Flour – the most crucial ingredient for any baking recipe. With so many varieties to choose from, how do you know which one is the best for your recipe? We break down the differences in wheat flour types below (with protein content as the main differentiator) and share recommendations for successful baking. Remember, the higher the protein content, the higher the gluten produced when adding liquid. While protein contents vary by brand, using the flour called for in a recipe will almost always produce the best baked good!
- The low protein content of cake flour allows for a light and airy structure. Cake flour is very finely ground and yields higher-rising, more tender cakes with a fine, moist crumb.
- Pastry flour is a soft flour containing less gluten, and it absorbs less liquid in recipes. It creates a tender, flaky baked good and is best used in biscuits, croissants, and pie crusts.
- The most well-rounded flour, with a medium protein content. While you can use all-purpose flour in any recipe calling for flour, the protein content is light enough for cookies and cakes, and sturdy enough for yeasted bread.
- Bread flour was developed to pair with yeast in order to produce the best baked bread. The higher protein content creates a strong, elastic dough, resulting in a lighter, chewier bread. This is ideal for bread, rolls, and pizza dough.
WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR
- Whole wheat flour has a classic, robust whole-wheat flavor and provides more fiber and nutrients than other flours. Using it results in a heavy baked good. In baking recipes, it is often combined with all-purpose flour for a lighter texture. Whole wheat flour works well in quick breads and muffins.