Choosing The Right Type Of Flour For Your Baked Goods

If you’re shopping in the baking aisle and become overwhelmed with the amount of choices you have with baking & pastry arts staples, don’t be. Although flour can make or break some breads, pies and pastries, the breakdown of the different varieties on the market is actually pretty simple.

Hobby Farms gave a great explanation of the most popular types of flour and their uses for all kinds of baked goods. With this knowledge, you can begin using everything you’ve learned in your online pastry classes more efficiently:

All-purpose flour
Also called “plain flour,” this is usually the most common type that is found in home kitchens today. All-purpose flour is good for most breads, pastries, cakes and cookies, and can be stored dry at room temperature for up to eight months. Keep in mind that some all-purpose flours contain potassium bromate, which is a carcinogen. Try to opt for a brand without it if you’re trying to live an organic lifestyle.

Pastry flour
This variety is unbleached and contains a bit more gluten than other flours, make it perfect for pastries and pies.

Bread flour
Bread flour is milled from hard wheat and is stored similarly to all-purpose flour. Because of its high protein content, this type is suited for freshly baked bread.

Cake flour
For cake recipes that call for high sugar-to-flour ratios, cake flour is your best bet. Bleached flours will soak up moisture and add to a thicker batter, but cake flour will give your baked confections that springy, delicious softness you love.

Specialty flours
You might see several gluten-free flour options at the market like buckwheat, rice, rye, barley, almond and oat flours. These do not contain the stable gluten levels that are required for recipes unless they are combined with wheat flour.

Whole-wheat flour
This type is also called graham flour, and is milled from hard wheat just like standard bread flour. Whole-wheat flour is different from other flours due to its higher dietary fiber content. Because of this, it contains a germ that can cause it to go rancid. Make sure to store it in your refrigerator or freezer for a longer shelf life.

Semolina flour
Durum wheat is the main ingredient in this unique flour, making it very coarse. It is also the hardest type of wheat grown, so preparing it is perfect for making fresh pasta. Semolina also contains a strong gluten structure that keeps it from crumbling during the cooking process.

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