Bakery Mix And Match: 6 Different Types Of Flour Commonly Used In Baking
Baking cake is easy when you have the right ingredients with you. And usually, cakes only use five primary ingredients: flour, butter or fat, leavening ingredients, salt or sugar, and milk. But the challenge is determining which flour mix to use.
There are tons of flour you can buy in the market. There are all-purpose flour, cake flour, potato flour, high protein flour, and many more! Will it be the same if you use all-purpose flour mix for your cake instead of the high protein flour as the recipe instructed? After all, all flours look the same.
This article will discuss the different types of flours and their uses.
What Is Flour And How Is It Made?
Flour is a powdery substance made after grinding and pulverising raw and dry grains, beans, nuts, seeds, and roots, in the process called milling.
Agriculture played a key role in the diet of our ancestors. They were evidence that our ancestor’s used tools, such as stones carved into sharp blades, to cut grass. They later discovered that indigestible grains and seeds could be edible when pulverised. During the Upper Paleolithic in Europe, people used mortar and pestle to make flour, but during the prevalence of cone mills, watermills, and windmills in Rome and Greece that flour became a huge part of people’s diet until today.
Today, people are still experimenting with other grains, seeds, and roots to produce healthier flour.
Most Common Types Of Flours And Their Uses
1. All-Purpose Flour
Perhaps the most accessible and available flour in the supermarket and commonly used in recipes, all-purpose flour is made of soft and hard wheat varieties.
All-purpose flour has carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, phosphorus, and sodium.
There are two types of all-purpose flour: bleached and unbleached. Bleached all-purpose flour use bleaching agents such as benzoyl peroxide for the flour’s shorter ageing process. Bleached all-purpose flour is whiter, finer, and softer.
On the other hand, unbleached all-purpose flour is aged naturally. Unbleached all-purpose flour is dense and off-white in colour.
All-purpose flours are a popular bakery mix, especially the unbleached ones. Its dense quality provides the cake or bread with a sturdier and more stable structure.
All-purpose flours are also used to coat fried meat and as a thickening ingredient for sauces and gravy.
2. Whole wheat flour
For health enthusiasts, perhaps you may have heard a lot about whole wheat flour.
To understand what whole wheat flour is, let you first understand the parts of the grain. The grain has three main components: the bran, endosperm, and germ.
A whole grain is complete with these three parts. The bran, or the outer cover of the grain, is rich in vitamins and minerals, the mineral and vitamin-rich germ where new sprouts emerge, and the endosperm or the grain itself.
A refined grain is a grain with its bran and germ removed. The white rice you eat is an example of refined grain.
All these three parts are milled instead of the endosperm alone to make whole wheat flour. Therefore, making wheat flour healthy.
Whole wheat flour is mostly used for healthier baking recipes.
3. Cake Flour
Cake flour is made of soft, bleached wheat milled finely. Cake flour has less protein content, unlike other flour, including all-purpose, whole wheat, and high protein flour. However, it has a high starch level.
Cake flour is rare in healthy baking recipes because of its subpar nutritional content. For healthier options, all-purpose, all-purpose, whole wheat, and high protein flour are better options.
You guessed it right, cake flour is perfect for cakes. Since cake flour is extra fine, its baking outcome is usually lightweight and less dense, just enough for fluffy cake.
You can also see cake flour in bakery mix options in the supermarket.
4. Self-rising flour
Self-rising or self-raising flour is a combination of all-purpose flour, salt, and leavening agents like baking soda or baking powder.
This flour is what you find in flour mix in pancake packages. Its nutrition content is the same as all-purpose flour.
Self-rising flour is perfect for quick pancake recipes, cookies, biscuits, and other packaged do-it-yourself pastry products.
5. Rice flour
Rice flour is the opposite of whole wheat flour. If the whole wheat flour is grains milled with its complete component, the bran, germ, and endosperm—rice flour is plain endosperm or refined grain alone.
Rice flour is pearly white and finely milled. It contains fewer nutrients since most nutrients are in the bran and germ and are more starchy. If rice flour does not belong to the healthier flour, why do people still use it?
Some people experience digestive irritation after consuming wheat— also known as gluten intolerance or wheat allergy. They use rice flour as an alternative ingredient.
Many people use rice flour as a thickening agent for sauce and gravy. They are also great coating ingredients for fried food, such as tempura and fried chicken.
Rice flour is also used in traditional food and dessert, such as mochi, a Japanese sticky rice cake. Rice flour is also an ingredient in the traditional Filipino baked rice cake called bibingka.
6. Almond flour
Unlike the first four flours that all came from grains, almond flour comes from drupes or fruits with a single seed, such as cashew.
Millers boil the almond and remove its skin before milling and sifting it to become flour. Don’t confuse almond meal and almond flour as the two are different. Almond flour is made from peeled almonds, while the meal is unpeeled.
Almond flour is rich in vitamin E, manganese, and dietary fibre, while less in carbohydrates and fats. They belong to the healthier flour group.
Many healthy baking recipes use almond flour for their low-sugar and diabetic cakes because of its little carbohydrate content. They can be used for cakes, pancakes, and other pastries.
Almond flour is also perfect for glueing meatballs and meatloaf together. It is also a substitute for breadcrumbs.
Flours are not the same. They may be identical, but their ingredients, nutritional content, texture and consistency when used in cooking are different.
Are you looking for a flour mix for your cooking? Prima Flour provides a vast selection of flours for cooking and baking. Start your baking and cooking journey with Prima Flour.