7 Common Types of Flour Bakers use

flour with eggs and spatula/common types of flour

There are different types of flour out there that a baker always uses in baking and it’s so overwhelming to know them all. But don’t worry because we’ve listed the 7 common types of flour bakers use.

flour in a bowl/common types of flour

All-purpose flour

This is the most common types of flour.  All-Purpose Flour is the of flour a general white flour. From the name itself, it can be suitable for any recipe as a replacement. All-purpose flour is a combination of hard and soft wheat. Because of bran and germ removal, it is rich in vitamins and minerals. It is also bleached to white to give it a clean appearance. The protein content is on a medium scale(around 8-11%), so it can work in any recipe.

All-purpose flour is the same as the plain flour the bakers in United Kingdon are using. The only difference is that in the United States, this is referred to as all-purpose flour, whereas in the United Kingdom, it is called plain flour. Different varieties of wheat are used in the milling of all-purpose flour and plain flour, respectively. On the other hand, plain flour is not ideal for making bread as compared to all-purpose flour.

The most significant benefit of all-purpose flour is its wide range of applications in various recipes. It is also a fantastic choice for individuals who bake regularly and home bakers who prefer to use only one type of flour in their recipes.

According to the flour nutrition labels, a single cup of flour contains approximately 455 calories. Although it appears to be a lot, you are not likely to ingest that many calories. The reason for this is that when you mix flour with liquids and other components to make your dinner or bread, you consume fewer calories.

hand holding a dough/common types of flour

Bread Flour

This flour is the flour that most bakeries use for bread. The protein content of this type of flour is higher than all-purpose flour(around 12-14%). Because of the high protein content, the flour is more elastic. This is the reason why it is best to use for dough.

Bread flour has a higher water absorption rate and requires less mixing time to make dough.
When using bread flour, look for recipes that call for gluten development and flavor from the yeast. Bread flour’s increased protein concentration (11.5-13.5 percent) accounts for its distinctive texture, look, and hard crust. Bread flour is also the type of flour used in making yeast bread. The level of protein in this flour is 12-14% which is higher than the all-purpose flour, which is 11%

In terms of nutrients, bread flour is a significant contributor. Natural or processed elements such as energy, protein, and fat are also in this food. This flour is low in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Gluten is a protein-water mixture that forms an elastic network in bread. Glutenin and gliadin are both essential proteins to know about. Glutenin is in charge of the dough’s elasticity, while gliadin is responsible for its extensibility.  The elastic and plastic properties of gluten allow it to expand during fermentation when gas is produced. Additional protein in the flour gives the bread more volume and structure while keeping the crumb tender. 

In the event that your recipe calls for bread flour, but only all-purpose flour is available. Don’t worry you can always substitute it for all-purpose flour however you won’t get the same elasticity.
flour in a jar/common types of flour

Cake Flour

Cake Flour is what we use in baking cakes. It is from soft wheat flour that’s been grounded finely. It contains a protein concentration of 10-12 percent, resulting in smooth and sensitive crumbles. It’s also been bleached, making it a paler shade with a more refined texture. Cake flour also helps to prevent lumps of butter from forming when using this type of flour. 

The final result will be softer and fluffier if the protein content is lower. Because of this, bread flour is not advisable to use in making cakes.

Cake flour is more expensive than other types of flour because of its higher demand. Although many different companies produce it worldwide, there isn’t much of a distinction between the other cake flours. The essential characteristic of this flour is the fine grind.

Although all-purpose flour can produce a great cake, the texture of a cake prepared with all-purpose flour and a cake made with cake flour differ noticeably. Either way, you may create your cake flour to save time and money by not having to go out and buy it.

flour and almonds/common types of flour

Almond flour

This type of flour is from pure grounded almonds and is gluten-free. It is completely natural and not processed so one can definitely use it to bake a cake, thicken the sauces, etc. It does not taste the same as regular flour and is a bit expensive.
Almond flour is high in monounsaturated fat, which can help reduce cholesterol. Lowering cholesterol reduces the risk of heart disease considerably. Also, it helps with diabetes because it has a low glycemic index. It contains a lot of prebiotic fiber which benefits digestive health. Furthermore, this flour is also high in vitamin E and other antioxidants, lowering the risk of severe health problems like cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. On the other hand, though it has great health benefits it is very high in calories.
flour and strainer/common types of flour

Pastry flour

Pastry flour is one of the most common types of flour that you will see. But what is the difference between that flour and the other flour? Well, pastry flour has a protein content of around 8-10%. It has a lower protein flour compared to bread flour so it is perfect for your baked pastries. It bakes tender pastries and chewy cookies. If you run out of pastry flour in your kitchen you can always substitute it with all-purpose but as I mentioned in the other flours the texture will be different.

Alternatively, you can mimic its properties by mixing a 2-to-1 ratio of all-purpose to cake flour.

corn in a cob

Corn Flour

Corn flour should not be confused with cornmeal or corn starch. Because, to be honest, I couldn’t tell the difference before I got into baking.
Cornmeal is a coarsely crushed flour made from corn kernels; it is a gritty type of flour.

Cornstarch is from the endosperm of corn. It is entirely composed of carbohydrates. Because of its high carbohydrate content is commonly used as a thickening ingredient in sauces, soups, and gravies.

Corn Flour is a powder-like form of cornmeal. It has the consistency of finely ground cornmeal. Like any other flour, it gives structures to baked items and is frequently paired with a binder to give shape. It does not taste nice when raw, but it takes on an earthy and sweet flavor when cooked.

Corn flour is also gluten-free and a good substitute for wheat flour.
It is high in fiber; one cup of cornflour supplies one-third of one’s daily fiber requirements as well as required protein. It is an excellent source of antioxidants because corn is high in them, and antioxidants help to prevent disease. Furthermore, corn contains a high concentration of soluble fibers, which benefits digestive health—the balance of soluble and insoluble fiber aids digestion. Corn’s insoluble fibers can ferment in the colon and help a variety of microbiomes.

However, there are certain disadvantages to taking corn flour, so one must exercise caution.
Corn is grown with a higher percentage of GMOs. GMO corn treatment has been linked to liver and kidney damage in mammals and potential issues with the reproductive, pancreatic, immunological, and endocrine systems.
Consuming too much cornflour may also have an impact on the body’s nutritional absorption. Corn contains phytic acid, which inhibits iron, zinc, and calcium absorption and inhibits in utilizing those nutrients that may contribute to mineral shortages. Sprouting or soaking grains is an excellent technique to separate those molecules and reap the full benefits of the nutrients inherent in them. As a result, sprouted corn flour is advisable to use. It is very high in carbs as well; thus one must use it with caution

woman pouring a flour from a jar

Self Rising Flour(all in one)

It is a type of flour that is a mixture of all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. It is a type of flour that is becoming popular because the leavening agents are already in one bag.

Now that you know the common types of flour that a baker uses, it’s also time for you to learn the basic tools that you will need to start baking!

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