Do you sometimes get confused when picking a type of flour for baking? Let’s say you just want to make simple cupcakes for the kids and when you’re finally in the supermarket buying the ingredients, you see cake flour, pastry flour, bread flour, and all purpose flour… which one do you need exactly? Is there such a big difference among all these flours? Or can all-purpose flour be used for all purposes? Here is a quick guide:
One thing is for sure – they are all similarly made from wheat. What makes them different is how they are milled, what kind of wheat they are made from, and even what time of year the wheat was harvested. But what really makes the difference in terms of your desired baked goods is the protein content. Protein content is directly related to how much gluten can be formed using that particular flour and gluten helps create structure and determine texture in your final baked good.
So, the more protein content a particular flour has, the more gluten it can form. More gluten in the ingredients means your baked good will be more dense as well. Here is the estimated protein content of the four common types of flour:
Bread Flour: 14 – 16%
All-Purpose Flour: 10 – 12%
Pastry Flour: 9%
Cake Flour: 7-8%
If you want to make cupcakes and cakes, use cake flour with 7-8% protein and the result will be a fluffy and airy bread. If however, you want to make baguettes and loaves of bread which are firm, chewy, and somewhat dense, use bread flour which has more protein content.
Note however that the protein content may not always be similar to the above guide as the exact protein content varies by brand and by region. What you can do, as a beginner baker, is to use flours according to its name which is usually an indication of how it’s intended to be used.
If for example, you need cake flour but all you have is all-purpose flour, or vice versa, you can still approximate what you have to your intended ingredient using some other common baking ingredients found at home. That topic will be discussed soon so do stick around to America Top 10 News and Information!