Sunday, April 4, 2010

Flour: Types and Percentages

I thought today would be a good day to talk flour. Stroring flour properly is very important: I keep my flours in sealed containers in the fridge. This protects from becoming rancid and infestation possiblities. What type of flour are you using and does it contain gluten?

What is gluten? It is a source of protein most often found in wheat and grain products.

The standard type of flour that most people use is called All Purpose or AP Flour It is made from wheat and has 12-13% gluten. It can be bleached or unbleached. Personally, I feel if you are using AP Flour, you should always stick with the unbleached version. One, its not bleached and two, it has a nicer consistancy.

Self Rising Flour, which is used a lot in baking, is 9-11% gluten. In his book Biscuit Bliss, James Villas recommends making your own as baking powder can lose its power if stored too long.

Durham or Semolina is used for pasta and contains 13%.

Whole Wheat Flour, also used as a general purpose flour most commonly in conjunction with AP, contains 14%.

Cake or Pastry Flour, is mostly used for anything of a more delicate nature that is required to be flaky. 7.5-9% gluten.

Bread Flour is 13-14%

Amaranth, Cornmeal, Rice, Soy, Chickpea, Nut flours and Teff have no gluten, while Oat, Rye, and Spelt have low percentages. Always be sure to check that your flour has been processed in a gluten free facility if you have gluten issues. The packages should be clearly marked for your safety.

Soy has a very strong aftertaste, as does Chickpea flour, which is delicious with herbs and made into crackers.
In European recipes you will hear about 0 or 00 flour. The numbers indicate how find the grind is with 00 being the finest. Both of these are easily used in pastry, bread and pasta making.

And here is another unusual flour featured in Supernatural Cooking by Heidi Swanson. Can't wait to try Mesquite flour!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this. It's great that people can read up on and understand the differences between products they use every day.


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