Zed's Repertoire

My Personal Collection of Recipes

Choosing The Right Flour

When it come to baking, the flour you choose falls into one of three main categories, soft, medium and hard. By choosing the right flour for the recipe or task at hand, you will reap the benefits of the perfect end result.
Many recipes on this site list flour as an ingredient, but don’t necessarily say what type to use. By following the simple guidelines mentioned in this section, you will gain the knowledge to decide for yourself which is the best flour for the task. Some of the recipes on this site do say which type of flour to use, and some of them also use a combination of different flours to achieve the best result.

The term soft, medium or hard, refers to the gluten (protein) content in the flour, the more protein the flour has the stronger it is in terms of holding it’s shape when cooked. Sometimes you don't want something to hold its shape, you want it to be delicate and fluffy.

Soft Flour

Soft flour is finely milled white flour made from soft wheat. It has a very low protein content, between 8% and 10%, making it suitable for soft textured cakes and cookies. The higher protein content of other flours would make cakes tough and rubbery. Sifted cake flours may require different volume amounts in recipes than all purpose flour. Using the scoop and level method, well-sifted flour usually produces 125 gm per cup. However, most American recipes are written with 140 gm of flour per cup, so weighing and experimentation can be helpful in baking unfamiliar recipes.
Soft flour is use for products that you want very soft and crumply such as:
  • Sponge Cakes
  • Soft cookies that crumble
  • Shortbread
  • Shortcrust Pastry

Medium Flour

Medium flour is blended wheat flour with a protein content lower than hard flour, and higher than soft flour, ranging between 9% and 12% protein. Depending on the brand purchased, it may be composed of all hard or soft wheats, but is usually a blend of the two, and can range from low protein content to moderately high. It is marketed as an inexpensive alternative to bakers' flour which is acceptable for most household baking needs.
Medium flour is more commonly referred to as ‘Plain Flour’ or ‘All Purpose Flour’, the most common of flours, or the most commonly used flour. Medium flour is most commonly used for things like :
  • Coating and sealing meats
  • Thickening sauces
  • Cookies & Biscuits
  • Pancakes

Hard Flour

Hard flour is often referred to as ‘Strong Flour’ or ‘Bread Flour’ and is always made from hard wheat, usually hard spring wheat. It has a very high protein content, between 10% and 13%, making it excellent for yeast bread baking. It can be white or whole wheat or in between. If you are having any difficulty obtaining hard flour, you can always use medium flour which is readily available, and add some wheat gluten to the flour. Wheat gluten should be in the health food section of you coal store or health food store. There should be instructions of the packet.
Hard flour is used for recipes where you want the end product to retain a hard shape such as:
  • A loaf of bread
  • Pizza
  • Flatbreads
  • Brioche