Ingredients Series: Flour

I hear from people all the time, "I'm not good at baking." It's usually because they baked something once and it didn't turn out so they lose confidence. It's understandable. Baking is about measuring and science and that can be tricky if you are a free-flowing savory cook. Maybe it was the recipe, maybe it was an honest mistake along the way or maybe it had something to do with the ingredients you were using. In pastry school we were taught in-depth about a variety of key baking ingredients - how to handle them and what they do in a recipe. We even got scientific with molecular reactions between ingredients (but don't worry, I won't bore you with all that). So over the next several weeks I'm going to go in-depth about ingredients to help YOU become a better baker. When you understand the ingredients and what they do, baking becomes that much easier. When something doesn't turn out the way you want it to (because that happens even to us pastry chefs), you'll be able to diagnose the problem and start thinking up solutions. My first installment into my "Ingredients Series" is all about FLOUR! What do you know about flour? What is it and where does it come from? What's the difference between flour types? Let's find out! Flour comes from wheat. The three parts of wheat are the bran, germ and endosperm (yep, you read that word correctly). The wheat is harvested, cleaned, tempered, ground and sifted. The type of flour you use will determine the amount of protein (aka gluten) in your baked good. What's the difference between bleached and unbleached flour? Bleaching simply removes the yellow color on the kernel and speeds up aging. Unbleached flour is aged naturally (which is typically better for breads). What does flour do? It gives your baked good structure. It absorbs liquids and binds ingredients together. It also affects the shelf-life and gives some nutrition. When a recipe says to mix only until the flour is incorporated that is because over-mixing will make dough tougher and develop more gluten. The main flour you use and will see on the shelves is all-purpose flour. And as the name implies, it is all-purpose... for the most part. I use this in almost all of my baking. This type of flour provides about 10% protein as compared to a bread flour which has about 12%. What does this mean for your baked good? Well, if you use a bread flour for your brownies, it will be a tougher brownie as compared to if you use all-purpose. So what about cake flour? That has less protein - somewhere around 8%. This makes your cakes softer and more tender. If you compare the texture of a bread (sturdy) and of a cake (fragile) it's the flour that has created those two different structures. Now. that being said, many people, including myself, use all-purpose flour in their cakes because it is easier to find and often works just fine. However if you go to a high-end bakery, that won't be the case. So if the recipe calls for a specific type of flour, follow it! Have additional questions about flour? Comment on this post or e-mail me at! #flour #baking #educations #learn #bake #recipe #bakingingredientblogseries

© 2019 by Jenna Miller. Proudly created with

  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • goodreads logo
  • E-mail