If you are a baker or simply a home cook who uses flour for thickening gravies or coating foods for frying, you know that flour in all its many guises is a kitchen staple. You probably pick up a bag of flour fairly regularly, but with so many choices on the market, what should you look for?
Types of Flour
Perhaps the best news for bakers who want a quality baked good with a delicate texture is the arrival of unbleached white whole wheat flours on market shelves. Ground from white whole wheat, these flours have all the nutritional benefits of the standard whole wheat flours but without their earthy flavor and the crumbly texture they impart to baked goods. Using white whole wheat flour, gradually at first if you wish, helps boost the health value of home-baked goods, from waffles to muffins.
Unless you bake breads or cakes and need specific bread or cake flours, you should choose an all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached and enriched—and from organic wheat—for most baking methods. Whole wheat flour milled from red wheat berries with the bran and germ intact provides needed nutrients, but the flour tends to turn rancid fast.
Other useful—and nutritious—flours include rye flour, oat flour, and soy flour. Note that soy flour is not used as the main flour in a recipe; it is only added as a way to supplement the protein content of baked goods, such as bread, and to provide a nutty taste and darker color.