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Monday, August 16, 2010

All about flour

I used to think flour was flour. No, there are different kinds, for different uses.

All purpose flour is just plain flour. It will work for any purpose, but in some recipes, you will need additional ingredients.

Bread flour is best for bread and pizza crust; It has extra gluten. If you use all-purpose flour for bread, you should add your own gluten. Bread flour is not for biscuits, pancakes, cornbread, or cake.

Self rising flour is for biscuits, pancakes, cornbread, and other "quick breads". It contains baking powder and salt. It's also made with a lower gluten flour than all-purpose, so it really is better and not just more convenient for "quick breads." Self rising flour is not for yeast-based breads.

Any recipe that calls for flour, baking powder and salt, can be substituted with self rising flour, and then you don't need the baking powder or salt.

Cake flour is for... cake! It has a much lower protein content than all purpose flour, and is made from soft wheat. If you use all purpose flour, for every 1 cup, subtract 2 tbsp, and add 2 tbsp cornstarch.

Pastry flour is similar to cake flour. It has a slightly higher protein content, and is used for... pastries! It's hard to find; You can make your own by mixing 2 parts cake flour to 1 part all purpose flour.

Wondra flour is a very low protein flour, also called "instant flour." It can be instantly added to liquids to thicken without clumping.

Some people swear by Wondra for making pie crust; I use it for sauces and to thicken soups.

So there you have it! A basic rundown on flour.

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