Types of Flour – which type should I use?

Buying flour seems like an easy task – until you’re faced with multiple varieties and brands at the grocery store. If your recipe suggests a specific type of flour – use that! But if it simply says “flour,” you’ll want to a know a little more to make the right choice.

The main factor to consider is the protein content. Flour is milled to contain a specific amount of protein. The higher the protein – the stronger the flour. It is very important to use the right type of flour for the best and most consistent results.

ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR – 10%-12% protein

The most common type of flour is All-Purpose Flour. With a medium protein content, you can use all-purpose in any recipe that calls for flour. It is great for cookies, cakes, scones, breads, and pie crusts. It has enough protein to make a chewy bread, but will also allow and tender crumb for biscuits, when it is not over-mixed.

BREAD FLOUR – 12%-15% protein

When it comes to yeast breads, the higher the protein content, the higher the potential rise. With more protein comes more gluten development, which creates chewy texture. Great for artisan breads, sandwich bread, bagels, and pretzels.

CAKE FLOUR – 6%-8% protein

With less protein, food made with cake flour will have a soft, tender crumb. Cake flour is usually bleached and milled very finely. This allows the starches to absorb more fat and liquid – resulting in soft and moist cakes. Ideal for white cake, angel food cake, chiffon, and pound cake.

Bleached or Unbleached?

Bleached flour is treated with chlorine dioxide or benzoyl peroxide to give it an artificially white appearance. Bleaching changes the structure of the starches and protein. The resulting grain absorbs more water and fat. The protein is also less tightly bound. This makes the dough less sticky and easier to work with.

Protein ContentAdvantagesUses
All-Purpose Flour10% – 12%-medium protein content
-most common
-versatile
-cakes
-cookies
-brownies
-muffins
-pancakes
-waffles
-pie crust
Bread Flour12% – 15%-high protein content
-strong flour
-better gluten development
-higher rise
-chewy texture
-yeast breads
-artisan breads
-sandwich breads
-bagels
-pizza crust
Cake Flour6% – 8%-low protein content
-bleached white color
-absorbs more fat + liquid
-tender crumb
-moist texture
-white cake
-angel’s food cake
-chiffon cake
-pound cake
-some cookies

Okay! Hopefully this empowers you to find the right flour for your kitchen!

Now that you have the best flour for you, make sure you’re measuring it accurately. Learn how here!

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