In India, flour is a staple ingredient and we all use flour on a daily basis. Although, what you might not know is that there are many types to it. Actually, it is quite an interesting ingredient because they are super compatible and can be easily substituted with one another. By adding just a couple of ingredients, you can make also make flour at home.
We have put together some basic and different types of flours, their purposes, along with some benefits, that can make your cooking and baking a little easier.
All Purpose Flour –
Confused? Actually this all-purpose flour is none other than our good-old maida or refined flour as we call it. If you only want to stock your kitchen with one type of flour – then it is All Purpose Flour. Like the name suggests, this flour is suitable for many purposes, like baking cookies, bread and other baked goods. It is also used as a thickening agent. All Purpose Flour lasts longer than whole wheat flour but does not contain as many nutritional qualities as whole wheat flour.
Whole-Wheat Flour – Whole wheat is high in fiber because it contains the bran, endosperm and germ of the wheat grain, giving it a slightly darker color, which makes it healthier. It is used for baking bread and many other baked items. An interesting fact about whole-wheat flour is that it can substitute a part of all-purpose flour (but not all the time)!
Bread Flour – Bread Flour is used for baking breads, obviously, you knew that. The major difference between bread flour and other flours is that it is made from varieties of hard wheat; hence it is sometimes known as strong flour. Bread Flour provides needed support to the recipe, it is high in gluten strength and protein content than all-purpose flour.
Although, if you need bread flour, and you don’t have it available, it’s nothing to worry about. You can very easily replace the quantity of bread flour required in your recipe, with an equal amount of all-purpose flour.
Cake Flour – This flour has the lowest protein content, which makes it ideal for tender baked goods like cakes, of course, but also muffins, biscuits and scones. Cake Flour is easy to make at home if you need is some all-purpose flour and corn starch.
Pastry Flour – Pastry Flour has a fine texture and is low on protein content. It is mainly used for baking muffins, pound cakes, breadsticks, and pie crusts. It is the go-to for sweets for many bakers. A combination of all-purpose flour and cake flour is a very simple and reliable substitute for the Pastry Flour.
Oat Flour – Oats are an excellent source of dietary fiber. Used in making pancakes, brownies, muffins and cupcakes. Oat Flour is far better than wheat flour. Some people use almond flour as a substitute to whole wheat flour, but oat flour is a far more cost-effective substitute than almond flour.
Self-rising Flour – Self-rising Flour is basically regular flour with baking powder added to it- a combination off all-purpose flour; baking powder and salt. It is used in baking quick breads, cakes, and other baked goods. But it is suggested to only use this ingredient if the recipe needs it.
There is no question about which flour is better and which is not, they all have multiple purposes when it comes to cooking.
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.