I always joke if I could live off baked products, I would! However, due to their low fruit and vegetable content, I must cook as well! However, for today, we’re going to focus on how to differentiate the use of different flours and why the type of flours matter!
|Flour||Description||Shelf Life||Best Used For|
|All Purpose||Blend of hard and soft wheat; may be bleached or unbleached; has 8-11% protein||Up to 8 months if properly sealed or up to a year if refrigerated||Bleached: pie crust, cookies, quick breads, pancakes and waffles
Unbleached: yeast breads ,Danish pastries puff pastry, strudel, Yorkshire pudding, eclairs cream puffs and popovers
|Bread Flour||White flour made from hard, high protein wheat; more gluten strength and protein (gluten) than all purpose; unbleached; sometimes conditioned with ascorbic acid, which provides better texture and increases volume; has 12-14% protein||Several months in cool, dry cabinet in a properly sealed container; up to a year in the freezer||Yeast products|
|Buckwheat Flour||Gluten free; nice nutty flavor; protein and B vitamin rich||Pantry: 2 months; freezer: 1 year||Baked goods, soba noodles|
|Cake Flour||Fine textured, soft wheat flour with high starch content; lowest protein of all wheat flours—8-10%; chlorinated, which helps set a cake faster and distributes fat more evenly through batter to improve texture; can use bleached all purpose flour as a substitute if you subtract 2 tablespoons of flour for each cup||4-5 months||Fine textured cakes with greater volume; quick breads, muffins, cookies|
|Durum Flour||Least amount of starch of all flours; great for stretching and expanding||Pasta|
|Instant Flour||Granular, formulated to dissolve quickly in hot or cold liquids; won’t work as a substitute for all purpose flour; produces lump free batter; weak to humidity||2 years||Popovers, sauces and gravies|
|Pastry Flour||Pie crusts|
|Self-Rising Flour||Aka phosphorylated flour; low protein with salt and baking powder, which is a leavening agent; do not use for yeast breads||4-6 months||Biscuits, muffins, pancakes and quick breads|
|Semolina Flour||Made from durum wheat, which is the hardest type of grown wheat;||Pasta ,Italian puddings|
|Spelt Flour||A popular alternative baking flour; fats are more soluable and has a higher nutritional content than traditional wheat flour; has nutty, slightly sweet flavor||Pantry: 6 months; freezer: 1 year||Popular substitute for wheat in baked goods|
|Teff Flour||Similarly prepared as quinoa or millet; higher in protein than wheat; calcium, thiamin and iron rich; high in fiber; contains no gluten||Pantry: 4 months; Freezer: 1 year|
|Whole Wheat Flour||Aka graham flour; made from whole kernel of wheat; fiber rich; often mixed with all purpose or bread flour||Six months to a year when in freezer; keeps only for a year in a cabinet best to store in a sealed container||Yeast breads|
Breakdown of words: “Bleached” flour has less protein than unbleached and has been chemically altered unlike unbleached.
These recommendations are definitely more catered to the “serious” cooks and bakers. If you’re wanting to experiment with different recipes, but don’t want to break the bank, purchasing whole wheat flour is a great investment!