the hardest type of wheat
grown. The flour is highest in gluten. When other
grains, such as rice or corn, are similarly ground,
they are referred to as "semolina" with the grain's
name added, i.e., "corn semolina" or "rice
semolina." There are difference grades:
(1) Semolina flour is finely ground endosperm of
(2) Semolina meal is a coarsely ground cereal like
(3) Wheatina is ground whole-grain wheat.
(4) Durum flour is finely ground semolina and
is grown almost exclusively in North Dakota.
Spelt Flour is
one of the most popular and widely available of
alternative baking flours. The full name of spelt is Triticum aestivum var. spelta.
Triticum denotes that it is of the wheat family, but the fats are more soluble
and the nutritional content higher than traditional wheat flour. People who have issues with wheat digestion
but who are not gluten ill tolerant often do well with Spelt. Spelt flour has a nutty and slightly sweet flavor
similar to that of whole wheat flour. It does contain gluten and is a popular substitute for wheat in baked
goods. Check out the article on
Spelt Flour - Add Spelt Flour to your Diet for Variety and Nutrition.
Teff Flour - Teff is an ancient and intriguing grain, tiny in size
yet packed with nutrition. It is simple to prepare and similar to millet or
quinoa in cooking. Teff is a great addition to your diet for nutrition, taste, and variety. Teff is packed with nutrition. It is higher in protein
than wheat and has a high concentration of a wide variety of nutrients, including calcium, thiamin and iron. The iron from teff is easily absorbed by
the body. Since the grains are so small, the bulk of the grain is germ and brand. It is very high in fiber and is thought to benefit people with
diabetes as it helps control blood sugar levels. Teff contains no gluten which makes it a suitable grain for celiacs or people with wheat sensitivities. Due to
its nutritional content and energy enhancing properties, it has also gained favor with athletes. Check out the article
Teff - A Nutritious and Versatile Grain.
(also called graham flour) is made from the whole kernel of wheat and is higher
in dietary fiber and overall nutrient content than white flours. It does not have as high a gluten
level, so often it's mixed with all-purpose or bread flour when making yeast breads. Whole wheat flour
is equivalent to British whole meal flour.
Shelf Life: 6 months
to one year in the freezer if stored in tightly
sealed plastic containers or if tightly wrapped. It
will keep for only a few months if stored in a
cabinet. Due to the presence of the wheat germ,
resulting in an unsaturated oil content that is
higher than refined flour. The potential for
rancidity is greater if whole-wheat flour is kept
for long periods and particularly if it is not
stored under refrigerated conditions. It is best to
store whole-wheat flour in a tightly sealed
container in the refrigerator or freezer.
How To Buy Flour:
Look for tightly sealed bags or boxes. Flours in torn
packages or in open bins are exposed to air and to
How To Store Flour:
be kept cool and dry. All flours, even white flour, have
a limited shelf life. Millers recommend that flours be
stored for no more than 6
months. The main change that occurs is the
oxidation of oils when flour is exposed to air. The
result of this is rancid off flavors. During hot
weather, store flour in the refrigerator.
should be stored, covered, in a cool and dry area. This
prevents the flour from absorbing moisture and odors and
from attracting insects and rodents.
Freezing flour for 48 hours before it is stored will
kill any weevil or insect eggs already in the flour.
It is better not to mix new flour with old if you are
not using the flour regularly.
store flour near soap powder, onions or other foods and
products with strong odors.
If freezer space is
available, flour can be repackaged in airtight,
moisture-proof containers, labeled and placed in the
freezer at 0 degrees F. If flour is stored like
this, it will keep well for several years.
Keep whole wheat
flour in the refrigerator the year around. Natural
oils cause this flour to turn rancid quickly at room
Throw away flour if
it smells bad, changes color, or is invested with
Flour is always
readily available so it should only be brought in
quantities that will last a maximum of two to three
Put a bay leaf in
the flour canister to help protect against insect
infections. Bay leaves are natural insect