Flour, the main ingredient in breads, and the most popular starch ingredient, is hard to live without. It is used in almost every culture, and has numerous different variations.
All-purpose: All purpose flour is a mix of soft and hard wheat with 8-11% gluten. It comes in two varieties: Bleached and unbleached. Bleached flour is chemically bleached and has less protein than unbleached flour.
Bread flour: Bread flour is made from hard wheat. It has 12-14% gluten and is unbleached.
Buckwheat flour: Buckwheat flour is a gluten-free flour. It has a nutty flavor and is easy to use as a replacement for gluten flours.
Cake flour: Cake flour is a soft wheat flour with a fine texture. It has 8-10% gluten and is bleached by a chlorine process. Cake flour is wonderful in preventing a “collapse” in baking.
Gluten flour: Gluten flour has a very high gluten level of 12-14%. It is used mostly in a diabetic diet
Pastry flour: Pastry flour is made from soft wheat and contains a 9-10% gluten level. Pastry flour should not be used for breads containing yeast
Rice flour: Rice flour is made from milled white or brown rice.
Self-rising flour: Self-rising flour is a mixture of all purpose flour, salt and leavening ingredients. Since the baking powder varies by manufacturer, one should never use this flour in yeast breads.
Semolina flour: Semolina flour is pasta flour. It is made from hard wheat and has the highest gluten level
Spelt flour: Spelt flour is not made from wheat. It has a similar flavor and is a great substitute for those on a gluten-free diet.
Whole wheat flour: Whole wheat flour has a very low gluten level and is high in fiber. When making breads, it is usually mixed with all purpose flour or bread flour.