Most people describe flour as a fine powder made from wheat and used in cooking. However, depending on the wheat variety and blending processes, you can get a variety of options for flour. Thus, make different recipes from various types of flour. The different kinds of flour available in stores are as given below.
1. All purpose flour :
It is multipurpose flour, which is a blend of hard and soft wheat flour. It can be bleached or unbleached. Unbleached flour is bleached naturally and mostly used in making yeast breads, puff pastry, Danish pastry, Yorkshire pudding and cream puffs. Bleached flour is chemically treated and has less protein. It is used for cookies, pancakes, waffles and pies.
2. Cake flour :
It is fine textured, soft wheat flour having high starch content. It has lower protein and gluten content, thus making it suitable for baking purposes. It is chlorinated leaving the flour slightly acidic that helps the cake to set faster and distributes fats evenly. It is best to use for making cakes, breads, cookies and muffins.
3. Self-rising flour :
It is all-purpose flour contains baking powder, baking soda and salt. It is referred as phosphates flour with low protein content. It is used for baking biscuits, breads but not for yeast breads. There is no need to add salt or leavening agents if you use this flour.
4. Bread flour :
It contains more gluten and protein as compared to all purpose flour. It is ideal for making breads of all types. It is made from hard high protein wheat. It is unbleached and sometimes contains ascorbic acid, which increases volume, and helps create a good texture.
5. Instant flour :
It is granulated and formulated to dissolve quickly in hot or cold liquids. It is primarily used for thickening gravies and sauces.
6. Whole wheat flour :
It is called graham flour and is coarsely ground from the entire wheat kernel. Hence, it contains more nutrients. It is good for using in cookies. However, mostly it is not used in cooking baked delicacies.
Some specialty flours are as given below.
1. Almond flour :
This flour is used in small amounts while baking pastry crusts and breads. It gives a light almond flavor, adds moisture, and enhances binding.
2. Amaranth flour :
Amaranth means everlasting in Greek and is an ancient grain. You can substitute some portion of the regular flour with this flour.
3. Barley flour :
It is made by grinding whole barley. It is best alternative to wheat flour. This flour is mild and has a nutty flavor. it has very less calories and more fiber content. This can be used for making breads and pancakes.
4. Buckwheat flour :
It contains many nutrients and has a nutty flavor.
5. Chickpea flour :
This is commonly called as besan or gram flour and made from dried chickpeas.
6. Coconut flour :
It is made from dried coconut meat and high in fiber and has fewer carbohydrates. It has a light coconut flavor and can be used in small amount for various baked goodies.
7. Corn flour :
It is used as thickener, filler or binder in various preparations. Finely ground cornmeal that is milled from the whole kernel.
8. Millet flour :
It is used for baking desserts and sweet breads
9. Oat flour :
It is made from ground whole oats and tends to make baked goods moist.
10. Rice Flour :
This flour can be made from either white or brown rice. It is easy to digest and can be used to thicken sauces.
Apart from the above-mentioned flours, there are many other types like Pumpernickel flour, quinoa flour, rye flour, semolina flour, sorghum flour, soy flour, spelt flour, Tapioca flour and Teff flour,
Hence, each variety of flour has distinct characteristics and is suitable for a particular recipe. Successful baking thus requires knowledge of using the right type of flour for the right recipe.
Daniel Clark is a professional chef and loves to write when he gets free time. In the above post, he is sharing his knowledge about different types of flour and their uses.
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