There are several different factors to consider when selecting a flour. Even though it is one of the most basic and simple ingredients in many recipes, there are tons of different flours to choose from. They all have different nutritional profiles and behaviors when used in baking or cooking. For example, The Learning Channel says that the way a flour performs in baking recipes is determined by its gluten content. The more educated you are about all the different types of flour and what sets them apart from each, the better choices you will make in the kitchen.
Best Flour For Your Health
- Spelt – This ancient grain hasn’t been adulterated and refined by inbreeding like common wheat. Humans have been eating it for at least 6,000 years. It is also a great source of vitamin B12, manganese, thiamin, niacin, and copper. Spelt is also much easier to digest than regular wheat.
- Buckwheat – Buckwheat is actually a fruit seed, similar to rhubarb and sorrel. The flavonoids in buckwheat have been linked to lowering the risk of developing high blood pressure and cholesterol, act as antioxidants, and protect against heart disease. Some studies have also indicated that buckwheat has a positive effect on blood sugar.
- Millet – Because it is rich in magnesium, which has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack, millet is a very heart healthy grain. Magnesium has also been shown to lower high blood pressure, help reduce the frequency of migraines and the severity of asthma attacks.
Best Flour For The Job
- Bread – For a crusty bread, you should choose a flour with a high protein content. Flours with more protein are going to create stronger products with a harder consistency. Bread flour and whole wheat flour are usually higher protein. If you do use only whole wheat flour, your bread will be very dense. You can cut it with all-purpose flour if it is too dense.
- Cookies and Cakes – For most pastry items, cookies, and cakes, a “softer”, lower protein flour is recommended. This flour will result in a more delicate product. Also, when you are baking goods with a high recipe of sugar to flour, softer flours like cake flour, pastry flour, and self-rising flour will hold their rise better and will be less likely to collapse.
Though these are some generally accepted guidelines there is nothing to say you can’t break the rules every once in a while. Experiment a little and find the best flour for all your favorite recipes!
- “Baking Flour Facts”, TLC
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