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Flour 101

S Caron By

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Wondering which flour you should use for your next baking adventure? Here’s a quick primer on flours so you can choose the ideal one for the recipe.

All-Purpose Flour – This fine-textured flour is made from a blend of high- and low-gluten wheat. Because it doesn’t contain the germ or the bran from the wheat, it is enriched with niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin per U.S. law. All-purpose flour comes in bleached and unbleached versions.

Whole Wheat Flour – Has more fiber than all-purpose flour, because it is made with both the inner portion of the wheat kernel and the other wheat germ. As a result though, whole wheat flour can go rancid quickly, so it should be stored in the fridge or freezer.

Pastry Flour – Fine-textured, ideal for baked goods. Similarly, cake flour has a fine texture, perfect for cakes.

Self-Rising Flour – All-purpose flour with leavening agents (specifically, baking powder and salt) already added.

Bread Flour – Specially formulated flour that is unbleached and contains mostly hard-wheat flour. It’s cut with a bit of barley flour as well. It’s high in gluten.

Alternatives to wheat flour – For those with gluten intolerance, wheat flour must be avoided. There are a variety of gluten-free flours available, including all-purpose blends, sweet rice flour and more.

Sarah W. Caron (aka scaron) is a food writer, editor and blogger who writes about family-friendly foods and raising a healthy family at Sarah’s Cucina Bella.
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