The discussion about baking flours, aims at two purposes: firstly, to help people have an overview of different types of baking powder, distinguish between different types of flour. Secondly, it is possible to easily choose the right flour for each cake recipe so that the finished product has the best sensory value and texture, and does not use the wrong type of flour when making cakes.
In baking, the main type of flour for making European cakes is wheat flour. Whether making bread or cakes, they are all made from wheat flour, unlike Asian cakes (Vietnamese sticky rice cakes, Vietnamese cakes, etc from rice flour)
| Different types of flour can have different colors – source photo from internet
There are many ways to classify flour. However, when choosing flour for baking, it is often based on the protein content of the flour. The higher the protein, the "healthier", when kneading the dough, the protein will convert into stronger and tougher gluten fibers, helping to create a firm texture for the cake. Here are the main types of flour by protein content:
1. High-gluten flour
This is the powder that contains the highest protein content, about 14%. When mixed flour with water, it will create very strong, elastic and chewy gluten fibers, suitable for making cakes that need toughness and crunch such as pizza, gagel, crispy bread...
2. Bread flour
Bread dough (or 13th flour) is made from durum wheat flour. The powder contains 12-13.5% protein. Therefore, its gluten content is quite high, so this flour is suitable for making bread in general. When mixed with water/milk combined with the right kneading technique, the dough will begin to have elasticity as gluten fibers are formed. Thanks to this process, the bread will become more elasticity and fragrant.
Bread flour includes 3 types:
White bread flour
Whole wheat bread flour
Organic wheat powder
3. Cake flour
Cake flour (wheat flour number 8 or low protein flour or low gluten flour) is a flour made entirely from soft wheat flour. Therefore, it contains a high starch content but only a low protein content of 6-8%, which is also the "weakest" flour. When viewed with the naked eye, this cake flour looks very smooth, silky and has tiny particles. When kneading the dough, the gluten fibers form weak, do not make the cake tough.
Cake flour is suitable for cakes with a soft, light texture, fluffy or cakes with a lot of sugar and large liquid in the recipe. Therefore, white, soft, light cakes like sponge and cookies when made from this flour are often very soft and easy to eat.
4. Pastry flour
Pastry Flour with a protein content of about 9%, is a flour made from soft wheat flour, slightly stronger than 8th flour. At the same time, the pastry dough has just enough elasticity to hold the butter layers, so it is suitable for making puff pastry dough or making croissants, cookies or pie crusts, tarts.
5. Self – rising flour
This is a powder with a protein content of 8 - 9%. The ingredients of this flour will include flour, baking powder and a little salt.
You can also make your own Self-rising flour by adding about 1 ½ teaspoon of baking powder with ¼ teaspoon of salt, then adding 1 cup (130g) of all-purpose flour and mixing well.
However, each type of cake requires a different amount of baking powder, even some cakes do not use baking powder at all, not to mention when pre-mixing baking powder into the dough will be more difficult to preserve. So if we see the word "self-rising flour" on the packaging, we should not use it.
Many of you may still wonder which group of flours "all-purpose flour" belongs to which types of flour? True to its name, it is made to be easily used for many purposes, so it has a slightly lower protein content than bread flour and higher than cake flour, ranging from 9-11% protein.
When starting to make cakes, it is only necessary to distinguish the flours according to the protein content to avoid the risk of spoiling the cake. In the process of improving skills, people will gradually learn more about other types of flour used in making diet cakes such as: whole wheat flour, black flour, ... let's learn about these flours gradually. and Asian cake flours in the following discussion.
Tran Thi Nhung