We’re sure you enjoy celebrating the usual March holidays – St. Patrick’s Day, Pi Day, Women’s History Month – but did you know there’s another holiday worth celebrating (especially if you love to bake)? March is National Flour Month! It’s a great excuse to do some baking this month with the staple pantry ingredient that we’re celebrating!
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all of the different types of flours? All-purpose flour, pastry flour, bread flour, cake flour… We hear you! Navigating the world of flour can certainly get a bit stressful, especially if you don’t know what the purpose of each flour type is. That’s when our helpful guide comes in handy!
According to The Kitchn, The main differentiating factor between flours is the protein content. “Protein content is related to how much gluten can be formed using that particular flour. Gluten helps create structure and determine texture in your final baked goods. Flours with low protein content will generate less gluten and flours with high protein content will create more.”
All-purpose flour is a pantry staple as it can be used in a variety of baked goods and has a moderate amount of protein content (10-12%). While it may not always be the best choice for all recipes, it’s versatility makes it a great option for baking practically anything, especially if it’s the only flour you have on hand.
Cake flour has the lowest protein content (5-8%). The small amount of gluten-forming proteins makes this flour the perfect option for baking cakes, biscuits and muffins. This flour is able to absorb more liquid and sugar than other types, which ensures for more moist and tender baked goods.
Pastry flour has protein levels between that of cake flour and all-purpose flour (8-9%). This makes the flour perfect for flaky and tender baked goods such as pies, tarts and a variety of cookies. You can make your own pastry flour by combining all-purpose flour and cake flour.
Bread flour has the most structural support out of all of the flours and has a protein content of 12-14%. This structure provides yeasty breads with good volume and a chewy texture, it also allows the crust to brown nicely.
This type of flour had baking powder and salt added to it during milling. Self-rising flour may not be used as often as the other types, but it works great in biscuits, muffins, and pancakes.
What is your favorite type of flour to use? Let us know in the comments!