|Wheat, which is the world’s largest food crop is milled into a wide range of flours, is the most commonly used grain for flour production in many parts of the world. Wheat flour is used to such an extent that it is usually understood that “flour” refers to wheat flour.
Some types of flour may be preferred over wheat flour or are more commonly used depending on the location and/or the availability or wheat. Other types of flour are usually labeled as "barley flour", "rye flour", and so on.
When wheat flour is mixed with water, gluten is formed. Gluten is the substance that provides dough with elasticity and the ability to stretch as the leavening agent produces carbon dioxide , which enables the dough to rise effectively.
The strength of flour is determined by its protein content. The higher the protein level in flour, the higher is the resultant gluten content in the dough. Depending on the finished product, different amounts of protein are desired.
Types of Flour
Hard flour, or strong flour, is high in protein level and this yields high gluten level in the dough and produces a bread loaf with a good crumb structure. They absorb more water from the dough, which helps to produce a good dough consistency and texture that will remain fresher for a longer period of time.
Soft flour is comparatively low in gluten and has finer texture. Soft flour is usually divided into cake flour, which is the lowest in gluten, and pastry flour, which has slightly more gluten than cake flour.
All-purpose flour is a blended wheat flour with an intermediate gluten level which is marketed as an acceptable compromise for most household baking requirements.
Self-raising flour is a premium-quality flour blended with the right amount of leavening agent for producing premium quality cakes. The raising agents in self-raising flour may lose their effectiveness once the sell-by-date has expired. For light and airy cakes make sure the flour is used within the expiry date. MFM self-raising flour brand is Peaches Self-Raising FlourT .
Wholemeal flour is a high-protein high-fibre flour specially milled for the health-conscious consumers of wholemeal bread. Wholemeal flour cannot be kept for as long as white flour due to their slightly higher fat content.
|Hard Flour / Strong Flour
||High Gluten Flour
|13% and above
11% - 13%
||All Purpose Flour
||9.5% - 10.5%
|Soft Flour / Weak Flour
||Pastry Flour (or Cookie Flour, Cracker Flour)
|9% - 10%
8% - 9%
Flour should be stored in a cool, dry place and preferably in a tightly sealed container. It can also be stored in the freezer using airtight containers or in freezer bags. It is important to allow the flour to thaw properly and equilibrate to room temperature prior to use, particularly when using recipes that require yeast.