Types of Flour

Flour comes mostly from wheat. In baking, not every flour can be substituted, and using the wrong type of flour can affect the outcome of your end product. So, it is very important to know what type of flour you should use. Generally, the flour with higher protein (stronger flour) will yield more chewy and crusty breads and other yeast-risen products. While flour with less protein (softer flour) will work well for chemically leavened products like cakes, cookies, biscuits etc.

Remember: Protein + water = Gluten

* Gluten forms a network which traps air and will expand when it comes in contact with leaveners like baking soda and baking powder.

All-Purpose Flour
Probably the most commonly used flour, also known as called Plain Flour. All-purpose flour may be bleached or unbleached. When a recipe simply says “flour” without specifying further, this is what they mean.

Bread Flour
Bread flour is made from high-protein wheat. It has a higher gluten strength and protein content than all-purpose flour. It is unbleached and is usually best used for yeast products as its high gluten strength creates a strong gluten network to trap the gases from the yeast, thus helping the dough to rise.

Cake Flour
Cake flour is a fine-textured, soft-wheat flour with a high starch content and is usually bleached. Among wheat flours, it has the lowest gluten content. Cake flour is best to use in recipes with high ratio of sugar to flour (example fine-textured cakes like chiffon or angel cakes, quick breads and muffins) as it can hold its rise better and will be less liable to collapse.

Tip: If you are short of cake flour, substitute with bleached all-purpose flour. Subtract 2 tablespoons of flour for each cup used in the recipe (if using volume measuring) and replace with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.

Self-Rising Flour
Self-rising flour is a low-protein flour with salt and leavening already added. It is usually used for biscuits and some quick breads, but not for yeast breads. Do note that recipes that call for self-rising flour do not require addition of salt or leavening agents.

Tip: Make your own with all-purpose flour and baking powder! For each cup of all-purpose flour required, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and a pinch of salt

Semolina Flour
Semolina flour is the highest in gluten content. It makes a tough dough that can stretch and expand. Thus, it is usually for making pasta or pizza crusts.

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