All-purpose flour is a staple ingredient in baking. It’s used to create bread, cakes, cookies, muffins, pancakes, waffles, pizza crust, etc.
But is all-purpose flour the same thing as plain flour? Are there differences between the two? If so, what are they?
In this article, I’ll explain the difference between all-purpose flour and plain flour and give you some tips on using each type of flour.
Yes, all-purpose flour is basically just plain old white wheat flour that has been milled into finer particles than wholemeal or self-rising flours.
It can be made from either soft or hard wheat. Soft wheat tends to produce lighter baked goods while high-gluten varieties make for denser products.
All-purpose flour and plain flour are the same things with different names They’re both simply refined white wheat flour.
Let’s quickly have a look at different types of flours.
This is the most common form of flour available today. It contains no added ingredients other than salt and sometimes sugar.
The main purpose of adding these additives is to improve shelf-life by preventing spoilage due to oxidation. However, it also improves flavor when combined with yeast during fermentation.
The name all-purpose suggests that it should work well across many recipes but it doesn’t always perform exactly like we’d expect. For example, if you use too much all-purpose flour then your dough will become very dry and crumbly. This makes sense because all-purpose flour lacks gluten which gives structure to our foods.
Self-raising flour is one where an agent helps raise the pH level of the batter. Baking soda works best here since it reacts with acidity rather than alkalinity.
If you add more than 1 teaspoon per cup of water, however, you risk overmixing and creating tough pastries. You may need to experiment until you find the right balance. Self-rising flour is often found in cake mixes.
Whole grain flour is ground from grains such as rye, oats, barley, spelled, Kamut, triticale, farro, corn, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth, teff, sorghum, and others. These contain nutrients including fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, enzymes, and healthy fats.
They tend to taste better than regular flour and provide extra nutrition. Whole grain flour is usually darker colored than standard all-purpose flour.
You might see terms like "whole wheat" or "stoneground." Stoneground means that the flour was processed through stone mills instead of steel rollers.
Stone grinding produces larger particle sizes compared to roller milling. Roller milling creates smaller particles.
Pastry flour is used primarily for making pie crusts. It adds tenderness and elasticity to pastry doughs. Pastry flour is typically lower in fat content than bread flour.
Furthermore, its higher starch content allows it to absorb moisture easily without becoming sticky. If you want to bake pies, cakes, cookies, etc., try substituting half of the all-purpose flour with pastry flour.
Bread flour is similar to all-purpose flour except that it contains less protein and more bran. Bread flour provides strength and chewiness to bread.
However, it does not rise nearly as fast as all-purpose flour so you’ll need to adjust baking times accordingly. In addition, bread flour has a slightly bitter aftertaste.
Cake flour is made from soft wheat and can be substituted for all-purpose flour in some cases. Cake flour tends to have a denser texture than all-purpose flour. Its high protein content contributes to this density.
It’s important to note that cake flour absorbs liquid quickly while all-purpose flour takes longer to do so. Therefore, you must weigh out the correct amount of each type of flour before mixing them together.
All-purpose flour is great for most baked goods. However, there are certain instances when using other types of flours would yield superior results. Experimentation is key!
I hope this post cleared all your doubts.