The world of flour, while it may seem a bit bland and bland like the flour itself, really isn’t. There are countless varieties of this essential ingredient in all the cuisines of this large and diverse world.
Chickpea flour, beans, potatoes, barley of course, wheat and even blood! And is that with almost anything you can prepare that sand that we all have in our kitchens, even if it is to decorate in a pantry.
Let’s see below the most notable types of flour, their nutritional values and their classification depending on the ingredient used in its preparation.
How many flours are there?
Although it may seem surprising, there are hundreds of different flours and each has a different purpose. Due to the immensity of cultures on our planet, everyone has their own cuisine and, as flour is a very common ingredient in every kitchen that is appreciated, it is not uncommon to find varieties of it.
The criteria used to classify the flours take into account different aspects. The most notable is the raw material, that is to say the composition of the flour, whether it comes from a cereal like wheat, from a legume like lentils or from a tuber like potatoes. .
Another aspect to consider is the degree of refinement, i.e. whether the grains are smaller or thicker. To finish, the percentage of vegetable protein, the gluten content and the strength of the flour are taken into account, Indicated by the letter W.
In European cultures, especially Mediterranean cultures, heirs to the Roman triad, wheat flour and, in some cases, other flours also made from cereals are often used. However, thanks to globalization and intercultural contacts, other more exotic flours were popularized for the West, which allowed the creation of hundreds of new recipes..
The 24 most remarkable types of flour
Let’s look at a classification of the main types of flour used in cooking.
Gluten free flour
Gluten is a small set of proteins found in most grains. This substance is what gives elasticity to the bread dough during its manufacture.But it is also the cause of illnesses in people with celiac disease who cannot tolerate it.
Below we will look at the main flours containing this substance.
Wheat is the most used cereal for making flour in the WestThat is why there are recipes for both sweet and savory foods that use this type of flour as a raw material.
Wheat is a cereal very rich in nutrients, being a source of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and selenium, as well as vitamins of groups A, B and E. It is also a source of fiber, carbohydrates and vegetable proteins.
Wheat flour can be classified according to its strength, which will be used to make one type or another of recipes. First, we have the strength flour, the labeling is about 300W, and it has a protein percentage of about 13%.
Strong flour is ideal for doughs that need to be kneaded several times and which includes many fats and sugars, such as tortilla de Reyes, panettone and croissants.
Second, we have medium flour, 250-260 W and with 10% protein. This flour is ideal for pasta that does not contain a lot of fat but requires a lot of dough. Pizzas, cakes and breads are prepared with it.
Finally, in wheat flours we have bulk flour, which has a labeling of 160-180W and about 8-9% protein. It is used in confectionery, contains little gluten and is used in low fat pasta. Bulk flour does not require a lot of kneading and muffins, cookies and cookies are made with.
is used for the preparation of low and dense breads, savory biscuits. Because it has a certain touch of bitterness, it is not very popular in confectionery. It was widely used in the Middle Ages and today is very present in the cuisine of the Nordic countries.
Wholemeal rye flour contains many nutrients, such as calcium, sodium, iodine, zinc, phosphorus, selenium, vitamins E and B, carbohydrates and fiber.
It is mainly used as a thickener and also to make spongy breads. It is very common in England to bake bread.
It is a source of minerals such as copper, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, vitamins A, B and C and is also a good source of carbohydrates and fiber.
Among the flours containing gluten, this one it is the easiest to digest because it does not contain as much of this element.
It is mainly used for making low, compact breads. Among the many minerals it provides is silicon, in addition to being a good source of omega 3 and 6 and group E vitamins.
This flour has a very fine texture and a mild flavor. It enjoys great popularity in the United States as it is one of the foods found in the traditional American breakfast in the form of porridge and porridge.
It is used in confectionery for desserts in which the dough does not need to rise too much., Such as pancakes, cookies and muffins.
On the other hand, oats are a very nutritious cereal, because it offers, in addition to many minerals that it shares with other cereals, essential fatty acids.
Gluten free flour
Fortunately for people with celiac disease, there are certain varieties of flour that do not contain gluten. or that, if they have it, they contain it in small amounts. Most of these flours are made from legumes, but they are also made from tubers and pseudo-grains.
Either way, and to make sure that what is consumed is gluten free, it is advisable to look at the label before purchasing a product. There have been many times when the bread has been made with rice flour, but to add sponginess, wheat flour has also been added to the dough.
Cornmeal is known around the world to be the star ingredient in the making of Mexican tortillas and ridges, In addition to being used to thicken sauces, stews and soups.
This flour is a source of many minerals, including sodium, magnesium and calcium.
Widely used in Asia, especially China and Japan, this flour is the main ingredient for making tempura, in addition to making noodle noodles and also prepare the dough.
What is striking about rice flour is that, being made with this cereal, it has a very low amount of fiber and therefore can be very restrictive. It contains minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, selenium, iodine and magnesium, in addition to being a considerable source of carbohydrates like in most flours.
Pea flour gives a greenish color to dishes and can be used for all kinds of recipes: thickening purees, making pizzas, pancakes and crackers …
This flour is very rich in vegetable proteins, vitamins A and C, multiple minerals and, as it is made from a legume, is more filling than cereal flours.
Buckwheat or buckwheat is a pseudocereal and is widely used in various parts of Asia and Eastern Europe.
Bread made with this type of flour is very compact and does not rise much. It is easy to pair, provides essential fatty acids Omega 3 and 6, B vitamins and, as a really notable point, it provides 9 amino acids essential.
It is used to make recipes typical of Hindu cuisine, such as country breads, breadcrumbs or even pancakes. To combine with all kinds of savory dishes.
Lentils are well known to be an important source of iron and, like peas and other legumes, it helps to feel full.
As with pea flour, bean flour gives a green color to savory dishes and can be used for crackers and savory pancakes.
It is a source of vegetable protein, dietary fiber, vitamins A and B, iron, phosphorus, calcium and other minerals and it helps keep you full.
This type of flour has become very popular in vegan foods, Since it can be used as a substitute for eggs to make Spanish tortilla. It is also used in Hindu cuisine.
While most expert chefs can create all kinds of recipes in which the type of flour used when making a dessert is the same, the truth is, chickpea flour is not highly recommended for this because it’s hard to mask the taste of this legume. It is one of the richest in vitamins B, C, E and K.
The potato is probably the most consumed tuber in the world, so it’s no surprise that it even has its own flour. As for corn flour, that of this tuber used to thicken sauces, stews and purees.
Thanks to the sweet aroma of the potato, it can also be used in confectionery, being an example of the traditional potato cake from the island of Mallorca.
Potatoes are one of the most satisfying foods around and are also easy to digest.
It is used in particular in sweet recipes, in addition to being ideal for the preparation of garnishes.. Almonds are very healthy because they provide antioxidants, and you can make your flour at home by simply grinding a few of these nuts.
It can be used to prepare béchamel, pastries, baby porridge, gingerbread and thicken the stews.
These fruits contain many minerals and vitamins, and are particularly recommended for athletes, children and the elderly.
11. Flax or linseed
As with chickpea flour, flax flour it is ideal for making vegan versions of foods in which eggs are traditionally used.
It is worth noting that since the seeds of this plant are rich in fatty acids, if they are not used, they can quickly turn brown.
Another tuber which, like potatoes, has its own flour is cassava or cassava.
It takes a long time to thicken, In addition to preparing savory cakes to give body to their filling.
Quinoa, or quinoa, has become a well-known seed in recent years and has been the ingredient in many recipes considered exotic in Europe.
It is cultivated in the Andes and provides up to 8 essential amino acids. Its flour can be used in sweet and savory recipes, In addition to being used as a thickener.
Not only to make the popular drink of Valencian horchata, tigernut is a tuber whose flour is used in confectionery, such as creams, cake fillings, sweet breads, donuts and melindros. Its aroma goes very well with lemon and cinnamon.
It is used to make porridge, stews, soups, and other foods in which it acts as a thickener.
This flour contains antioxidants, In addition to being a source of energy and quite remarkable vegetable protein. It is ideal for people with sensitive stomachs.
Flours of animal origin
Although it may surprise some, not all flours are of plant origin. Some parts of animals can be used to turn them into flour and make different types of food, but not for human consumption. These are basically ingredients used to make fertilizers and animal feed. That’s why vegans don’t have to worry about finding them in recipes and meals.
Basically, they are bones that are crushed until they form a sand. They are not used for human food, but to feed animals with minerals such as calcium.
Similar to the above and for the same use. Fish spines have a high calcium content.
It involves drying the animal blood and the remaining residue is used to make food and fertilizers.
4. Horns and other elements
Not only the horns, but also the hooves, poultry feathers and anything else that animals can enjoy. They are mainly used to make fertilizers.
- Palmatier, RA (2000). Food: a dictionary of literal and non-literal terms. Westport: Greenwood.
- Reinhart, P. (2001). The bread oven apprentice. Berkeley, Calif .: Ten Speed Press.