Bread Machine Flour
Flour is used for many different types of baking. Each type of bread flour can be used for specific dishes, although some flour types are used universally. Because of the nutritional value and its ability to be added to many different types of food, flour is a key ingredient and a must-have for around the home. Flour is a powder that is comprised of grains such as roots or seeds. Because the materials used to make flour are found all around the world, flour is used in many basic foods, such as bread. This makes flour an important ingredient culturally as well as a necessity in many places. Wheat flour is an important type of food and is included in many dishes because of the nutrients and its flexibility makes it an excellent addition to flour. Whole-wheat flour uses the germ, endosperm, and bran of the wheat, whereas most types of flour use only pieces of the kernel along with other ingredients. Whole wheat is often blended into other types of flours, such as all-purpose flour, because of its high nutritional value, yet lower shelf life. There are two types of wheat flour: hard and soft. Hard wheat is used to make products such as bread. Hard wheat is also very high in protein when compared to soft wheat. This is why soft wheat is used more in pastries, rather than in breads. Hard wheat also has higher gluten content, giving dough more extensibility.
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There is also bleached and unbleached flour that are both used for different reasons. A whitening agent, deemed unhealthy by some, is added to the bleached flour after the flour has been refined. This effects the gluten development within the flour, taking away from some of the flour’s natural nutrients. The bleached flour is often used in cakes and fluffier pastries, but aside from the white color and lack of nutrients there is little difference between bleached and unbleached flour. By forgoing the bleaching process, unbleached flour retains many of the wholesome nutrients from the wheat and stays its natural yellow or brown color.
The shelf life of bread machine flour all depends on how it is stored. Keeping the flour away from sunlight in a cool, dark place will allow the flour to stay fresh for about six months. Freezer storage can extend this life by several years. This storage is especially important when using whole-wheat flour, because it contains many natural oils and thus spoils quicker when left in the pantry or at room temperature. Because of the seed and wheat components in the flour, the color will change over time and a smell will develop.If color change or smells occur, the flour should be discarded. This is also why old and new flour packages should not be combined. There are also many different combinations of ingredients that make different blends of flour. Each one is used for a different type of baking or provides different types of nutrients. Here is a list of some of the more common types of flour:
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Is a blended wheat flower with a slightly lower protein content. Usually, all-purpose flour combines both hard and soft wheats in order to create a flour that can be used in the majority of household baking. This is also one of the more inexpensive, long lasting types of flour
Is also known as strong flour, is a hard wheat flour usually produced in the springtime. This flour contains a very high protein content making it perfect for bread or other basic foods
Bread Machine Flour
Is very similar to bread flour with the exception of the citric acid content. The bread machine flour’s citric acid aids the dough in retaining some of its structure.
Brown Rice Flour
Is used in many wheat flour dishes as a gluten-free alternative. The flour is created from un-hulled rice kernels, making it a whole food.
Is ground from buckwheat for its high nutritional value and unique flavour. The flour is common in many traditional Asian dishes. This is another flour that can be used as a gluten-free alternative in many different dishes.
Is a type of soft wheat, white flour that is used for baking cookies and cakes. There is very little protein in cake flour, which gives cakes their light and fluffy qualities. The flour is always bleached, giving it a unique texture perfect for cake baking.
Is different than the UK term “cornflour” which is cornstarch. The flour is made from cornmeal and is used in some breads and tortillas. Corn Flour is often blended with other flours to create a reduced gluten content but retain flavor. This is common for cake and pastry baking.
Is a type of flour that has natural nutrients placed back into the blend after processing. Calcium, iron, and B vitamins are often placed in the enriched mixtures in attempts to match the nutritional value of the unrefined version, creating a healthier product.
Refers to many different types of flour that include the endosperm of the wheat in their blends. Gluten adds to the quality of the dough, giving products such as bread a lighter taste. Generally, gluten flour is lower in carbohydrates and higher in protein. This flour type is often added to other flours to create low-carb blends. Check out some of the great gluten free flour here or bread machines specifically designed for making gluten free bread.
Is used mostly in sauces because it is precooked, making it quick and easy to work with.
Is milled from wheat grown under specific standards that prohibit synthetic pest control and artificial fertilizers. The processing only allows the flour to come in contact with foods that have been produced in the same way, reducing the amount of unnatural chemicals found in the flour. Check out organic flour here.
Is a flour that has a high protein content when compared with cake flour. Pastry flour comes in white and whole-wheat varieties that are suitable for pastry, pie, and tart baking.
Is a special blend of premixed flour that adds a slight amount of baking powder and salt to the mixture, creating flour that rises slowly.
Is produced from a specific type of wheat called spelt. While used in some traditional dishes, it is not very common in modern cooking.
White Rice Flour
Is produced by removing the bran and the germ from rice and grinding the result into a fine powder. The flour is often used as a thickening agent and is popular for use in Asian noodles. There is no gluten in this type of flour and it is perfect for sauces, puddings, and cake baking.
Whole Wheat Flour
Uses the entire part of the wheat berry, including the bran, endosperm, and germ. This type of flour is very common in baking for its high nutritional value. The whole wheat flour can be bleached or unbleached and used in a variety of baking projects.