A mixture of approximately equal parts hard and soft wheat flours. It's used in the kitchen rather than in the bakeshop.
A hard wheat flour. It's very easy to dust into a thin film, making it ideal to use when rolling out and working with dough. Bread flour is milled from wheat rich in protein, providing dough with a high gluten content. The wheat must be grown in areas with appropriate amount of rainfall and in soil rich in nitrogen. Bread flour is obviously best used for baking breads.
A soft wheat flour that has been chlorinated to further break down the strength of the gluten. It feels very smooth and can be pressed into a lump in your hand. Because it contains less of the gluten-producing proteins, cake flour yields a more crumbly, but lighter texture. It is used in making sponge cakes and other baked goods where a weaker gluten structure is preferable.
Another soft wheat flour, which is close to all-purpose flour in gluten strength. It can be used for the same uses as cake flour, but with cakes and pastries you'd prefer to have some gluten strength in.
Whole Wheat Flour
Also known as graham flour, whole-wheat flour is milled from the entire wheat kernel, including the germ and the bran, this being the reason why it is very nutritious. This flour doesn't keep as long as white flour because of the fat contained in the wheat germ. Whole wheat flour can be used to make breads, but since bread made solely from this flour is a lot heavier than that made with white flour, most of the time a combination of the two is used.
Flours other than wheat (that have been milled from other plants) can be used. Each contributes its own distinctive taste, texture, and nutritional benefit; however, since these flours are lower in gluten content, they are always combined with a percentage of wheat flour to assure proper leavening.
This flour is seldom used in bread baking today, but in the past it was used extensively. To substitute barley flour for wheat flour, use half the amount by volume, continuing to use wheat flour for the other half.
This flour is made from the roasted seeds of the plant. Buckwheat is used most often in pancakes, especially for the popular buckwheat blini, known from Eastern Europe.
Corn flour, not to be confused with cornstarch, is milled from either white or yellow corn. It's also produced as a byproduct in the making of cornmeal. This flour contains no gluten, and is sprinkled on top of English muffins, sourdough breads, and breadsticks to give them a crunchy crust.
Potato flour, also known as potato starch, is made from cooked, dried, ground potatoes. It is most frequently used as a thickening agent, but can also be used in baking to reduce the gluten strength of bread flour since potato flour has no gluten.
This is one of the best-tasting flours for making bread. It is divided into four categories, those being: light, medium, dark, and pumpernickel. As with wheat flour, these grades are determined by the part of the grain that the flour is milled from, the medium grade being the most popular. Pumpernickel flour is made in much the same way as whole wheat flour: it is milled from the entire rye grain including the bran. Rye flour is almost always mixed with some wheat flour to give it added gluten strength and rising power in bread baking. A small amount of vinegar added to rye bread dough will help to bring out the rye flavor. Caraway seeds are almost always an ingredient in rye bread also.
Soy flour is made from the soybean rather than from a cereal grain. It isn't commonly used in the pastry shop, but it is very nutritious and can be mixed with other flours in cakes for consumers with special diets.
The New Professional Chef, 6th edition * 1996,
by The Culinary Institute of America,
published by John Wiley & Sons
Click HERE to return to the general Charts webpage.