A quick guide to the different types of bread and wheat flour

Nothing smells quite so good as the aroma of bread baking in the oven. And the incomparable taste and texture of a loaf of preservative-free, homemade bread is well worth the effort. Before you start baking, here's a quick guide on the different types of bread and wheat flour.

A quick guide to the different types of bread and wheat flour

Yeast bread: what is it?

The most basic dough made from flour, yeast, water and salt produces many staple breads: white, rye, whole wheat, baguettes, sourdough, pizza dough and a variety of whole-grain loaves and rolls.

  • Richer yeast doughs contain ingredients such as butter, eggs, cream, sweeteners and flavourings, and are used for brioches, croissants and Danish pastries.
  • Traditional yeast breads are sometimes associated with special days or festivals: challah is a Jewish Sabbath bread and panettone is an Italian bread traditionally baked for Christmas.

Understanding yeastless bread

Yeastless doughs are leavened with chemical raising agents such as baking powder, baking soda, or sometimes a mixture of the two.

  • Yeastless breads can be further divided into batter breads, such as muffins, and quick breads, such as scones and soda breads.

Delicious kinds of flatbread

Some flatbreads contain leavening agents; others do not.

  • They include the Italian focaccia and the Middle Eastern pita bread.

Types of wheat flour

As a dietary staple for many cultures, wheat has been used in different forms for cooking many styles of food. To use such a flexible product well, it pays to have a working knowledge of some of the variety of forms wheat may take when used for cooking.

  • Plain flour: Supermarkets and shops sell several types of wheat flour, including all-purpose bleached or unbleached flour for general purposes and for home breadmaking. Whole wheat flour is another shelf staple.
  • Self-raising flour: This wheat flour is made from all-purpose flour leavened with a mixture of baking soda and an acid ingredient, either cream of tartar, tartaric acid or phosphate aerator. The ratio of leavening agent (baking powder) to flour is balanced for scone making and may not be suitable for finely textured cakes. Cake flour is also a self-raising flour; its purpose is specified on the package.

From the basic white loaf to a rye sourdough there is a wonderful variety of delicious breads for the home baker to make. Keep this guide in mind and get started today!

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