Hi Bakers and Foodies! Today I’m going to share some of the Wheat flours used by bakers. This is another post about types of baking ingredients used in baking.
In this post, I’ll be covering the different types of flours that you’re going to find in baking recipes.
When it comes to baking, most recipes call for wheat flour. In the baking world, there are three main Categories of Wheat Flours that are used. These are based on the protein levels (gluten level).
One is called All-purpose flour. This is supposed to be a wheat flour that’s generally used for any type of baking; therefore the gluten level has a nice balance
Then there is Bread flour (also known as High Protein Flour), which has a higher gluten content. This gives you a more elastic, better bread. The thing about is you can’t use it for cake because the gluten content is really, really high.
Then the third type of flour that’s used in the baking industry a lot is cake flour. This has the least amount of gluten and makes really amazing, amazing cakes. Has very low percentage of gluten, but is not really good for baking bread.
If you’re in the baking industry, those are the three main categories of flours that are going to be used.
1. All-purpose Flour
This is the best type of wheat flour to use when you’re baking most recipes. The reason is that it can be used for various purposes. It can be used for most baking recipes such as cakes, cookies, breads & many other pastries that require wheat flour.
All Purpose flour is easily found in supermarkets or shops in your local area. It’s the best type of wheat flour to use for baking. It doesn’t have any type of raising agent added, so it’s a nice blank canvas to bake with. As a baker; I would suggest having all-purpose in your pantry, at all times.
2. Self-raising Flour
This is a type of all-purpose wheat flour that has a chemical raising agent added to it. Usually, if you’re baking Cookies or Pancakes; this is a perfect flour to use because it already has some raising agent in it.
However, when you’re baking Cakes, you might have to add a little bit more baking powder when mixing your cake because sometimes when you use self rising when baking cakes – it may not always give you satisfactory results. What I would advise, if you’re using self-raising flour, for every one cup of flour, add 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder when it comes to some of the cakes. Please do triple-test for your specific recipes to ensure best results.
3. Bread Flour/Baker’s Flour
This is a type of commercial wheat flour that’s used by Bakeries that are mass-producing breads & other yeast products. This type of wheat flour has high protein content (higher gluten content), which makes it very effective when used for yeast products; the texture of the products will be very elastic and stretchy.
In Kenya especially, or at least in East Africa, it’s usually sold in 50kg bags, so usually you need to buy in bulk. There is maybe only one company (Maisha Millers) – who produce & package in 2Kg packets and bales, for the high protein flour.
4. Gluten-free Flour
Another popular niche that has really grown is gluten-free baking. A lot of the times, for this type of baking – you want to make sure that you bake your bread, cakes or cookies with a flour that has no gluten in it.
Gluten is a protein that forms when you add water to wheat flour. There are some people who are allergic to gluten and if you have that kind of condition, you will start looking for flours that you can substitute in your baking that don’t have any gluten.
Some of the gluten-free flours you can use are Almond flour, you may have heard of that. It is made of almond nuts that have been dried & grounded.
Another one you can use is Rice flour because rice doesn’t have any gluten. This is made by grinding dry rice grains.
Another type of grain flour you can use for your gluten-free baking is Millet Flour or Sorghum flour, these types of flours can be used for gluten-free baking as well.
My advice always though, is to always experiment and test them out; some of the flours may never really give you the same exact result as baking with wheat flour – but some of them do come pretty close.
You can also search in food stores & major Cake supplies shops, there are actually brands that sell gluten-free flours for baking. If you also search for those, you can find them as well.
5. Cake Flour
In East Africa or in Kenya, most of the time, it’s not easy to find cake flour being sold in smaller packages. Though some wheat flour millers do package and sell cake flour for medium to large bakeries in larger bags/sacks.
For home bakers and small-scale bakers; you can make your own Cake flour.
How to make Cake Flour: measure out one cup of all-purpose flour, scoop out 2 tablespoons from the 1 cup measure and replace with two tablespoons with corn starch. Adding the corn starch; reduces the gluten content in the all purpose wheat flour and that gives you a nice cake flour you can use for baking moist & fluffy cakes. Using Cake flour in your cake baking will give you good results overall; really soft cakes that have a very nice crumb (inner part of a cake).
6. Boxed Cake Mixes/Pre-mixes
Even though these are generally a mix of flour and other ingredients, I do want to mention these types of flours. You can find these in supermarkets and they’re dry ingredients that are ready to mix in with other liquid ingredients to make a cake.
Please note that cake box mixes and Cake pre-mixes are not wheat flour by itself. Usually, they have flour, some raising agent, maybe some dry/powder flavoring, maybe a preservative & other chemical improvers. How to use Cake boxes or Cake Pre-mixes: you add some liquid (e.g. water or milk), eggs and depending on the mix, you may add a types of fat or oil; mix to make a batter – which you then pour into a cake pan and bake.
7. Whole Wheat Flour/Atta Wheat Flour/Brown Bread Flour
This is supposed to be a healthier version of wheat flour that really doesn’t have the husks removed, and it usually looks brown, right? You can use that if you’re looking for a healthier option and it can actually be used mainly for bread. It’s really good for bread and it can also sometimes be used for cake. If you’re looking for a healthier option of wheat flour, you can use brown bread flour, you can use atta flour, you can use whole wheat flour.
Please do note you have to experiment with them because each of them give you different results. This type of flour has the least amount of gluten, so if you’re making cakes or cake might not rise as much and it might not give you the same exact texture. You need to know, every time you use something that has less gluten, it’s gonna give you a different result. If you’re looking for healthier options, it’s a really good option to go with.
To recap, the types of flours used for baking are;
- All-purpose flour
- Self-raising flour
- Bread flour/Baker’s flour
- Gluten-free flour
- Cake flour
- Boxed cake mixes/Pre-mixes
- Whole wheat flour/Atta wheat flour/Brown bread flour
I hope this post has been really helpful to you. Please do leave a comment if you have any questions on the types of flours used for baking.