When you buy flour online, do you struggle to decide on the best type for your recipes? For example, which flour is best for flatbreads? This question stumps most people who just assume one flour works great for all types of baking and other food preparation. Below, we list some of the most popular types of flour and narrow the field to the best choice for flatbreads.
What makes flour types so different from each other?
The key difference from one flour to the next is the protein content. Hard wheat flour is a high-protein variety with a content of 10 to 14 percent protein. Soft wheat flour made of low-protein wheat has only five to 10 percent protein. The higher the protein, the more gluten in the flour. Gluten is the strength factor that gives baked goods specific structure and texture.
Whichever variety you choose, save money when you buy organic flour online. Buying online makes shopping more convenient and provides a broader range of options than most brick and mortar stores.
When it comes to baking, most of us use all-purpose flour. This kitchen staple is a mix of soft and hard wheats. This combination gives the flour a mid-range protein content of 10 to 12 percent. The moderate protein percentage also makes it highly versatile. You can bake cookies, pancakes and pie crusts using all-purpose flour and expect great results. Ideally, you use all-purpose flour for your cookies, bread, muffins, pancakes, pie crusts, biscuits, pasta and pizza dough. You can use this flour for flatbreads but will get better results from other types, below.
Organic White Spelt Flour
Organic white spelt flour is a highly flavorful variety that has had the bran and germ removed. The absence of the bran and germ make this flour very light and excellent for use in baked goods or as a substitution for all-purpose flour. The texture is much like wheat flour but more water-soluble and easier to digest. But you must be careful to not over-mix or over-knead this flour as doing so makes your baked goods crumbly. When baking, use organic white spelt for breads, cakes, pastries, pasta and sourdough. You can also use it to make some of the healthiest flatbread.
Cake flour has a low protein percentage in comparison to all other types of flour. At only five to eight percent protein, cake flour contains less gluten and less texture. This type is also more absorbent. As a result, you can expect highly moist baked goods, such as the cakes for which it is mostly used. Use cake flour for cakes of all types, particularly sponges and angel food. It also makes great muffins and biscuits but is not good for flatbreads.
Pastry flour is a step between cake flour and all-purpose flour, in that it has an eight to nine percent protein content. This flour creates flaky, tender pastries and cookies. It is best for pie crusts, cakes, biscuits, pancakes, bread sticks, cookies and muffins, but not for flatbreads.
Bread flour is the heartiest of all types of flour. It contains a high protein content of 12 to 14 percent. Its high gluten content works great for yeast breads, enabling proper rising. Bread flour makes chewier baked goods, making it excellent for artisan breads, pretzels, pizza dough, yeast breads, bagels and flatbreads.
Organic Rye Flour
Organic rye flour is high enough in gluten to make dense, crusty, flavorful bread without requiring yeast. Because of its fruity flavor, you can also use it for delightful scones and fruited cakes. Compared to other flours, it is high in fiber and other nutrients, such as vitamin B. It is great for people trying to lose weight and encourages better blood sugar control, heart health and digestive health. This flour is excellent for rye flatbread.
Organic Whole Wheat Flour
White flour contains only the milled endosperm of wheat kernels. But organic whole wheat flour includes the milled endosperm, germ and bran, all three components of wheat kernels. This flour is high in protein content, at about 13 to 14 percent. However, the added germ and bran challenge the flour’s gluten, making dense baked goods and highly sticky dough. It is important to note that the presence of germ in this flour makes it more perishable than white flour. If you buy flour online, bear in mind it has a shelf-life of only about three months and requires more frequent replenishment than white flours. Wheat flour makes great cookies, bread, pasta, pancakes, pizza dough and flatbreads.
Gluten-free flour does not contain wheat, the source of gluten. Instead, this flour is made of ingredient bases like rice, potato, corn, buckwheat, tapioca, quinoa, nuts or sorghum. Because gluten is the factor in bread that makes it chewy, gluten-free flour typically contains an additive called xanthan gum for chewiness. It is important to note that gluten-free flour is not always equally substituted for white flour. It takes some finesse or substitution guidance for your chosen recipe. Gluten-free flour is best for cookies, cakes, bread, pancakes and muffins. It works well for flatbreads, too.
Almond organic flour is a fine flour made from blanched, skinned, ground and sifted almonds. It is a gluten-free options with low carbs and high fiber. It also contains healthy fats. Almond flour easily substitutes for wheat flour in a ratio of 1:1. But it requires addition of more baking powder, baking soda or other rising agent because almond flour is heavier than wheat flour. Almond flour works well for pasta, crackers, thin crust pizzas and flatbreads.
Italian-style flour, also called 00 flour, comes from the hardest wheat variety. It features 11 to 12 percent protein. This flour is very easy to roll out to form very thin doughs, thanks to an extremely fine texture. This organic flour works great for making pasta, crackers, couscous, thin crust pizza dough and flatbreads.