Flour – A Brief Intro

I received a FB note from a reader of this blog, Amy, who writes, “I used your pizza dough recipe a couple of nights ago – yummy! Didn’t know that the flour made such a difference and was able to find King Arthur flour at the Kroger here. It will be in my cupboard from now on :). Keep up the good work!”

I know there are others who read this blog who had/have no idea the role of the different kind of flours.  Here, I’ll give you a little “Cheat Sheet” on the most common three flours that I use most of the time.  (There are other types of flours, not discussed at this time) I hope you find this useful!

* Gluten content: Best Used For: End Product Produces:
All Purpose(AP)


Has some of the protein gluten. Good for most baked products including cookies, biscuits, and unleavened breads. Produces a good product in most baked products – except bread.
Cake Flour This is a soft flour, very low in the gluten protein Best used for cakes, pastries, biscuits, and unleavened breads. Produces a softer, more tender, baked product.
Bread Flour Considered a “strong” flour.  Has gluten – has strong protein which forms strands – helps with structure Used for yeast breads. Produces a chewy, very structured product.
  • The protein Gluten forms strands in dough, which gives elasticity (stretchy strands).

In short, remembering that flours containing more gluten will give a chewier end product, it is clear to see why you would not use bread flour for cakes and vise versa, not use cake flour to make bread.


About bakingway

Baker/Pastry Chef for over 25 years.

Posted on October 24, 2010, in baKING Tips, Recipes and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Chris- Does flour go bad? What is its shelf-life?
    (Sorry for all the q’s on so many entries! I started reading your blog when you started it and just revisited it to find that I had missed a lot.)

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