"There are two types of people... One who ask for directions and the others who find their way. Both may reach the destination but the satisfaction of the other kind is far greater. "
- Dominik Sliver
Flour, one of the most important ingredients to having great bakes. Many of us overlook this fact that different types of flours can entirely change the quality of your bakes. When I started baking, I was unaware of different types of flour and their uses. I used to think does it really make a difference?
It took me a long time to actually find out the answer to this and understand the difference among different types of flours. So to make things simpler, in today’s Tuesday scoop I have put together an easy overview of the most commonly found varieties.
So, let’s begin.
All Purpose Flour (APF)
One of the most commonly used and known flour is All Purpose Flour. It is made from a blend of hard and soft wheat and hence the protein and starch content is very much balanced. Protein content has a direct connection with the formation of gluten. Any flour with high protein will lead to more gluten formation and vice versa. And gluten formation helps to determine the quality of baked goods; structure and texture. APF has around 10-12% protein.
Cake flour is made from soft wheat, which is finely milled to perfection to give a soft and silky feel. Cake flour is generally bleached with low protein content. The bleaching process helps in altering the structure of cake flour starches and fats, which in turn results in a more acidic pH. The acidity level helps the cakes and other baked goods which contain sugar to rise instead of collapsing. And the low protein gives a tender and fluffy texture. Cake flours have around 7-8% protein.
Bread flour is made from hard wheat which has high protein content. The natural protein content present in the flour helps the dough /bread to rise. The rise is due to the air bubbles trapped in the gluten while kneading the dough. Flour with high protein is always considered best for baking where yeast is one of the ingredients.
Pastry flour is super fine and made from soft wheat to ensure softer and lighter bakes. Pastry flour can be placed in between All purpose flour and cake flour in terms of protein content. Pastry flour is not easily available in the open market but not to worry about it, you can make it by yourself. Pastry flour can be made by mixing APF and Cake flour in 2:1 ratio.
Whole Wheat Flour
A wheat seed head has 3 parts; germ, bran and endosperm. White flour is made only from the endosperm whereas the whole wheat flour has all three portions, it has a higher content of dietary fibre and protein. The bran in the whole wheat flour inhibits gluten formation and absorbs more liquid making it stickier. To bring in ease of handling you can add a bit of APF to it.
White Whole Wheat Flour (WWW)
WWW is made from germ, bran and endosperm of a paler variety of wheat. This type of wheat is called White hard wheat which is slightly sweeter in taste and has low tannin content. It has the same nutritional value as whole wheat flour.
Oat flour as the name suggests is made from grounded flour and has a nice super fine fluffy texture. It is mostly termed as whole grain and has a nice sweet flavour. It is a gluten free flour so goodies made from oat flour are usually heavy and crumbly. Oat flour is easily available or can be made at home as well. Almost more than 1 cup of oats yields 1 cup of oat flour.
Self Raising Flour
This type of flour is a mixture of APF, salt and baking powder. Making this flour is super easy and you can make it in your kitchen too. Ratio is very simple, 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 1½ teaspoons of baking powder and ¼ teaspoon fine salt. This type of flour is extensively used in bread and biscuits and sometimes cake also.
So, hope this Tuesday scoop has given you a good insight about different types of flour and their uses. And for the next Tuesday scoop we have something special, so stay tuned!!