Cooking Bread With The Right Flour

Cooking bread using flour: different chemical qualities yield different results in the oven. Whether you want a light fluffy loaf or a heavy moist one, you'll get the right results if you use the right flour.

A flour by any other name may not bake as well. From all-purpose to whole wheat, different flours have different characteristics and yield different results. Some are made specifically to produce lighter, more high-rising results, while others are the right choice for rich moist loaves.

If you're learning about baking bread, it helps to know how different flours act in your baking and what value they add to your food. Here's an introduction:

All-purpose flour: This is the refined product your mother probably used to make everything from paste to gravy. All-purpose flour is the best choice for dinner rolls, coffeecakes and some specialty breads. It comes in bleached and unbleached varieties and is less glutinous than flour milled specifically for bread. If it has been bleached, there's a good chance chlorine was used to whiten it.

Bread flour: Gluten, the seemingly magical ingredient that lends height and texture to a loaf, is in good supply in this flour. You can't find better flour for a good loaf of white sandwich bread.

Buckwheat flour: This strongly flavored flour lends a grayish tan tint to bread. The tartness of the flour can overwhelm any number of other flavors so use it sparingly.

Millet flour: When ground into flour yellow millet seeds can give bread a real nutritional boost - especially in the diet of vegetarians, who need to look for ways to complete their protein intake. But, Too much of it will make your breads dry and crumbly.

Rye flour: The heady flavor of rye easily makes up for the troublesome sticky dough this low gluten flour produces. If you want a loaf with any height at all, you will need to mix it with bread flour.

Soy flour: Few people really enjoy the taste of soy flour but it's among the best for adding protein value to a loaf. Try adding just a few tablespoons to each recipe. That way you can sneak in a little extra nutrition without compromising the taste at all.

Whole Wheat flour: This is exactly what it says "¦ all the wheat including the bran, the germ and the berry. It's sweet and nutty flavor has contributed to the ever rising popularity of wheat bread. Since it's lower in gluten than bread and all-purpose flours, it's a good choice for quick breads and loaves made with fruits and nuts.

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