Flour - Which flour is best for your recipe...bleached, unbleached, bread or all-purpose?
All flours are not created equal
I just love to bake, I especially love to bake Italian and French bread, bagels, pizza crust and foccasia bread. I have been on an endless quest to find the best flour to make my most masterful loaf of bread ever.
All flours are not created equal and the success or failure of your recipe depends largely on the type of flour you use.
I have made countless mistakes and have taken many notes keeping track of which flour works best with which recipe. Did you ever wonder why last years holiday cookies turned out better than this years? Maybe it was the type of flour that you used. Using bleached rather than unbleached flour in your recipe can make a huge difference.
A couple of popular brand names that are plentiful in most local markets are Gold Medal, Pillsbury and King Arthur. However, if you go online you can purchase just about any kind of flour that you can think of along with all sorts specialty baking goods and kitchen needs.
So that this is not too technical, I have composed this brief and uncomplicated list. The thing to remember is that the higher the protein (gluten) in the flour, the better your results will be in your breads and heartier baked good recipes. And in the same respect, the lower the protein (gluten) in your flour, the more delicate and flakier your pie crust will turn out.
White bleached - all purpose flour is one of the most common types of flour used in the United States. Bleached flour is a softer flour, which has the lowest protein content (gluten), somewhere around 8%. White bleached flour is best used for pie crusts, cakes, cookies, pancakes and some biscuits.
White unbleached - all purpose flour has a higher protein (gluten) content of approximately 11% and is good for baking most muffins, biscuits, biscotti's, and some pizza crusts.
Whole wheat flour does not have a high protein (gluten) content and is often mixed with an all purpose flour in order to 'hold' your recipe together.
White 'Better for Bread' Flour, has a protein (gluten) content of between an actual bread flour and regular unbleached, all-purpose flour. It adds bulk to a recipe and will do in a pinch for a hearty bread but for me it's best used for pizza crust and foccasia breads.
White Bread Flour, is, in my opinion, the very best for making bread and bagels. It has one of the highest protein (gluten) content at approximately 12% to 14% and has a lot of density to it.
Whole Wheat Bread Flour has the same high protein (gluten) content of 12% to 14% and is used to make all types of whole wheat breads, bagels, pizza crust, and biscuits.
This is, by far, not a complete list of all the flours that are available but these are the most commonly used. In the future, I hope to be posting some of my favorite bread, bagel and pizza recipes in my uncoming HUBS.
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