Types of flour -questions

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dragnlaw

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I've made a fair amount of breads in my time and had never used "Bread Flour". I have too many other uses for regular flour and couldn't justify the purchase of various types. I think I may have once bought Pastry Flour, not sure.
So my question here is - not really for professional bakers per se, but home cooks.

Do you purchase more than one kind of flour?
Which ones and Why?
 
Yes. I have all-porpoise flour for general baking, coating, and thickening. I have bread flour for making bread. I have pastry flour for delicate baked goods. I have Bisquick for pancakes and waffles. I have oat flour I make from old fashioned oats in my food processor for gluten free cooking and baking (my daughter-in-law is on the keto diet).
 
I have AP, bread, whole wheat, rice, 00, potato and buckwheat flours. The bread flour forms more gluten and gives more structure than AP flour. The whole wheat gives a denser texture. The 00 and rice flours are specialty flours and used for specific things like pasta and dumpling doughs. Buckwheat and potato flours are used in specialty breads.

I keep all the flours in the freezer except the AP and bread flours since I use them fairly often so they don't go stale.
 
I have bought pastry flour, semolina, and all purpose flour in the past.

I’ve been curious about tipo double zero flour but have never purchased it.

These day I only buy whole wheat. IMO the whole wheat flour today is ground much finer than the whole wheat flour from the 60s and 70s. Today when I sift whole wheat flour I rarely have any bran or germ left In the bottom of the sifter.

I also have an ancient canister of Wondra bromated flour in the pantry but I wouldn’t bother to replace it when it’s gone.
 
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I have 00 and semolina, which I use for pizza and pasta. Cake flour, almond flour, and AP flour. I used to keep bread flour, but I don't make bread much anymore, so no longer keep it on hand.
 
I recently bought some Bread Flour and the bread's texture/crumb was so much finer than normal. Was almost like Wonder Bread softness at first. Hence my question.

I never really bought it before as it was sold in such small packages that it would hardly have made even half the loaves I used to make. But now I'm starting to see larger bags.

I keep a small amount of Wheat and Rye flours. I use a tablespoon or so with my regular white and peasant breads. I think, once this flour is gone I will stick with the regular AP. Time will tell, need to make a few more loaves to decide.
 
Another question:-

I do pies and cookies but rarely, if ever, cakes.

Do you use your pastry flour for cookies?

I assume one would use it for pies - is the texture of the pie dough really that great a difference? I have great success with Laura Calder's recipe's for structured pie dough and galette's.
I don't do many. So do any of you think it would be any better with pastry dough?
 
@dragnlaw pastry flour is usually the finest grind, the most white, less germ and fiber. It is a smooth less rough flour. I'd use it for a cake, or cookies, or pie crust. I keep some on hand for a white cake, my husband's favorite for his birthday. I might use it to make cookies for a neighbor that is celebrating something. I rarely use it for day-to-day foods. It would probably be great in a pie crust.

I have WW flour, pastry flour, rice flour, oat flour, semolina flour, corn masa and corn starch, tapioca flour, and arrow root. I bake bread regularly, make pizza dough, make pasta, and use many of them as thickeners for gravy, pie, and sauces. It's a good idea to always give your flours a sniff test to make sure it isn't going rancid before using it. Once grains are ground up, they go rancid faster.
 
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Bread flour has a higher protein content than AP flour so when you use it in a bread recipe it develops more gluten than AP flout and the final result should be more toothsome, a little less tender.
 
I've never used pastry flour and I've made lots of cookies. I use AP.
I stopped using AP for the most part and went to all whole wheat flour. There were instances I needed something smoother/finer, and pastry flour is that and the pastry flour I buy doesn't have added vitamins, and is not bromated. The pastry flour I buy includes the germ, bran, and endosperm. It serves the same needs as AP nutrition aside. It's a more natural product.
 
I forgot about the semolina. It's in the freezer too.

You can make a flour similar to cake flour by adding cornstarch. Don't remember the ratio but I've done it before and it works pretty well.
 
AP, bread flour (sometimes), brown flour (cant get whole wheat here)
Then recently I bought rice flour and I always have maizena and sort of semolina (mielie meal).

I use mealie meal to get bread and pizza's easily off my wooden peel.
Rice flour works as well, but I also bought it to start playing around a bit more with Asian dumplings
 
Bread flour has a higher protein content than AP flour so when you use it in a bread recipe it develops more gluten than AP flout and the final result should be more toothsome, a little less tender.
Well, I have to say I found the complete opposite Andy. As said earlier, the crumb is super fine and soft. I understand about the higher protein content and the developing more gluten - just wondered if y'all found a really great difference.
I guess I will have to keep on testing to see which I like best or if I should start keeping separate flours for separate things. My problem is I don't do enough of any one speciality to decide or even often enough of any of them!
 
I always have King Arthur AP and bread flour and White Lily soft self-rising flour for biscuits. I always use bread flour for making bread.

If I make a cake, I often buy some cake flour, but not always.

I just bought some OO, but have t used it yet.

I took a baking class maybe 15 years ago where there was a lengthy explanation of different flours and when and why to use them. I went out and bought pastry flour but haven’t since, as I can’t tell much of a difference between it and cake flour.
 
Well, I have to say I found the complete opposite Andy. As said earlier, the crumb is super fine and soft. I understand about the higher protein content and the developing more gluten - just wondered if y'all found a really great difference.
I guess I will have to keep on testing to see which I like best or if I should start keeping separate flours for separate things. My problem is I don't do enough of any one speciality to decide or even often enough of any of them!
I’m 100% with Andy on this.

I can tell a huge difference in breads baked with bread and AP flour. I only use bread flour for bread.
 
I have countless types of flour, and I won't even try to remember them all for here! As for the bread flour, I used to use more of it, partly for some of the white breads I would make, mostly for dinners, but also to make rye breads with - since they have more gluten, more rye can be used, with the same rise. I use a lot more WW flour now -
I actually get 5 lbs of WW flour from lidl for less than bread flour is selling for anywhere, at least around here. I refuse to pay these prices I see now for bread flour. That ww I get at lidl is actually a relatively high protein ww, making it sort of a ww bread flour! I also add some gluten to many of the rye breads I make, which makes it, along with the hi protein ww flour, as if it had been made with bread flour - yet, it's it's whole grain.

That "fine crumb" you refer to can be changed in a couple of ways, if you are looking for the more open crumb. One, is a higher hydration, and another is the handling the dough, trying to avoid "punching it down" so much, thus keeping most of those large air bubbles in the dough, while shaping. And bread flour can actually help with that, given the higher gluten content.

And that so called "artisan bread flour" is a little different, and actually has a better flavor (a little less is removed from the the flour, and side by side, it is slightly darker than bread or AP). It is not quite as high protein as regular bread flour, which is noticeable when handling it, but it has more gluten than AP flour.

I have never used pastry flour for making cookies, or even pastry. And for cake flour I just make my own, by putting 2 tb of cornstarch or tapioca starch in a measuring cup, and the remainder with AP flour, then sifting it together.
 
I have hard whole wheat (bread flour) and soft whYole wheat (pastry flour). I couldn't find organic all purpose whole wheat, so I started mixing the hard and soft for recipes that called for AP. But, I found that for most things, there isn't much difference between the two and either one will work. I have made cakes with each kind. I make roux with both kinds, but I think I like the roux a little bit better with the soft whole wheat flour. I use the soft one in pie crusts and when I make spongecake. I was surprised by how much tactile difference there is between the dry hard flour and dry soft flour. You can actually feel why they are called hard and soft. I like to have buckwheat flour for crêpes and pancakes. I like the flavour and it doesn't want to make lumps.

I have arrowroot, corn starch, potato starch, potato flour (I bought it, not realizing it wasn't the same thing as potato starch.), rye flour, and a small package of white ap flour, which doesn't get used for much. I would like to get some barley flour. It would be more authentic in a couple of recipes I have from Northern Scandinavia, where they didn't grow much wheat. In Swedish, the word "korn" refers to barley, just like it used to refer to wheat in England and to maize in North America. It sort of means "the common grain".
 
I mostly use AP flour for everything. Sometimes I add rye flour to AP when I make some breads.
 

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