You may see various kinds of flour in the market and wonder how people use them. Each type of flour is best used for a specific application, not just cake and as part of the tempura recipe. Moreover, less popular flour types for specific recipes are becoming common in most supermarkets. Learn about the more common types of flour used in household and commercial kitchens and when to best use them.
Types of Flours Used in Most Kitchens
While all types of flour serve the same purpose, they differ somewhat in flavour and texture. Wheat flour is from hard wheat, soft wheat, or a combination of the two. Hard wheat has a greater protein level that allows for sturdy gluten bonding, making it perfect for creating pasta and bread. Here is a list of the most common types of flour used in kitchens and their primary uses.
Whole wheat flour options at stores in Singapore and abroad are naturally high in B vitamins, iron, selenium, potassium, and magnesium. Most countries require millers to fortify refined wheat flour with thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and iron. Flours from ‘soft’ wheat have less protein and are less elastic, making them ideal for delicate pastries and cakes. Flour from ‘hard’ wheat is richer in protein, especially gluten, which makes dough sticky, elastic, and capable of holding air bubbles created by a leavening agent as it rises.
The most adaptable and common type of flour in the market is all-purpose flour. It is from a combination of hard and soft wheat. You can use it to make pie crusts, muffins, biscuits, cookies, and other baked goods. Unbleached flour naturally whitens with age. On the other hand, millers process bleached flour to brighten it faster. Unbleached flour may have a thicker texture, but the flours are interchangeable with minor variances. Fortified all-purpose flours include calcium and vitamins A and D.
#2 Whole Wheat
You can only apply the term ‘whole wheat’ to goods that employ the entire wheat kernel in their formulation. Flour millers separate wheat kernels before the milling process into three parts: endosperm, germ, and bran. This flour type includes all three. Whole wheat flour available at stores in Singapore and abroad is more perishable. Consumers should store it in the refrigerator or freezer, or it will become rancid over time.
#3 Whole Grain
All whole wheat goods are whole-grain products in essence. However, not all whole grain items (including flour) in stores in Singapore and abroad are whole wheat. You can find all three components of a grain kernel in whole grain and whole wheat products. On the other hand, whole grain is when amaranth, barley, corn, millet, quinoa, rice, rye, sorghum, teff, triticale, and even wheat, are added to the product. The complete kernels of these grains are in all circumstances. Whole bran is the fibrous outer layer of wheat kernels and is high in B vitamins and minerals. The endosperm is high in healthy lipids, vitamin E, B vitamins, and antioxidants.
Cake flour, with a protein concentration of about 5-8%, is manufactured from finely textured soft wheat and has minimal protein content. It has less gluten and structure, resulting in moist outcomes. Cake flour has higher sugar and liquid holding capacity than all-purpose flour, making it ideal for sponge cake, biscuits, cakes, muffins, pancakes, and scones.
Bread flour has the most protein concentration of any refined wheat flour, reaching up to 14%. Bread flour has more gluten than all-purpose and cake flour since it is mostly hard wheat (with small amounts of barley flour). When baking yeasted bread, a significant amount of gluten is required for the bread to rise. The added protein helps to keep the porous, chewy texture and caramelised crisp exterior of yeasted bread together. Bagel, yeasted and artisanal bread, pretzels, and pizza dough all benefit from bread flour.
Self-rising flour is also available in shops, but remember that combining it with other flours will affect the taste and texture of your baked items. Self-rising flour is lower in protein than most all-purpose flours and contains baking powder and salt. The protein level is modest, at 8-9%, due to the use of soft wheat. You can make biscuits, pancakes, and scones with it.
Gluten-free flours are from other grains or plants. These flours contain no wheat proteins. Those with dietary allergies or intolerances will appreciate the new gluten-free flour mixes on the market. Garbanzo bean flour, tapioca flour, white sorghum flour, and fava bean flour are all ingredients in one gluten-free baking mix. Although certain flours are available in bulk, most gluten-free selections are in pre-packaged volumes—and careful storage will extend their shelf life. Refrigerate or freeze flour in sealed containers to keep the powdered texture.
You can also find high fibre flour selections from non-wheat selections. Examples are:
- Almond – Made from blanched almonds, they are hefty in protein and low in carbs. Pastries, baked products, and dessert fillings benefit from the moisture and nutty flavour this type of flour provides.
- Oat – It is from oat groats. Most people use this type of flour in place of flour in various recipes. Oat flour can add a rich, nutty taste and a denser texture to recipes.
- Brown Rice – This flour is from unpolished brown rice and has a nutty flavour. Most people use it in baked dishes such as cornbread and pound cake to get a grittier texture.
Many additional flour types are used in kitchens worldwide for baking, thickening, bulking, and binding the elements of ethnic meals. These flours are often from locally accessible foods high in calories, protein, and other nutrients as staples. Many are available at ethnic food stores and have distinct tastes and cooking capabilities.
Approach a Reputable Supplier
Prima Flour is a prominent flour manufacturer and wholesale supplier on the island and worldwide. The firm consistently manufactures high-quality wheat flour and premixes and develops various speciality flours to get the best results in specific applications. The company sells all-purpose flour, wheat variations, and speciality mills such as Japanese bread flour. Visit their website to find out more about the company and its goods.