What is flour?
Flour is a fine powder that is obtained by grinding wheat grains, it is one of the elements of bread, crackers, pasta, tortillas, cakes, cookies and sweets. Among other grains, wheat flour is unique in its ability to form a gluten network when mixed with water. This property increases yeast and puff dough.
Although today all types of bread are prepared from different flours such as barley, rye, corn, etc., wheat flour is preferably used to produce bread in many cultures. The meaning of flour in the food instructions without mentioning its type is wheat flour. Because the flour of other grains either do not contain gluten or the gluten in them is very small. The most important features of flour that can affect dough processing and bread baking and finally the quality of the produced bread are: its protein content, ash content and particle size.
Protein is one of the most important characteristics of wheat, both from a technological point of view and from a chemical and nutritional point of view. Several factors are effective in the amount of wheat protein, such as racial factors, amount of rainfall or irrigation at the time of ripening, type of soil and fertilization according to the amount of wheat protein.
What is gluten?
If you wash the prepared dough with water or a dilute solution of salt, after washing completely and removing the flour, you will see a sticky substance called gluten at the bottom of the container. This substance is what makes the dough stick and knead it.
Wheats are divided into two types: Hard Wheat and Soft Wheat. Durum wheat has more protein and this increases the amount of gluten in the resulting flour.
Gluten is the substance of wheat that celiac are sensitive to.
Some common types of flour:
- bread flour
- Cake flour
- all purpose
- Whole wheat
- Semolina flour
Today, flour is usually made in a roller mill, which turns single grains into small pieces. The germ and endosperm are sieved to obtain white flour. At this stage, depending on the intended use, it can be used in different ways. Enrichment is usually done in mills where a certain combination of nutrients such as B vitamins, iron and calcium are added to freshly milled flour. While bread flours and breakfast cereals are enriched with nutrients, all kinds of cakes are bleached using chlorine gas or other agents to whiten the color, thereby weakening the growth of gluten to create a soft and tender feeling in the mouth.
Features of types of bread and cakes:
Milled from soft red wheat
Made from the endosperm of the nucleus
Low protein (6-8%) and gluten
Contains more starch than other types
It is usually bleached with chlorine and benzoyl peroxide to produce a bright white color and a completely altered taste.
From the endosperm of hard grains of ground red spring wheat
A white blend of durum wheat with 12-14% protein (gluten).
Enriched with nutrients
Characterized by high gluten strength
Five primary classifications of bread wheat flour:
Hard red spring
Hard red winter
Soft red winter
Hardness, growing season and color are the three criteria used to differentiate between these classes.
Most flours and grain products contain complex carbohydrates, mainly starch. Whole wheat flour is also a good source of dietary fiber, while white varieties contain lower levels of fiber. Wheat flour contains vitamins, minerals and protein and is low in fat. However, their proteins are low in lysine. Intolerance to wheat gluten and other grains is a serious problem for people who suffer from chronic digestive diseases such as celiac disease.
Structure: Gluten and starch compounds of wheat flour and partially pentosans are responsible for forming the structure. The gluten network is essential for holding expanded gases and creating bread volume during baking and leavening. It is useful for thickening pastry cream and various pie fillings.
While cake flour is light white in color, bread flour is slightly darker and whole wheat is brown which is transferred to the bread. Flours that are high in protein aid the Maillard browning reactions and produce a desirable brown crust.
Wheat flour usually has a mild taste. Wheat flour has more protein and a stronger flavor than baking flour. Cake flour has a different taste due to the chlorination step. Liquid Absorption: Proteins and starches are mainly responsible for binding water and oil to create dough cohesion.
To prepare homemade breads, use the flour available in the market, of course, the flour prepared from the bakeries is also good, but you may face some difficulties in preparing the dough. Especially if you want to prepare bulky breads, because the resting time of doughs made from flour with more bran is longer and may be problematic.
Be sure to sift it before use.
The flour should be at room temperature.
Do not use leftover flour and moisture.
Use flour only to the extent that the dough does not stick to your hands.