Sunday, July 12, 2009

A [Couple] Dozen Flours

So, over the past couple days, I had been flitting back and forth with a couple of my pals on Twitter about pantry contents. A lot of people are taking part in something called the "Penny Pinching Pantry Raid", begun by Susan from "She's Becoming DoughMESStic". While there's no way I'd ever be able to participate in the impressive undertaking they're doing - only $100 for groceries in the entire month (we spend twice that in a week!), I did realize that it had been a mighty long time since my baking cabinet had been purged and organized. So Friday, with the gracious help of Andrew, I pulled out everything from the top section of the cupboard, documented it all, organized it and re-assembled the shelves. I found some interesting stuff - like the fact that I was hoarding no less than 25 varieties of flour! Beth Sheresh, who writes at KitchenMage and also at A Year in Bread, offered to do a write up of everything I found flour-wise, so I compiled this list of what I have in my pantry right now, a bit about each, as well as what they’re good for.

Want to see photos of each flour I've got? Pop on over to Flickr!

  1. All-Purpose: A blended wheat flour of hard and soft wheat berry endosperm, with the bran and germ removed. Also known as “plain” or “general purpose”, suitable for all kinds of recipes.
  2. Whole Wheat: Ground from the complete wheat kernel. Nutty flavour and a denser texture when compared to all-purpose flour.
  3. Nutri-Blend: Developed and sold by Robin Hood, this is a blend of white flour and wheat bran. It tastes and behaves like white flour in cooking and baking while supplying the same amount of fibre as whole wheat flour.
  4. Cake: Wheat flour, usually bleached, with the least amount of gluten (protein). Best for light, delicate products such as sponge cakes and cookie batters.
  5. Whole Wheat Pastry: Milled from soft wheat berries and containing most of the germ and bran, has a fine texture suitable for making cakes and cookies more nutritious without sacrificing flavour.
  6. Red Fife: A whole-grain flour milled from the organically grown heritage wheat that is the genetic parent to wheat grown in North America. Jamie Kennedy’s trademark flour for breads in his restaurant.
  7. Barley: Fine-ground whole barley grains. Can be used to replace part of the flour in recipes for a varied flavour and texture (particularly good in chocolate – based recipes). Can also be used in cooking applications like roux.
  8. Dark Rye: A grind of rye berries where both bran and germ are kept, making for a dark colour, coarse texture and stronger sour flavour. Often used for pumpernickel and sourdough bread.
  9. Kamut: Ground from Kamut brand grain, closely related to wheat and is often considered a specialty grain. Golden colour, low gluten content and nutty flavour.
  10. 12 Grain: Manufactured by King Arthur Flour from coarse ground wheat, rye, corn, rice, oats, spelt, barley, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, and sorghum. Adds flavour and texture to whole grain bread and muffins, as well as being wonderful in oatmeal cookies.
  11. Semolina: Made from the endosperm of Durum Wheat, usually used in pasta and pizza crusts due to the elasticity from gluten.
  12. Gluten: This is flour with the starch and bran removed. Added to whole wheat breads and bagels for better texture, can also be used to make seitan.

Gluten Free

  1. White Rice: Milled from kernels of white rice. It is typically used in Western countries for people who suffer from gluten intolerance (celiac).
  2. Brown Rice: The whole-grain version of white rice flour, with the rice bran included.
  3. Glutinous Rice: This very fine, sticky flour is milled from mochi rice or glutinous rice. Usually used for thickening, can be frozen without separating like cornstarch. Also used in daifuku pastry and mochi balls.
  4. Buckwheat: Ground from the seed of a plant related to rhubarb rather than a grain, this is available in either light or dark forms. Does not contain gluten and it is often mixed with other, gluten containing flours for baking and cooking.
  5. Potato: Ground from whole potatoes (unlike potato starch), used to add better flavour and texture to breads (about ¼ cup per recipe adds a higher rise and softer crumb, like potato water) and can be used to boost potato flavour in soups and sauces.
  6. Tapioca: A superfine grind of the starch from cassava tubers, and is used to thicken puddings, soups and pie fillings as well as functioning as an egg replacer in certain vegan mixtures. Should not be confused with tapioca pearls or quick cooking tapioca used in puddings.
  7. Corn: Slightly sweet, fine flour ground from yellow corn, can be used with wheat flour to make cornbread, muffins, pancakes, polenta, and tortillas. In mixtures with other gluten free binders and grains it is also a mainstay in gluten free breads.
  8. Sorghum: Ground from milo, a grass crop popular in African and Indian climates. Gluten free, nutty and semi-sweet, good for adding flavour to spice cakes as a blend with all purpose flour and as an ingredient in whole wheat pasta dough.
  9. Teff: A very nutrient dense gluten free flour milled from tiny grains (each 1/150th the size of a wheat berry). Tastes like roasted cashews or hazelnuts, is mostly protein and fibre and is delicious in pancakes and crepes as well as in chocolate desserts and thickening rich brown sauces and gravies.
  10. De-Fatted Soy: A concentrated source of quality protein and amino acids with a minimum amount of fat, ground from whole soy beans. Excellent in any baking application where there are extra protein concerns nutritionally, though as it is gluten free no more than ¼ of the total flour should be substituted. Taste is fairly neutral though it can be detected by sensitive palates, so stronger flavoured recipes are best to start with.
  11. Chickpea: A very strong tasting and smelling flour ground from dried chickpeas or garbanzo beans, high in protein and relatively nutrient dense and “creamy” flavoured. In flatbreads it is a good accompaniment to curries and also adds an interesting flavour to banana loaves.
  12. Coconut: Ground from pure, dehydrated coconut meat, then de-fatted to make a gluten free, low carbohydrate, high protein and high fibre powder. Delicious added to recipes where a slightly sweet coconut flavour and nutrients are desired without the texture of shredded meat or the fat of coconut milk. A favourite in carrot and pumpkin cakes, or added to the custard mixture of coconut ice cream.
  13. Mesquite: Ground from the seed pods of the mesquite plant. Good for dredging chicken or pork cuts in before grilling for a smoky flavour or added instead of breadcrumbs to burger patties. Mix the gluten free mesquite with other flours to use in baking, particularly sweet goods like cookies and cakes. Excellent in conjunction with dark chocolate or berry flavours as it has a mocha / coconut like aura.


  1. Damn, I thought I had a lot of flours but I have less than ten. My imaginary hat is off to you!

  2. Ok that is a ton of flours. I think I just have unbleached all-purpose, wheat, cake & masa

  3. Soooooo... the fort was kept barricaded using flour sacks during the Atkins revolution, huh?
    What are you going to do with all that? ::awe::

  4. My oh my Sara. I was going to say I have 2 types of flour in my cupboards but have upped it to 4 with the addition of the cornflour:D

  5. Wow - you are the flour queen!
    I am also so impmressed by the Pantry Raid project. It is inspiring!


Thanks for the feedback!