Our predecessors used one type of flour, and one type of flour alone. It was often coarse, “beefed” up with odds and ends, and still turned out beautiful bread and baking. Wind the clock forward some years, and we now find ourselves blessed with several different flour options to change up how our meals look and taste especially those cakes. Don’t forgot to read our last article on tips for making great cakes.
There are even options for those with dietary requirements and allergens. It’s hard to believe something so simple – and such a staple to the baked good – could encourage an overwhelming shopping experience.
To help you on your way to a stress-free purchasing decision, we’ve outlined the top six baking flour options, and what they can add to your baked goods.
All-purpose is the most common flour on the market. It’s suitable for almost everything and is the one type of flour that most households are sure to have in their pantry. Most people use it for muffins, scones, biscuits and other similar baked goods, and by simply adding baking powder, you can turn it into self-raising flour!
All-purpose flour, while not as protein-packed as other options, is the most affordable option on the market, and still provides the bulk of your pantry baked goods.
Self-raising flour is not a common pantry staple everywhere, in fact, it barely exists in North America. It’s suitable for sweet and savory muffins, scones, and other sweet treats, but it’s normally not used in doughy bread or any baked good that requires precise measurements. This is because of the unknown ratio of the self-raising agent to flour. However, you can achieve the same results with all-purpose flour by simply adding baking powder.
If you’re on a health kick, or you just appreciate the nutty, earthy flavor of bran in your baked goods, whole-wheat flour is a good option for you. However, if you’re seeking “light and fluffy” in your baking, you won’t get it with whole-wheat. This type of flour is more suitable for big hearty loaves and dense slabs.
If you want to buck the trend and introduce new flavors into your baking, it might be a good idea to try non-wheat flour. While it still contains gluten, non-wheat flour is made from beans, grains, and seeds. As such, it’s not uncommon to come across rice, quinoa and chickpea flour in your local grocery store, as well as rye flour made from the berries of rye.
When you’ve decided to make a loaf of bread to let the aroma waft through your home, you should make sure you’ve got bread flour handy. While self-raising flour can take its place to a degree, bread flour contains a substantial amount of protein which is needed to give your bread that sought-after chew.
In fact, if you were to make bread without such a high protein flour, you would run the risk of producing dense, flat bread that was only suitable for feeding to the ducks!
As any pastry chef will tell you, cakes and sweet treats are delicate. As such, it’s vital that you opt for a more starchy flour, and one that doesn’t feature much protein. The more protein that’s found in your flour, the more dense and chewy your cakes will be. If you’re using pastry flour, however, ensure you sift it properly. It’s not the easiest flour to work with and can become clumpy. Speaking of pastries check out this piece on the top desserts from around the world.