If you are a baker you use a lot of flour. Today, learn about All-Purpose Flour – A Guide To What I Bake With. Yes, flour! You know that white stuff that gets all over your clothes and flies out of the Kitchen Aid mixer to cover your countertop and cupboards.
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Since I am a baker, flour is obviously one of my most important ingredients, after all, the gluten in the flour is important on how well my bread bakes or how chewy my cookies are.
What is all-purpose flour?
This is the most popular flour used for cooking and baking and is perfect for the home baker. The uses for this finely milled flour is endless and is uses for most varieties of baked goods and cooking.
All-purpose flour has different proteins
Why protein in flour is important?
Flours have different amounts of protein and that protein is turned to gluten once it gets wet, and the more you work a dough such as cookies, biscuits, or yeast bread the more the gluten develops. That’s why you stop mixing a scone dough as soon as the flour is incorporated so the scones stay fluffy and tender, and that’s why you knead yeast dough, so you create a structured dough that helps the yeast rise.
- Soft wheat flour is lower in protein and is used for all-purpose flours and is perfect for recipes where you want less gluten. Use this type of flour for tender cakes and pastries.
- Hard wheat flour has a high protein content and is perfect for when you want more gluten for elasticity in your baked goods such as bread.
The difference between Bleached Vs. Nonbleached flour
Do not fret over which flour you use as you will get great results with both, mostly it comes down to preference, and what is available in your stores.
- Bleached flour is just what the name implies, the flour has chemical additives to make it whiter which is great when you want a really white cake such as an angel food cake, or a white wedding cake. The added chemicals also aid in making baked goods really light and tender.
- Unbleached flour is naturally aged and doesn’t use any chemicals, and because of this, the flour has a bit of a yellow tint to it and it retains some nutrients. Unbleached flour may be more expensive in some varieties.
My favorite flours
I do not bake gluten-free but have become interested in the new and different types of flour products on the market, and after doing some research, I became interested in using better types of flour for my baking besides the usual all-purpose flour.
Ancient Grain Wheat vs. Modern Grain Wheat
I am no authority on flour but this is what I have come to realize, and that is, basic AP flour is causing most people problems with their health. Even though my family is not experiencing problems I started learning about and trying different flours.
Most of the wheat grown today has been either been genetically engineered (gmo) or hybridized. Wheat is an ancient grain and we have been consuming it for years. However, why then, in the last ten years have more and more people been diagnosed with celiac disease or just find wheat products intolerable to eat? Common sense points to the new types of so-called “modern wheat.”
I found two flour products that I have researched and love to bake with. Please note, I am not being paid from either company, it’s just what I like to use and want to share with you. The first one that I truly love is einkorn flour. The brand I buy is from a company called Jovial and their site has a great explanation of einkorn flour
According to Jovial, einkorn is the world’s most ancient wheat and has never been hybridized. ” Einkorn means “one grain” in German. That’s because einkorn only has one grain attached to the stem, while other wheats have groups of four grains.”
You can see the examples of the different wheat from the Jovial site. It is really interesting to see up close what the wheat really looks like.
Why use Einkorn Flour?
It actually has a rich flavor to it, a bit toasty and nutty, but nothing overwhelming. This flavor really comes through in your baked products.
Einkorn flour has a pale yellow color. The reason for this is it contains higher amounts of tocotrienols, (vitamin E), and beta carotene lutein than modern flour; both of these compounds are important nutrients. I feel using the einkorn flour is more natural than the modern AP flour and is better digested.
Jovial flour is sold in small two-pound bags and is best to keep it in the fridge to keep it from going rancid.
I use einkorn flour for cookies, biscuits, quick bread, waffles, and scones, plus I love the golden color of my baked goods.
According to their site, einkorn flour is more nutritious and has a different gluten makeup. Noted from their site: “It appears that the improved digestibility of einkorn is because of its starch structure.” It is also unbromated.
What is bromated flour?
Bromated flour has been treated with potassium bromate with is a potential carcinogen, something I just don’t need to be adding to my food. I know my end products; cookies, biscuits, bread, etc. all have a better, fresher taste to them than when I use the regular AP flour.
I made biscuit dough for comparisons just to see the color difference between using the einkorn flour and Gold Medal flour. You can see the dough on the right is the goldish color that comes from the einkorn flour.
When using the einkorn flour I do have to adjust some of my recipes since this flour does not absorb as much liquid as the AP flour. I start with the amount of flour my recipe calls for and reduce the liquid a little bite. For many of my recipes, I do not have to make any adjustments, but you may have to play around with your batters and dough to get them right.
Another thing that you will notice is the density of the dough. If you compare the two doughs above you will see the regular AP flour dough is taller and puffier. And when you bake these biscuits you will also see they do not rise as tall as the regular AP flour biscuits. But the flavor is definitely different, with a more pronounced fuller flavor.
Why use Wheat Montana Flour?
The other flour I like to use is called Wheat Montana Natural White flour. This is an unbleached, unbromated high-protein AP flour made from hard red winter what. Wheat Montana is a family-owned business and its products are also non-GMO and chemical-free. I just feel with this flour I am getting a fresher and healthier product.
This flour can be found in larger grocery stores, Wal-Mart and Target, so no ordering online which makes me happy. Here is their site; they have an incredible history of their farm and products. Check out their website for their amazing story – Wheat Montana history.
This is the flour I use most often for all types of baking and cooking. I love that I can buy it in a 10-pound bag.
Why use King Arthur flour?
Protein is so important when baking and King Arthur’s AP flour contains a higher protein content of 11.7% which helps add structure to your baked goods for a nice rise and flakiness to biscuits and scones and that beautiful loft to yeast bread. This is a hard wheat flour. Yes, you pay more for King Arthur flour but the quality is consistent and that helps make your baked good consistent.
I buy the unbleached flour which is also unbromated and use this mostly for cookies, pastries, muffins, pie dough, yeast bread, and biscuits.
Why use Gold Medal Flour?
Gold Medal is a popular flour that is readily available in most stores, and the price is right for the everyday baker. The protein in this flour is 10.5% and is a combination of hard and soft wheat. I stick with the unbleached variety and love this flour for pastries, cookies, cakes, pie dough, quick bread, pancakes, and pizza dough. This is a good flour to use for cooking when making sauces or to use for thickening.
Bake with what you like
You are probably wondering do I keep all these flours in my pantry? Right now I happen to have all of them. Sometimes I may just use one for weeks then switch off and use another one. It all depends on what I am baking.
Other flours that are commonly used
- Whole wheat flour
- Cake flour
- Pastry flour
- Bread flour
- Self-rising flour
- Organic flour
- Gluten-free flour
The price of flour
At first, I was concerned about the cost of the flour considering how much I use it. Here is the breakdown of my flour purchases that I made in 2021.
Gold Medal AP unbleached flour
$2.26 per bag
.028 per oz
Found at Target
Wheat Montana Natural White AP flour
$5.98 per bag
.037 per oz.
Found at Wal-Mart
Jovial Einkorn flour
$7.29 per bag
.23 per oz.
Found on Amazon and my local grocery store
Here is an idea of how much the flour cost to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies that calls for 2 cups of flour which is about 8.8 oz. When you figure out the cost of using any of the flours this really puts the price into perspective. Even with the high price of the einkorn flour, it is still my first choice when baking most items. When I’m using yeast I reach for the Wheat Montana flour as I can control the moisture level for a better rise.
Gold Medal = .24
King Arthur = .48
Wheat Montana = .70
Jovial Einkorn = 2.00
Cooking and baking tips from One Hot Oven
This guide for Recipe Ingredients Substitution will come in handy when you run out of an ingredient in the middle of making a recipe.
Do you love using spices? This guide will help you learn the Essential Baking Spices to keep on hand.
Keep the Basic Ingredients for Baking in your pantry so you can staples ready for baking.
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From learning to cook on a farm in Indiana to culinary school in California, my passion for food is never-ending. Turning on my oven to bake something for friends and family is my happy place, and I am glad to be here at One Hot Oven sharing both sweet and savory recipes with all my baking friends.