All About Flour

1 Chronicles 23:28 Because their office was to wait on the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of the LORD, in the courts, and in the chambers, and in the purifying of all holy things, and the work of the service of the house of God;

1 Chronicles 23:29 Both for the shewbread, and for the fine flour for meat offering, and for the unleavened cakes, and for that which is baked in the pan, and for that which is fried, and for all manner of measure and size;

1 Chronicles 23:30 And to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD, and likewise at even:

The following question came from one of our viewers.

Good day Southern Gals,
I hope you are cooking up a storm and having a great time doing it. A long time ago, I only knew about self-rising flour. Now that I have been cooking and baking to the tenth degree. I have found many recipes that call for all-purpose flour. I do understand that with all-purpose flour you need to add salt and baking soda and self-rising you don’t have to add salt/baking soda. For example when I make toll-house chocolate chip cookies I use self-rising flour instead of all-purpose flour and they seem okay. But how do I know which flour that I should absolutely use and not vary from recipe instructions. Thanks for your help!
Happy Cooking.

Wow, she really made us do our homework on this one!  We wracked our brains, searched and searched and read several different articles to help us find the perfect answer to her question.

We finally came upon the following article from and thought it had the perfect explanation.

Thank you!


Wheat flour is the backbone of the baked goods we love.

The Two Types of Wheat

There are two types of wheat: hard and soft. The key difference between them is protein content. Hard wheat is higher in protein than soft wheat–and it is the protein that contains the gluten that allows breads and other baked goods to rise.Where wheat is grown can determine protein content: Northwestern U.S. and western Canada produce hard wheat that’s very high in protein, while the southern U.S. states grow a softer wheat with less protein.

All-Purpose Flour

All-purpose flour includes a happy balance of hard and soft flours. And as the name suggests, it is a type of flour that lets you make a wide variety of baked goods–cookies, cakes, muffins, quick breads, biscuits, and pie crusts–without having to stock up on multiple types of flour.One cup of AP flour = 4.5 oz (128 g)

Bread Flour

But with flour, one size doesn’t always fit all. One type of flour is best for baking bread, another type for pastries. Bread, for example, benefits from a high-protein flour.

When combined with water and developed by mixing and kneading, the gluten becomes elastic and stretches around gas bubbles produced by the yeast. When gas bubbles expand in the oven, the gluten goes along for the ride. The result is a nice fat loaf of bread.

Interestingly, of all the grains, wheat is the only one that packs gluten-producing proteins. To rise properly, breads made with other grains (like rye, corn, or oats) must be fortified with wheat flour or gluten.Note: As a home baker, you can ignore language on bread flour labels saying “first clear flour,” “patent flour,” and “high gluten flour.” You’ll be fine with the blend of bread flour in any national brand.One cup of bread flour = 4.8 oz (136 g)

Pastry Flour

Pastry flour is a medium-protein flour that produces tender pie crusts. If you use a flour with too much protein, your pastry can become tough; too little, and the pastry can be brittle and hard to work with. Medium is just right.

In a pinch, you can make your own version of pastry flour by combining one part cornstarch to two parts all-purpose flour.

One cup of pastry flour = 4.25 oz (120 g)

Cake Flour

Cake flour is a lower-protein flour that’s also bleached with chorine, which alters the structure of the starches and fats and makes the flour slightly acidic. Unfortunately, substituting all-purpose flour in recipes that have been specifically formulated for cake flour will not produce happy results. Always sift cake flour before using it in a recipe.

One cup of cake flour = 3.9 oz (111 g)

Whole Wheat Flour

Whole wheat flour contains all of the nutrients found in the wheat kernel and results in dense, hearty baked goods. If 100% whole wheat bread tastes a little bit too healthy for you, try a ratio of half whole wheat, half bread flour.

Note: You might need to adjust your liquids to hydrate the flour fully (use more water if you’re adding whole wheat flour to a recipe, less if you’re substituting bread flour for whole wheat).

One cup of whole wheat flour = 4.25 oz (120 g)

Self-Rising Flour

Self-rising flour is used for quick breads, biscuits, muffins, and pancakes. It already contains baking powder, so don’t need to add any leavening agents.

To make your own self-rising flour, add 1½ tsp baking powder per cup of flour (or 5-7 g of baking powder per 100 g of flour).

Bread Machine Flour

Special bread machine flours are generally just high-protein flours, although some brands might contain dough conditioners like malted barley flour (diastatic malt powder), ascorbic acid, or lecithin.

Bleaching and Bromating
Freshly ground wheat might smell great, but it doesn’t make an optimum loaf: as flour ages, it creates stronger gluten, resulting in a more elastic dough and a lighter loaf. Aging also changes the color of flour from pale yellow to white. Millers have sped up this aging process with chlorine and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) , which also helps the flour look whiter.


One response

  1. Thanks Southern Gals,
    You meet and exceeded in triplicate with your answer to my flour quandary. You are two ladies are so awesome!
    Happy Cooking


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