What Type of Flour Should I Use?

What Type of Flour Should I Use?

Ever wonder why there are so many different kinds of flour on the store shelves?  I used to get confused about what kind of flour I needed and didn't fully understand that one type of flour can't do it all.  Here's a picture of the different flours I have right now in my pantry.

Types of Flour

From left:  bread flour, whole wheat flour, White Lily (all purpose) flour, cake flour, and Pillsbury (all purpose flour).

Why on earth does one person need all these kinds of flour?  Well, I do a lot of baking.  For baking cakes, I like to use a mixture of Cake Flour and the White Lily Flour.  For bread, I use mixture of Bread Flour and Whole Wheat Flour.  The other all purpose flour is what I use to "flour the counter" to roll out biscuits and stuff like that.

honey wheat bread
  Fair warning - I am a fan of Alton Brown, so this will start to get a little scientific.  These flours react differently because of the varying protein content in them.  The higher the protein content, the more the gluten will develop.  If you want a bread that rises nice with a soft texture, use bread flour.  You can use all-purpose, but it will not give you the same results.  I like wheat bread so I mix in some whole wheat flour with the white bread flour.  I have used whole wheat by itself, which will give you a slightly coarser texture.

For cakes, I want a much finer texture (this is called the "crumb").  That's why I use a mixture of cake flour and White Lily flour.  OK...stay with me here.  White Lily is milled from a soft winter wheat (I believe from the south).  It has a protein content of somewhere between a cake flour and regular all-purpose.  It's supposed to be great for biscuits.  I'll have to try that out sometime.  If any of you use it for biscuits, let me know.  I cheat a little and use Bisquick for biscuits.

Then, there is self-rising, which is just regular all-purpose with leavening added in.  That is the one flour I don't have in my kitchen right now.

Hope this little explanation has helped demistify the types of flour you may find on your grocery shelves.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to comment!