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Baking basics: different types of flour

When you begin baking you will have to read lots of recipes before you start building up your own collection of recipes. As you read the recipes you might be confused by the range of different flour types needed for the different recipes – who knew there were so many?

Baking flour AND self-raising flour, surely they do the same thing, right? Sadly not. And there’s good reason for it, too. So let us explain why there are different types of flour before you do something silly.

Different types of flour

Let’s be honest, this list is a bit daunting for a newcomer and eye-opening for bakers that have wrongly been using the same flour in all their bakes.  But these are the most common flours that will give you an understanding of the science of baking and why the flours might be switched into different recipes.

Plain flour

Plain flour is ideally suited to cooking with where a short, crumbly texture is required. For this reason, it is most commonly seen in recipes for biscuits, shortcrust pastry and sauces. If you use this flour for baking breads, it is unlikely to rise well and will have a crumbly texture. Bakes that require a rise should have a raising agent added to the flour.

Wholemeal flour

Wholemeal flour is made from the whole kernel of wheat. Because of this it is typically higher in fibre and nutrient content than wheat flour. Wholemeal flour has grown in popularity due to the increased interest in less refined foods.

Self-raising flour

Self-raising flour is plain flour with which self-raising agents (such as baking powder) have been added. This type of flour is most commonly used in making cakes, scones, suet pastry and some biscuits.

Gluten free flour

The protein found in wheat flour is known as gluten and all the above flours contain it. Gluten-free flour doesn‘t rise during cooking so a rising agent could be used with it. Alternatively, there are some variations of gluten free self-raising flour.

Bakery in Corby

If you’d rather leave the baking to the experts, then come and visit one of our four bakeries in Corby. Our experienced bakers make fresh breads, rolls, sweet and savoury treats every day. Find your nearest High Street Bakery here: