Wheat Flours

Wheat flour is a powder made from the grinding red or white wheat into a food ingredient. The wheat is labeled hard/strong or soft/weak depending on the amount of gluten the grain contains.  Hard flour is high in gluten with 12-14% content. The dough has elastic toughness so that it can hold its shape.  Softer flours with 5-10% gluten produce light, crumbly textures needed in pies and pastries. Soft flour works well with cakes. Flour lends structure to baked foods. Since each food demands differing amounts of structure, choosing the correct product is vital to the success of the recipe.

The wheat plant is grass. Its fruit contains the grain. the  endosperm or protein/starchy part, the germ or protein/fat/vitamin-rich part, and the bran or fiber part. White flour is made from only the endosperm. Brown flour includes some germ and bran. Whole grain wheat flour grinds the whole grain. Germ flour is made from the endosperm and germ, but not the bran. (Wikipedia).

Red wheat is called hard because the bran around the kernel
is very difficult to crack. The hard wheat also requires more bleaching than
white wheat. Durum wheat is the hardest of all wheat varieties. It is used to
make semolina flour for pasta and bulgur.

Professional bakers do not use all-purpose flour, but most
American families do.  Unless labeled as
whole wheat, the product has been milled from bran and is called white wheat. Wheat
was a domesticated 10,000 years ago by the Egyptians. Refining the flour became
practical in the 1820s. Bleached flour was originally eaten by the rich. It
only became available 100 years ago to all people.

Several flour products are made from wheat by large mills. It
is possible to make your own pastry and self-rising flours. Pastry flour
provides flakey and tender structures. Pies, tarts, and cookies prefer this
type of flour. Mix together 1 13 cups of all-purpose flour and 2/3 cups cake

Self-Rising Flour is made with 1 cup pastry flour, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt. The product lasts about 6 months in a tight container.

In most bread recipes, whole-wheat flour can be substituted
for up to half of all-purpose flour. Whole wheat flour does not last as long as
white flour because wheat ger is high in oil that goes rancid with time. Store
the flour for up to three months at cool room temperature, and then transfer it
to the freezer.

Gluten-Free Flours: There is a wide variety of gluten-free flours available today, made from all sorts of grains, nuts, and starches. Some of the most widely available are based on rice flour blended with tapioca and potato starch. A small proportion of xanthan gum is sometimes added to help stimulate the chewiness normally associated with gluten. Consult the specific recipe or packaging for information on how to substitute gluten-free

One of the main differences between whole
wheat and white flour is the fiber content. Whole wheat flour naturally has the
level of fiber found in wheat, while most of the fiber has been removed from
white flour during processing. Fiber is an important part of our diet, as it
prevents constipation, helps control blood sugar, wards off heart disease, and
even assists in weight-loss management.

Whole wheat flour is also rich in vitamins
B-1, B-3, and B-5, along with riboflavin and folate. It also has more
iron, calcium, protein, and other nutrients than white flour.

More information