6 Popular Types of Flour and Their Uses

If you like to bake, you may see some recipes calling for different types of flour, but what does it all mean? Flour is essential for baking, because it provides structure. Different types of flour will work best for pastries, breads and more, so make sure you're cooking with the correct kind!

flour

All-purpose flour: Otherwise called plain flour, it's a combination of both hard and soft flour with about 12 percent protein. It's available bleached or unbleached. Bleached all-purpose flour has been treated with an agent to give it the white color and then enriched to give it back the nutrients it lost in the process. Unbleached all-purpose is cream-colored, naturally aged and has all of its nutrients. Bleached plain flour is best for pies, cookies, and pancakes, while unbleached is used more commonly in yeast breads, pastries and more. All-purpose flour however, is not limited to those and is used, as its name suggests, for many purposes.

Almond flour: Used mostly in quick breads, pastry crusts and cookies, a little bit of this gluten-free flour goes a long way. It will give you a moist texture, a slight almond flavor and will bind your baked good while giving them density. Try out these delicious Almond Flour Pancakes!

almond flour pancakes
(Photo: Marin Mama Cooks)

Cake flour: Use this flour when making cakes and other baked goods with high amounts of sugar, because it's designed to rise instead of collapse. Cake flour is bleached and is very acidic because of the process. It also has the lowest amount of protein of any flour.

Pastry flour: With about 8-10 percent protein, this flour is milled from soft wheat. It's best used in pastries for a tender or crumbly finish. If this flour had a high protein percentage, it'd give you a hard pastry, but too little protein makes the dough too brittle. These tasty quinoa brownies use a whole-wheat pastry flour that healthy moms love!

quinoa brownies
(Photo: Nosh and Nourish)

Oat flour: You can make your own oat flour simply by blending old-fashioned oats in your blender. It makes a gluten-free flour that will result in a more moist baked good than you'd get using wheat flour.

Whole-wheat flour: Made from the entire kernel of the hard red wheat, this nutrient-rich flour has a darker brown color than most white flours. It's a great source of dietary fiber and is great for a hearty breads, like this Skinny Chocolate Chip Banana Bread.

chocolate chip banana bread

What kind of flour do you cook with the most? Share with us in the comments below!