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Flour Primer

All-Purpose vs. Cake vs. Pastry vs. Bread

All-purpose, cake, bread, pastry....there are so many different kinds of flour! What really is the difference?


When you are talking about white flour, the only thing that separates them is the amount of protein.

All-Purpose: 9 - 11%

Bread: 11 - 13%

Cake: 9%

Pastry: 8%

Are they interchangeable? Yes, but it depends on what you are making.

Remember this:

Protein + Water = Gluten

So the higher the protein content, the higher the gluten and the stretchier the dough consistency. So for most items you make, all-purpose flour will work just fine.

If you are making bread from scratch you will get a better texture if you use the bread flour, but for muffins and cookies, all-purpose.

Self-rising vs. All-purpose

Some recipes call for self-rising flour which has leavening agents already combined throughout the flour, baking powder and salt. Many southern biscuit recipes call for it!

You can easily make your own flour if you combine:

1 1/2 TSP baking powder

1/2 TSP salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

Whole Wheat vs. Unbleached

One hundred percent whole wheat flour is made from hulled red wheat grain.

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