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All about Flour: All Purpose, White, Wheat

Posted October 4, 2017 in Informational by Lewis Waite
When you are putting the time and energy into baking you want the result to be perfect. There can be some confusion about which flour to buy for your project. This guide is to help you find the right flour (Bread, Pastry, or All Purpose, Whole Wheat or White) for your personal needs. Please let us know if you have any questions.
Farmer Ground Flour: A Note About Our Trusted Supplier
Most flours that you see in the grocery store, even organic flours, are milled by commercial companies that process products in large quantities. Farmer Ground Flour, based in Trumansburg, NY, is what is called a `micro-mill;’ that is, they produce as much flour in a year as a large commercial company would in a week. This small batch process allows for the grains to be carefully selected and guided through a custom pink-granite milling system designed to retain the integrity of the endosperm, germ, and bran of the seed or kernel. They are staffed by a team of workers who care about the quality of their products and oversee the farming and milling process with diligence and a sincere commitment to a sustainable grain economy. They have taken the mystery out of buying flour as we can trust their local, organic, stoneground products are not outsourced or bleached with harmful chemicals. We have chosen Farmer Ground Flour as our supplier because we want to bring the best quality stoneground flours to you and support a sustainable flour economy instead of a consolidated corporate industry. We know you will enjoy Farmer Ground Flour as much as we do! We store this flour in our cooler to preserve the proteins, but you can keep it at room temp and use within a few months.
Bread Flour
Bread flour has a higher protein percentage than most flours which, as its name suggests, makes it perfect for baking bread.  The higher the protein percentage is the higher the gluten content will be. Gluten will mix with water and the air bubbles formed when kneading create long grainy strands which make that desirable chewy texture perfect for a beautifully baked loaf of bread. Bread flour can also be used for a chewy pizza crust or dipping pita.  If you are in a pinch it can be replaced with All Purpose flour, however, Bread Flour is the optimal choice.
Pastry Flour
Pastry flour has a much lower protein content than Bread flour, usually around 8%. This means that using pastry flour will create a baked good that has shorter gluten strands. This is a desirable quality when you are creating a tender, fluffy, flaky or crumbly treat. The lower protein content means less gluten, which will not collect as many air bubbles and will not gain that chewy texture when rising. Pastry flour is perfect for sweet bars, pastries, cakes, and scones, as well as many other delectable treats. It can be replaced with all purpose flour for projects like cookies and pancakes, where a slight chewy texture is alright. When you are working hard to make the perfect scone or flaky pie crust, however, pastry flour is the way to go.
All Purpose Flour
All purpose flour is the perfect thing to keep in your cupboard if you don’t bake that often. It can replace bread and pastry flours for most projects.  It also tends to last a bit longer than bread flour because the milling process removes the germ, or heart of the grain, which contains the oils which will eventually cause the flour to expire. The protein content for all purpose flour is right between pastry and bread flour so you get a mix of stability and tenderness making it perfect to work with for most projects.
The difference Between Whole Wheat and White Wheat Flours
Whole wheat generally means that all three parts of the seed or kernel (endosperm, germ, and bran) is ground into flour. White wheat means that the bran and germ have been removed leaving only the starchy endosperm.  Both options have their good qualities and choosing between them really depends on the type of baking project you plan to begin. Whole wheat is known to be a healthier option because the bran and germ contain most of the grain’s nutritious value, including minerals, fiber, and oils. Whole wheat has a darker color, more protein, and more natural flavor. The higher protein means more gluten which makes a sturdier flour, not very suitable for extremely delicate baking (see the difference between bread and pastry flour above). When the bran and germ are removed the starchy endosperm remains and has a light and delicate nature. White flour will often last a bit longer than whole wheat because the germ contains the oils which will eventually cause the flour to turn. Although white flour loses some nutrition it is very easy to work with and is perfect to keep in the freezer or pantry as it will last while you decide what and when to bake.  We offer both whole wheat and white or half-white options for most of our flours.  Bread flour is our heartiest flour, with the option of whole wheat (extra hearty) or half white (also known as European or brown flour). Pastry flour is our lightest flour, with the option of whole wheat or white (lightest and most delicate).  And all purpose flour stands between the two, with the option of whole wheat or white.


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