If you are enthusiastic about baking, you need different types of flour in your kitchen. Each type of flour has its taste, texture, nutrient profile, and varied uses. In this article, we are going to discuss the types of flour you will find at your favorite store and all you need to know about them. This will help you to get the perfect flour for all your recipes.
Let’s get into this already. Shall we?
Types of Flour You Should Know
Also knows as AP, the all-purpose flour is the most basic type of flour you will come across at the supermarket or your local store. It is prepared from processed wheat. The process involves milling of both soft and hard wheat with an average protein content of 10% to 12%.
Though it doesn’t serve all baking purposes, it is the most versatile of all flour types. Because of the low protein content, the all-purpose baking flour produces less gluten. Moreover, AP flour can be bleached or unbleached, so you will need to check out the labels to get the perfect one for your recipe.
In terms of nutrients, a ¼ cup of all-purpose flour contains 23g carbs, 2g protein, 110 calories, 5mg sodium, and 1g fat.
All-Purpose Flour Recipes
All-purpose flour can be used for various baking purposes. These include preparation of chewy bread, fluffy biscuits, pizza dough, pancakes, and cookies.
Pastry flour is prepared with 8% to 9% protein content, which means less gluten content. This flour’s characteristics lies in between cake and pastry flours. It is in between being tender and flaky, thus an ideal choice for cookies and pie crusts. Mostly, you can prepare your pastry flour by mixing AP flour with pastry flour.
A ¼ cup of pastry flour contains 26g carbs, 1mg sodium, 3g protein, 1g fiber, 120 calories, 0.5g fat.
Pastry Flour Recipes
The pastry flour works best in preparation for muffins, cookies, pancakes, biscuits, and pie crusts.
Self- rising Flour
Essentially, self-rising flour is all-purpose flour with added chemical leavener. The process involves mixing all-purpose flour with baking powder and salt. If you wish to make self-rising flour at home, then add baking powder to your AP flour accordingly. The recommended portions include 1 ½ teaspoon of baking powder, 1 cup of all-purpose flour, and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Initially, the self-rising flour is usually processed from low-protein wheat. Its protein content is between 8% to 9%. Note that self-rising flour is best when used within six months of purchase. If used longer than that, the added baking powder loses its power.
A ¼ cup of self-rising flour contains 110 calories, 320g sodium, 22g carbs, 3g protein, 1g fiber and, 0g sugar.
Self-rising Flour Recipes
It’s best to prepare tender biscuits, pancakes, muffins, scones, and some specific types of cake.
Whole Wheat Flour
In milling flour, the wheat is usually separated into three components: the germ, the endosperm, and the bran. Whole wheat flour is processed with average amounts of bran and germ. This makes the flour to be rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The protein content in whole wheat flour ranges between 13% and 14%. However, the gluten content is minimal in whole wheat flour because the bran and germ inhibit its formation. These two components cause whole wheat flour foods to be a little denser than those from the usual white flour.
Notably, this type of flour has a shorter life span compared to white flour. This is due to the wheat germ that has a high percentage of oils prone to rancidity. The flour will last on your kitchen counter for three months, unlike the normal white flour that lasts up to eight months.
With a ¼ cup of whole wheat flour, you will have 24g carbs, 120 calories, 4g fiber, 4.6g protein, 0.5g fat, and 1mg sodium.
Whole Wheat Flour Recipes
It is best in preparation for cookies, pasta, pizza dough, pancakes, and bread.
As the name suggests, almond flour is from almonds. The preparation process involves putting almonds in boiling water to get rid of the skin. Once the skin is off, they are ground into fine flour, which is now called almond flour. The flour is low in carbs but high in fiber and healthy fats. The flour is a great keto option since it’s low in carbon.
Furthermore, almond flour doesn’t contain gluten regardless of its being rich in protein content. This means you have to add other elements like bananas and starches for structure enhancement. If not, you are likely to have your baked foods having an unpleasant flat taste if you only use almond flour without other additions.
For ¼ cup you will have 6g carbs, 1g sugar, 160 calories, 3g fiber, 14g fat, 6g protein, and 0mg sodium.
Almond Flour Recipes
Almond flour is best when used for baking cookies, pancakes, muffins, biscuits, and bread.
Cake flour is prepared from excellently milled white flour with considerable starch levels but low protein. It’s the flour with the least protein content of 5% to 8%. Cake flour usually is chlorinated, which in turn deteriorates the gluten proteins. The chlorination also enhances sugar and liquid absorption that makes your foods moist. You can easily prepare your cake flour at home by adding two tablespoons of cornstarch to your all-purpose flour.
A ¼ cup of cake flour comprises 24g carbs, 110 calories, 2g protein, 1g fiber, and 0mg sodium.
Cake Flour Recipes
With its soft fluffy texture, this flour is best in preparing muffins, angel cakes, biscuits, pound cakes, biscuits, and sponge cakes. Note that cake flour is not recommended for bread because of its pretty soft texture.
First of all, oat flour comes from ground oats. The flour is gluten-free hence making it an excellent option for people on a gluten-free diet. However, if you are not on this kind of food, you can use bread flour to enhance the gluten content. Oat flour is also popularly known for its sweet flavor.
When you opt for oat flour, don’t forget to have in mind that it won’t give structure to your foods. You will need to pair it with arrowroot, potato, or kuzu to enhance the structure. Moreover, foods baked using oat flour tend to be heavy. You can also add more liquid to your oat flour to make the foods lighter and moist. If you have ground oat in your kitchen, then you can get your oat flour right at home without having to visit the store. With 1 ¼ cups of oats, you can grind one full cup of oat flour. You can do the grinding using a blender or a food processor.
In terms of nutrients, this flour contains 26g carbons, 4g fiber, 7g protein, and 160 calories.
Oat Flour Recipes
Oat flour can be used in the preparation of muffles, pancakes, quick bread, and waffles.
Bread flour is one of the types of flour you will find at your favorite store. It is entirely made from hard wheat. Also, it has a high protein content of 12% to 14%. This flour is the strongest and provides quite a robust structure to your foods. Therefore, bread flour is ideal for yeast bread that requires a high gluten network to break the fermentation.
The high gluten amount in this flour does not only help in flour rising, but it also helps in browning your bread crust. If you don’t have this flour at hand and need to use some on your recipe, you can easily prepare it in your kitchen. The process will include adding two tablespoons of wheat gluten to a portion of AP flour.
A quarter cup of bread flour contains 110 calories, 23g carbons, 1g fiber, 4g protein and, 0.5g fat.
Bread Flour Recipes
As the name suggests, bread flour is mainly used in baking yeast bread and artisan bread.
In the recent past, there has been a great demand for gluten-free flour due to the rising number of individuals on a restricted diet. Gluten-free flour can be made from a variety of base ingredients, including rice, potato, sorghum, nuts, and corn. Gluten is essential in enhancing the food’s structure. To strengthen the chewiness of gluten-free foods, you can always add xanthan gum to your gluten-free recipes. Gluten-free flours are majorly rich in vitamins and minerals. Note that the percentage of protein in this type of flour varies between different brands.
With a 1/4 cup of gluten-free flour, you will have 25g carbs, 120 calories, 15mg sodium, 1g sugar, and 2g protein.
Gluten-Free Flour Recipes
It is best when used in baking cakes, bread, muffins, and pancakes.
The coconut flour has one of the boldest flavors among all the flour types. It is processed by grinding dry coconut meat into a fine soft powder. It’s usually a by-product of coconut milk processing. The flour is rich in protein and fiber but has a low percentage of carbohydrates.
Though rich in protein, it lacks gluten that plays the role of holding together your baked foods. For that reason, it’s mostly used alongside other types of flour to enhance the structure.
A 2 tablespoon serving of coconut flour contains 5 g fiber, 1.5g fat, and 3g fiber. With this nutrient combination, it’s without a doubt that coconut flour is a highly nutritious gluten-free product. It is also worth noting that coconut flour is quite absorbent, and you may end up with very dry baked foods while using it. The use of eggs is recommended to counteract the drying effect on your food. Another remedy to the drying effect would be using additional liquids while mixing.
Coconut Flour Recipes
Coconut flour is best for making cookies, muffins, bread, and cakes.
White Whole Wheat Flour
White whole wheat flour can easily be confused with the whole wheat flour because of the name. However, there is a difference. Though still whole wheat flour, this kind of flour is white. Note that the flour is not bleached, but it’s produced from a brighter variety of hard white winter wheat. This makes it significantly brighter compared to the whole wheat flour. Additionally, most consumers find it sweeter compared to the whole wheat flour. Furthermore, white whole wheat flour is quite rich in protein levels at 12% to 14%.
This type of flour is as nutty as whole wheat flour because it comes with all the germ and bran from wheat.
A single cup of white whole wheat flour contains 400 calories, 84 grams of carbohydrate, 12 grams of fiber, 16 grams of protein and 2 gram of fat
White Whole Wheat Recipes
Some of the great recipes you could try with this flour include crumble pie, English muffins, scones, and sandwich loaf.
The 00 flour is also known as the Italian flour, and it’s usually prepared from the hardest wheat. It contains an average protein content of 11% to 12%. The average protein percentage makes bread prepared with this flour to have a crusty effect. On the other hand, this characteristic enhances the texture of the cake.
It is known as 00 because of its super smooth texture that makes it pretty easy to roll out without breaking. This makes it ideal for foods that need extra rolling like pasta or crackers. You will realize that the 00 flour is specifically meant for pasta has a very golden color. Be sure to check out the packet before purchasing to see the recommended recipes.
A cup of 00 flour contains 55 calories, 11.5g carbs, and 1.5g proteins.
00 Flour Recipes
This flour is best when used in preparing pasta, crackers, pizza, cake, and bread. In cake preparation, you can substitute the 00 flour with plain flour. In other recipes like pasta, pizza, or bread, you can replace it with strong white bread flour.
How to Measure these types of Flour
Did you know that not measuring your flour correctly could affect your recipe’s result in a big way? Well, now you know. Now that you know most types of flour that you often come across while shopping, let’s come back to your kitchen.
If you normally use a cup to measure your flour, you have been adding at about 20 percent of extra flour to your recipes. This is because flour tends to compact in the storage container, which results in scooping more flour than intended. The best way to ensure that you have perfect measurements for your recipes is by using a kitchen scale. Make sure that your scale is at zero before placing your bowl of flour on it. A digital scale is the most accurate scale for measuring baking ingredients.
If you don’t have a kitchen scale, there is a solution for you to ensure that you never go wrong on measurements for your recipes. You can use the spoon-in and level-off method. First, loosen the flour to get rid of lumps within the flour. Second, spoon the flour into your measuring cup. For enhanced accuracy, you can level off the flour using a straight edge object.
How to Measure Liquid
When measuring liquids, always ensure that you place your measuring utensils on a flat surface. Having them on a tilted position leads to inaccurate measurements. Also, on liquids, always read the measurements from the side and not from on top.
Types of Leaveners
There are several leavener options that you can choose to purchase alongside your favorite baking flour. Let’s take a close look at a number of them.
The majority of baking powders you know are double-acting. It means they react quickly when exposed to both heat and liquid. Typically, their composition is baking soda and moisture absorber like the corn starch.
Remember to check the expiry date of the baking soda before purchase. Once purchased, the baking soda is safe for consumption for up to six months.
Baking soda is also known as sodium bicarbonate. Its primary use in baking is to make the dough rise. Baking soda makes baked foods leavened when it’s combined with an acid. Other than rising dough, baking soda enhances browning of baked foods. If you want to know whether your baking soda is still active, mix it with vinegar and see if it bubbles up. If not, its time you discard it and buy a new supply.
Fresh yeast is usually very perishable and expires two weeks after purchase. To prolong the life of fresh yeast, you could store it in a freezer. Only ensure to defrost it at room temperature before use.
Active Dry Yeast
Active dry yeast is a yeast desiccated into tiny granules. Usually, it is reactivated by mixing with warm water. You can also add some little amount of sugar to provide the yeast with substance to feed on. This type of yeast has quite a long lifespan, and it lasts for years when stored in the fridge.
Another name for instant yeast is a fast rise. It reacts half the time that the active dry yeast takes to react. It is prepared the same way as active dry yeast; it doesn’t need reactivation thanks to its porous granules.
More than once, you have picked a bag of flour and used it for its unintended purpose. The good news is that that there won’t be any more of that as now you know the different types of flour and their uses as well.