It’s the classic battle: all-purpose flour vs plain flour. What’s the difference? Is all-purpose flour and plain flour the same thing? This guide will help you understand flour a little better and see what flour is best for cooking and baking.
Ready to learn the differences between plain flour and all-purpose flour? Get ready to understand each, why they’re here, and the best flour to use for different baking recipes.
Do you find yourself wondering what the difference is between all-purpose and plain flour? We know that baking a delicious cake or bread requires specific ingredients, but when you read a recipe that calls for one, but the store offers another, it can be really confusing!
It’s not all that easy to tell the difference between these two types of flour.
It’s time to end the confusion! Here, we’ll compare all-purpose and plain flour, providing critical information to help guide your culinary decisions.
What is All-Purpose Flour?
Flour is a powdery substance created from grinding grains, roots, nuts, or even seeds. When it comes to wheat flour, this general purpose flour is a go-to favorite.
You can use bleached or unbleached all-purpose flour in a variety of recipes and cooking methods.
- Versatile — It’s made from a combination of hard and soft wheat berries, and because it is so versatile, it is the most commonly used type of flour.
- Best Texture — All-purpose flour is highly refined, giving it a finer texture and making it suitable for light, airy pastries and cakes or thick and chewy bread.
- Protein — This flour also has a relatively low protein content, making it great for recipes where a tender crumb is desired. It is essential for making pizza dough and other types of yeast dough.
What is Plain Flour?
All-purpose flour is referred to as plain flour in Australia and the UK. It’s a standard general purpose white flour that is a go-to for most baking.
Plain flour, also known as all-purpose flour, is made from milled wheat grains. It does not contain added ingredients like leavening agents, which is why it is commonly referred to as “all-purpose” or “plain”.
You can use plain flour in baking recipes that require general purpose flour, such as cakes, cookies, bread, and pies. Because of its light and airy texture, plain flour is also an excellent choice for creating batters for deep-frying, as well as creating thick gravies and sauces.
When to Use All-Purpose Flour
All-purpose flour is one of the most versatile types of flour available. You can use it in a variety of recipes.
It is a common flour used for baking muffins and cakes, as well as for bread and other baked goods.
It’s also suitable for thickening sauces and homemade gravy. Use it as a coating for fried foods such as fried tofu.
- A flour with higher protein can fluctuate water absorbancy by as much as 20%. This can alter the texture of a recipe, and it’s why it’s essential to use the right kind of flour for your recipe.
- Gluten adds strength (making it great for bread), but it’s not good for tender baked goods.
- Kneading helps develop protein (gluten) for recipes such as these vegan dinner rolls.
- Handle dough gingerly (stirring less) to prevent gluten development in tender baked goods such as these vegan scones.
- You can substitute whole wheat pastry flour for all-purpose flour to increase the fiber content without changing the texture of your baked goods.
- Flour settles as it sits, so always sift it before you measure it. I recommend spooning sifted flour into a measuring cup and using a butter knife to level it off.
Savory All-Purpose Flour Recipes
You can use this common, general purpose flour in the kitchen:
- Flour is used to thicken the sauce in this vegan pot pie recipe
- This vegan spinach artichoke dip is thickened with flour
- Flour is a typical thickener used in recipes like this vegan bechamel sauce.
- Plant-based gravy is another way to use flour as a thickener.
Using All-Purpose Flour in Baking
Now that we know the difference between plain flour and all-purpose flour, it’s time to start baking! Here are some favorite dessert recipes that use all-purpose flour:
Now that you know the difference between all-purpose and plain flour, you can tackle any baking challenge!
Use all-purpose flour or plain flour for everyday baking, desserts, savory sauces, and bread. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to make the right flour choice for any of your baking needs.