I know a lot of people who like to bake. That is: they like to take a box, mix or package of something, dump it into a bowl and mix it with two eggs and a cup of water or oil. I think it’s a great start but if you want to get technical, it isn’t really baking.
It’s assembly. Preparation.
Unless you’re altering the mix or product to be more innovative (think: Cake Pops) it’s hardly the same activity as getting down and dirty with a bag of flour and a few pounds of butter.
I didn’t mean for that to sound inappropriate.
This blog is a family place.
If you’ve ever avoided the Baking Needs aisle in favor something boxed, bagged or frozen because you were intimidated by shelf after shelf of flour at the grocery store, then consider this a personal letter from me to you.
A key ingredient in any dough, crust, bread or pasty, flour comes in many sizes, colors and packages.
Here are a few of the types of flour that almost – if not always – live on the shelves in my cabinet.
The most common type of flour, all-purpose, is milled from the heart of the wheat berry, which holds the lightest color and richest, gluten-producing protein. You can use all-purpose flour in most recipes, so try it in some unique ones like brie and chive biscuits or peach crumb bars.
Whole Wheat Flour
Well known for its nutritional properties, whole wheat flour is milled from the entire grain (including the bran, germ, and endosperm). Since the entire wheat berry is used, the result is flour with a heavier texture and darker color. Start with a super easy recipe for whole grain wheat sandwich bread or whole wheat beer bread.
Though many recipes that call for cake flour are easily doable with all-purpose flour (hence the “all-purpose” in its name), cake flour has a lower protein content that will lend to a lighter crumb and a moister cake. If you’re ready to get your hands dirty with cake flour, start with a vanilla layer cake or olive oil lemon cake.
Though it looks very similar to all-purpose flour, it’s made from a hard, high-protein wheat with more gluten strength than it’s counterpart. Because it often produces a lighter texture and finer crumb, it’s a great choice for no-knead refrigerator bread.
White Whole Wheat Flour
Milled from the high-gluten producing hard white wheat berry, white whole wheat flour has all the nutrition of the whole wheat berry but a milder flavor and lighter color. It produces baked goods with texture lighter than whole wheat flour so for discerning palates, it’s a great way to eat more whole grains.