The first few bread recipes will be made with flours that should be carried by your local grocery store.
- All Purpose Flour – is also known as plain flour. It can be found in bleached and unbleached varieties. Unbleached flour has more of the wheat’s protein intact and is typically better for bread making. Bleached flour has been chemically treated to speed processing, it is best for those instances where toughness or chewiness is undesirable: pie crust, muffins, etc. All purpose flour is a blend of both soft and hard wheat. Different brands may use different ratios of the two.
- Bread flour – has a higher gluten, or protein, content than all purpose or pastry flours; the structure provided by the protein make it a good choice for baking products made with yeast. It is made from hard wheat.
- Whole Wheat Flour – unlike white flours, whole wheat flour uses the whole wheat kernel (surprised?). While whole wheat flour has a lot more fiber and is generally much healthier, ounce for ounce it does not have the same protein content as bread or all purpose flour. When making breads, it is common to use bread or all purpose flour to create the structure necessary to trap the carbon dioxide created by the yeast to give the bread an appealing amount of loft. Whole wheat flour can go rancid, store it in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for the longest shelf life.