The art of baking is the process of transforming flour into (good) food, from bread to biscuits, cookies to cakes. The structure of baked goods is added by flour, which is finely ground wheat or other grains, although different baked goods require different structural supports. Select the appropriate flour for the job at hand, and you’ll go a long way toward successful baking. By selecting the incorrect flour, you invite difficulty.
The main distinction between flours is their protein level. Hard wheat is a term for high-protein wheat types (10 to 14 percent protein). “Soft wheat” refers to low-protein wheats (5 to 10%). In other words, more protein equals more gluten, which equals more power. More volume and a chewier texture result from increased strength. In bread and many other yeasted products where a firm structure is essential, doughs made from high-protein flours are both more elastic (stretch further) and more extensible (hold their shape better). These desirable qualities are not desired in pastries and cakes where the goal is flakiness or tenderness.
All flour, unless specifically identified as “whole-wheat,” is white flour, which is made by milling the endosperm, the starchiest component of the wheat kernel.
All-Purpose Flour: All-purpose flour is what is meant when the word “flour” is used in a recipe. All-purpose flour is a staple among staples. It is made from a combination of soft and hard wheat and has a reasonable protein content of between 10 and 12 percent. The most adaptable of all the flours, it can be used to make chewy breads, fluffy biscuits, and flaky pie crusts, though not necessarily for all applications. Both bleached and unbleached A-P flour can be used interchangeably, although it is always preferable to match your flour to your recipe.
The flour with the least protein is cake flour (5 to 8 percent). Cake flour is perfect for soft baked products like cakes (of course), but also biscuits, muffins, and scones due to its relative absence of gluten-forming proteins. Cake flour is typically chlorinated, which weakens the gluten proteins even more while also changing the starch of the wheat to boost its ability to absorb more liquid and sugar, ensuring a moist cake.
Unbleached soft wheat flour known as pastry flour has protein levels that fall between those of cake flour and all-purpose flour (8 to 9 percent). Pies, tarts, and a variety of cookies all benefit from the flakiness and suppleness that pastry flour provides. Combine 1 1/3 cups A-P flour and 2/3 cup cake flour to create your own pastry flour.
Bread Flour: The strongest of all flours, with a protein concentration of 12 to 14 percent, bread flour offers the most structural strength. This is crucial for yeasted breads because they need a robust gluten network to hold in the CO2 gas produced during fermentation. The additional protein not only improves volume and makes the crumb chewier, but it also causes the crust to brown more. White, whole wheat, and bleached or unbleached bread flour are all available. Bread flour can typically be replaced with success for unbleached all-purpose flour.
Salt and baking powder have been milled into flour to create self-rising flour. Self-rising flour, a longtime Southern staple, is often prepared from the low-protein wheat that has historically been farmed there. It works well for delicate cakes, muffins, pancakes, and biscuits. The baking powder in self-rising flour should be used within six months after purchase and is best stored tightly packed in its original box. After that time, the baking powder starts to lose its effectiveness.
Mix 1 cup pastry flour with 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt to create your own self-rising flour.
Whole-Wheat Flour: The endosperm, germ (the embryo), and bran are removed from the wheat kernel during milling (the outer coating). Different amounts of the germ and bran are re-added to whole-wheat flours. Whole-wheat flour typically has a high protein content, but the bran and germ reduce its capacity to create gluten. Whole-wheat flour has a tendency to result in heavier, denser baked items, which is just one of them.
In most recipes, up to half of the all-purpose flour can be replaced with whole-wheat flour. Whole-wheat flour is far more perishable than white because wheat germ contains a lot of lipids that are prone to rancidity. It can be kept at a cool room temperature for up to three months before being put in the freezer.
Gluten-Free Flours: Today, a large range of gluten-free flours made from various grains, nuts, and starches are readily available. Some of the most widely accessible ones are made with a base of rice flour, tapioca, and potato starch. Sometimes a little amount of xanthan gum is added to assist mimic the chewiness often connected with gluten. For instructions on how to replace wheat flour in your favorite baking recipes with gluten-free flour, refer to the relevant recipe or container.
What kind of flour is ideal for baking?
I was reminded of the variety of flours available by taking a walk down the bakery aisle in the grocery store. It is helpful to know that flour is composed of proteins, carbohydrates (or starch), and, in the case of whole-wheat flour, a small amount of fat in order to choose which type is appropriate for the sort of baking you undertake. The baker is more concerned with protein out of these three nutrients. The number and nature of the gluten-forming proteins found in wheat impact how well a flour will function in the kitchen.
A flour with a high protein content is tougher (stronger), making it ideal for chewy, crusty breads and other yeast-risen goods. Less protein results in a softer flour, which is ideal for delicate baked items like biscuits, cakes, cookies, and pie crusts that are chemically leavened.
Since wheat can contain somewhere between 5% and 15% protein, the flour industry has devised labeling guidelines that make it easier for us to choose the best flour for our needs.
How much protein is in your flour?
The best option for you is probably all-purpose flour, unless you bake bread or cakes frequently. It is created with a typical protein concentration so that it can be used in breads and cakes alike. Cakes produced using all-purpose flour tend to be a little more robust and less delicate than those made with a softer pastry or cake flour. Similar to how all-purpose flour tends to make bread softer and flatter than bread flour, so does bread baked with it. But for the average baker, these variations should be negligible.
Some manufacturers advise using 1 tablespoon more per cup when making breads and 1 tablespoon less per cup when baking cookies and biscuits if a recipe calls for a certain type of flour and all you have is all-purpose. The overall amount of protein added to the batter or dough will change as a result.
The amount of protein varies between brands even within the same categories of flour. It’s also crucial to understand that whole-wheat flour must be combined with all-purpose flour to create a light loaf of bread while having a high protein level (the bran in whole-wheat flour tends to cut gluten strands, reducing elasticity).
There are a few different specialty flours in addition to the variations in protein content. The bleaching method used to boost the flour’s capacity to hold water and sugar is unique to cake flour, the lowest protein flour, and it differs from the bleaching procedure used for other white flours. The flour will therefore be better equipped to maintain its rise and be less likely to collapse when you make baked items with a high sugar to flour ratio.
All-purpose flour that has had salt and baking powder added to it is known as self-rising flour. Manufacturers advise using it in place of the recipe’s specified amounts of baking powder and salt when making cookies, quick breads, and biscuits.
What type of flour is most frequently used in baking?
A constant in the kitchen is flour. It’s one of the most versatile tools in anyone’s toolbox, being used for baking, cooking, and even producing pasta and noodles.
Knowing which types of flour to use and how to utilize them is crucial given the variety available. Here is a simple guide to assist you in determining the appropriate type of flour for the activity.
The word “it” says it all. All-purpose flour, the most adaptable kind of flour, is a staple among basics since it can be used in many different baked items. This kind contains iron and B vitamins and is prepared from a blend of hard wheat that is rich in gluten and soft wheat that is low in gluten.
Because of its high gluten concentration, which gives baked items excellent structural support, bread flour is the strongest of all flours. Along with better volume, this also produces a chewier crumb and a browner crust. Bread flour, a combination of barley and hard wheat flour, is vitamin C-rich as well.
Cake flour is perfect for soft and delicate baked items like scones, muffins, and—of course—cakes due to its low gluten level. It has a smooth and silky feel because it is derived from soft wheat.
You want to bake healthier things. the use of whole wheat flour. This kind contains a high amount of protein, fiber, B vitamins, and minerals because it is prepared from the entire wheat kernel. This flour typically results in denser and more flavorful baked goods.
The best use for cooking flour are as a coating for fried meat and seafood as well as a thickening for sauces and soups.
This unique wheat flour works well when used to make various kinds of noodles due to its high protein and strong gluten content. Additionally, due to its high water absorption, it is ideal for use in many noodle applications.
Asian cuisine frequently uses this fine flour, which is formed from ground white rice. It is used in breads, cakes, noodles, and other products and is naturally free of gluten. Asian desserts like mochi and many Pinoy kakanin use the sticky variety manufactured from high-starch short-grained rice.
You can succeed in the kitchen if you know which flour to use in which mixture. Whatever type of flour the recipe calls for, it’s crucial to use one from a reputable manufacturer. In order to meet all of your demands, URC Flour provides a huge selection of high-quality wheat flour products.
What type of flour are used by chefs who bake?
Thank you for visiting Baking and Pastry Arts School Tips! We cover a variety of baking-related topics in these articles to help you eliminate some of the guesswork in the kitchen.
Baking, which involves transforming flour into tasty food, is both an art and a science and includes everything from bread to cookies to cakes. Depending on the type of baked dish, you might require a different sort of flour to make your mouthwatering creations. Flour helps give baked goods structure. Select the appropriate flour for your activity, and you’ll be well on your way to successful baking; select the incorrect flour, and you might be setting yourself up for failure. Knowing the various (and varied) varieties of flour and how to use them is the challenging part. We’ve put together this list of some of the most popular flours and their baking uses to assist you in telling the difference. Look them up!
- All-Purpose Flour – As the name suggests, this flour works well for almost anything! It is a blend of hard and soft wheat with a protein content of 10-12%. In a yeasted bread, this indicates that the flour is strong enough to maintain its structure, while in a layer cake, it means that the flour is light enough to make crumbs. All-purpose flour ought to be your go-to ingredient whether you’re baking delicate cupcakes or yeasted cinnamon rolls. All-purpose flour is what is meant when “flour” is called for in a recipe. It is the most adaptable of all the flours, albeit not always good for all uses.
- Bread Flour – Specially created for yeasted baking, bread flour (things like breads and pizza dough). Just under 13% of it is protein, which helps baked breads rise and produce more gluten. It is a highly robust flour that results in chewy crust. Advice: Unbleached all-purpose flour typically works well as a substitute for bread flour.
- Cake flour: When used in recipes, cake flour produces the lightest cakes with the flakiest texture. It has 6-8% protein and is manufactured from soft wheat that has been coarsely ground. Because there is no gluten present, cakes rise and turn out extremely fluffy. Cakes (of course), biscuits, muffins, and scones are just a few examples of the tender baked foods with high sugar content that cake flour is best suited for.
- Pastry Flour – Pastry flour has a low gluten level and is also made from soft wheat. Pie dough, biscuits, brownies, tarts, and numerous cookies can all benefit from pastry flour, which has protein levels between cake flour and all-purpose flour (8–9%) and achieves the right balance between flakiness and tenderness.
- Whole Wheat Flour: This flour is serious business. The entire hard red wheat kernel is ground to create it. It produces a more savory, dense baked item that is deeper in color, rich in wheat taste, and nutty. In recipes, whole-wheat flour is sometimes combined with all-purpose flour to minimize the strong wheat flavor and increase rise. It contains a higher fiber, nutritive, and fat content as well as a higher protein content (about 14%). Try using it in recipes for rustic, hearty breads. Advice: To prevent spoiling, store this flour in the refrigerator.
- A biscuit maker’s dream, self-rising flour has long been a Southern staple. Salt and baking powder have been added to this softer, 8.5% lower-protein flour. The most tender biscuits, muffins, pancakes, and various cakes can be made with it. Self-rising flour should be used within six months of purchase and should be stored tightly wrapped in its original box. After that time, the baking powder in the flour starts to lose its effectiveness.
- Oat Flour – Instead of wheat, oats are processed to make oat flour. This flour can be used in a wide range of recipes, but it does come with a warning: because it doesn’t contain gluten, it behaves differently from the other flours on this list. Oat flour must be combined with other flours in order for baked items to rise and hold together when used alone. The most popular uses for it are to make pancakes, cookies, and biscuits. Those who are allergic to gluten can alternatively use oat flour as a suitable replacement (just make sure the oat flour you are using was made from gluten-free oats and it was made in an environment free from gluten).
We made an effort to compile the most popular types of flour, albeit this is not a complete list of all the varieties available. We believe it will give you a better knowledge of the different flours and how they are used. Use your newly acquired knowledge to bake to your heart’s content right away. Have fun baking!