ingredient information
Flour All Purpose
All-purpose flour has a medium protein content that makes it suitable for most baking uses. Its status as a staple is second only to rice. One reason for its popularity is that-unlike other cereals-wheat contains a relatively high amount of GLUTEN, the protein that provides the elasticity necessary for excellent breadmaking. Though there are over 30,000 varieties of wheat, the three major types are hard wheat, soft wheat and durum wheat. Hard wheat is high in protein (10 to 14 percent) and yields a flour rich in gluten, making it particularly suitable for YEAST BREADS. The low-protein (6 to 10 percent) soft wheat yields a flour lower in gluten and therefore better suited for tender baked goods such as biscuits and cakes. Durum wheat, although high in gluten, is not good for baking. Instead, it's most often ground into SEMOLINA, the basis for excellent pasta. Wheat is the most important cereal crop in the world and ubiquitous in our culture. Bread, pasta, bagels, crackers, cakes, muffins and other wheat containing products line our supermarket shelves and fill our grocery baskets. It is luck for us that this popular grain is available throughout the year. Classes used in the United States are Durum - Very hard, translucent, light colored grain used to make semolina flour for pasta. Hard Red Spring - Hard, brownish, high protein wheat used for bread and hard baked goods. Hard Red Winter - Hard, brownish, very high protein wheat used for bread, hard baked goods and as an adjunct in other flours to increase protein. Soft Red Winter - Soft, brownish, medium protein wheat used for bread. Hard White - Hard, light colored, opaque, chalky, medium protein wheat planted in dry, temperate areas. Used for bread and brewing Soft White - Soft, light colored, very low protein wheat grown in temperate moist areas. Used for bread. Hard wheats are harder to process and red wheats may need bleaching. Therefore, soft and white wheats usually command higher prices than hard and red wheats on the commodities market. Wheat, in its natural unrefined state, features a host of important nutrients. Therefore, to receive benefit from the wholesomeness of wheat it is important to choose wheat products made from whole wheat flour rather than those that are refined and stripped of their natural goodness. The health benefits of wheat depend entirely on the form in which you eat it. These benefits will be few if you select wheat that has been processed into 60% extraction, bleached white flour. 60% extraction - the standard for most wheat products in the United States, including breads, noodles and pastas, baked goods like rolls or biscuits, and cookies - means that 40% of the original wheat grain was removed, and only 60% is left. Unfortunately, the 40% that gets removed includes the bran and the germ of the wheat grain - its most nutrient-rich parts. In the process of making 60% extraction flour, over half of the vitamin B1, B2, B3, E, folic acid, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, iron, and fiber are lost. Since 1941, laws in the United States have required "enrichment" of processed wheat flour with vitamins B1, B2, B3 and iron in response to the problems created by 60% extraction. Although not nearly as much of these B vitamins and iron are replaced as are removed from 60% extraction flour, "enriched" seems an odd word to describe this process. If you select 100% whole wheat products, however, the bran and the germ of the wheat will remain in your meals, and the health benefits will be impressive! Our food ranking qualified whole wheat (in its original non-enriched form) as a very good source of dietary fiber and manganese, and as a good source of magnesium. Bran is made up of the outer layers of the wheat kernel. Bran is used in whole wheat flour. It is also used in breakfast cereals. The germ is tiny - about 2 1/2% of the whole wheat kernel. The germ is the part that will sprout and grow into a new wheat plant if the kernel is planted. Wheat germ is sold in grocery stores and food markets. Whole wheat flour also contains wheat germ.