What is all-purpose flour is a question that comes to the minds of people often since there are so many types of flour available in the market. Flour is a generic word that is used to refer to finely ground powder of any kind of edible grain. While flour made from wheat is the most commonly used type of flour, there are many other names that you encounter when searching for flour in the supermarket. One kind, referred to as all-purpose flour, is very confusing to some people as they cannot understand where to use this flour. This article attempts to make clear all confusion regarding this all-purpose flour.
All purpose flour – Facts
All flours are known for the presence of glutens that are the natural proteins inside them. It is these glutens that give structure to the breads and other bakery products made using flours. Glutens are developed when water or any other liquid is mixed with the flour and it is kneaded. There are both strong as well as weak flours depending upon the presence of hard and soft proteins. When flour is made using low protein wheat, it produces lower quantities of glutens.
Why is it called all purpose flour
The flour called all purpose flour has neither high nor low gluten content. Because of its medium range of glutens, it is considered as suitable for making a wide variety of breads and bakery products. It can make pastries, cakes and breads of all types. All purpose flour generally has 12% gluten content.
White and powdery
All purpose flour is white in color as it is super refined and made after removing the covering of wheat grains that give brown color to bread flour and whole wheat flour. It is made after several stages of milling, refining, and bleaching. Usually, it is a blend of hard and soft wheat. Hard wheat contains high gluten content while soft wheat contains low gluten content. All-purpose flour has a very fine texture as it is milled using the kernel of wheat while the outer coating called bran and the sprouting part called germ are kept out.
Vitamins are added to enrich it
In US, all flours made excluding the germ are required by the law to contain specified quantities of thiamine, riboflavin, and iron. Manufacturers sometimes add vitamin A and vitamin D on their own and label their products as enriched. All purpose flour can be bleached or unbleached though one can use both types interchangeably. Bleaching can be natural or it can be bleached using chemicals.
In Asia, all purpose flour is called Maida
In Asian countries, all purpose flour is called Maida. It is used to make many different kinds of breads. It is also used to make many kinds of cakes, biscuits, and pastries. Sometimes, it is used as a thickening agent also. Unlike whole-wheat flour, the powder of all purpose flour is soft and white.
Though used extensively for making breads all over the world, all purpose flour has very little nutritional value as it is made by removing the bran and the germ of the wheat grains.
- All purpose flour by Veganbaking.net (CC BY-SA 2.0)
- All purpose flour baked gluten ball by ilovebutter (CC BY 2.0)