- Apr 16, 2020
- by Ahmed Chaudhry
Flour is a white powdery substance made from grains like corn, wheat or rice. Mostly, wheat flour is used for preparing chapattis and is further categorised into hard and soft wheat. Hard wheat is rich in protein content as compared to soft wheat. Wheat with high protein content is also rich in gluten that gives strength as well as elasticity. This is one attribute that makes wheat flour ideal for preparing cakes, pastries and bread.
But with flour, a one-size-fits-all approach does not work. It implies one kind of flour that is good for baking bread may not give the desired results with pastries. This is the main reason, of late, different kinds of flours are available in the market. To buy flour online in the UK, you need to look for a well-established grocery store.
All-Purpose Flour: All-purpose flour contains a good balance of soft and hard flours. It is widely available everywhere, cheaper than its counterparts and contains a good percentage of protein. This flour is also known as general purpose wheat flour and plain flour. All-purpose flour is the best flour to use for baking cookies, muffins, cakes, biscuits and pie crusts. Professional chefs strongly believe that all-purpose flour is not an ideal flour to make slices of breads and pizza dough. Moreover, why to use all-purpose flour when other flours for preparing breads are available in the market?
Bread Flour: As the name implies, this variety of flour is useful for making breads and other baked items that need yeast, and have an elastic and chewy crumb. The bread flour contains very high protein content, say 12-14%. This results in creating more gluten and gives the real texture and characteristic of chewing. Due to high protein content, it is also rated as the strongest of all flours. It is easily available in whole wheat or white, unbleached or bleached form. However, there is a word of caution - if you want to buy bread flour in the UK, look for baking supply stores instead of hypermarkets.
Cake Flour: The cake flour contains protein in a lower quantity like 8-9%. This flour generally undergoes a chlorinated bleaching process that weakens the gluten proteins and alters the structure of fats and starches making it slightly acidic. This is the best flour to make tender baked goods like moist cake, muffins, biscuits, etc.
Almond Flour: If you are looking for gluten-free flour for baking purposes, almond flour is the best to use. It is one variety of flour that is gluten as well as wheat-free and thus considered as a great alternative to wheat flour. The flour is ideal for baking purposes and easily replaces regular wheat flour with the only downside is dense and flat appearance. Buying almond flour online in the UK is not difficult as most of the grocery stores keep its stock.
Pastry Flour: It is an unbleached flour that contains 8-9% of protein content. Cookies and pastries made with flour containing high protein content will become tough, and adding flour with too little protein content will make the pastry too hard to chew. The pastry flour strikes the perfect balance between tenderness and flakiness and thus used for baking perfect tarts, cookies and pies. If you are unable to find pastry flour at any online store, it is easy to make at home simply by adding 1 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour and 2/3 cup of cake flour.
Self-rising Flour: This flour contains baking powder and salt and lower-protein content, say 8-10% only. Some kinds of cakes, muffins, pancakes and biscuits are the best to make with self-rising flour. To make self-rising flour at home, add 1 cup pastry flour, 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder and ¼ teaspoonful salt.
If you are planning to buy flour online in the UK, there are certain points to keep in the mind. These points are:
- Always check the ingredients of the flour along with the protein content. Some flour contains additional sugar and salt. Avoid purchasing them.
- Always check the best before date of a packet of flour and try to use it before the specified period only.
- Store flour in air-tight containers.
- Think about the dish which you want to make and accordingly make a purchase. For instance, biscuits are easy to make with all-purpose flour and self-rising flour. Depending upon the texture you want in the biscuit, choose the flour type.
In order to get high-quality product at premium rates, buy flour online in the UK from a reputed convenience and online grocery stores.