What Is Flour And Which One Do I Use?

Your questions about what flour is and which one of the many to choose for which recipe are answered here.

The numerous types of flours out there raise questions about the best types, and what the differences are. Basically, the differences come in the percentages of protein--the more protein, the chewier the result. Chewy is good in bagels, bad in cakes. This short guide should be of some use.

Bleached All-purpose flour (11% protein). Bleaching whitens the flour, and some think that it helps liquid absorption to be more regular. It is made from combination of hard and soft wheats, and uses the center of the wheat kernal.

Unbleached all-purpose flour (11.7% protein) is somewhat darker in color that the bleached type. Usually made from a combination of hard and soft wheats. (Some speciality brands are made from only hard wheats, which provide more protein)

High Gluten Flour (14.2 % protein) is the choice for chewy breads--bagels, pizza crusts, etc.

Cake Flour has (8.5% protein). It is made from soft wheat and is ideal for delicate, tender cakes.

Pastry Flour (9.2 % protein). It is in between cake and all-purpose flours in regards to softness, making it ideal for pies. You can make your own pastry flour by combining all-purpose and cake in a two to one ratio. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour is available through mail order or at speciality stores, and can be substituted for regular pastry flour.

Bread Flour (12.7 % protein) gives a little more chew and flavor than all-purpose flours, although they can be used for bread-making as well.

White Whole Wheat Flour (9.5% protein) is made from hard white winter wheat, providing a lighter color and less bitterness, but with the increased fiber of 'regular' whole wheat.

Self-rising flour has leavenings (baking powder and soda) already mixed in. Most cookbooks will recommend that you not use this kind--leavening percentages change per recipe, and will affect the final result.

© High Speed Ventures 2011