Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Deal with Flour... Finally

After many discussions with my lady friends regarding flour types here in Germany, I finally decided to look it up online (what a novel idea) and here is what I discovered...



I always thought Type 405 was the best flour to use as general all purpose flour.  WRONG.  (Oops.)  I guess because type 550 says "Extra Backstarck" I equated that to self-rising.  But it's not (baking powder would be Back Pulver, not Starck, anyway! Duh.)  I just assumed that the flour categories here would correspond to what we're used to in the states, and they do, but not in the way I expected!  Type 405 is actually more like a cake flour or pastry flour - but more on that later...

SO flour is categorized by the amount of protein in the flour determined by the wheat used to make it.  Found this on http://www.bigoven.com/

"Flour is milled from different varieties of wheat containing different amounts of protein. And it’s the different levels of protein that give each type its own unique qualities.


In general, flour made from harder wheat (like bread flour) is higher in protein and gluten, making it ideal for crusty breads and yeast-risen products. Flour made from softer wheat (like cake flour) contains less protein and gluten, making it more appropriate for lighter, more tender goods like cakes and biscuits.

A combination of hard and soft wheat is milled to produce all-purpose flour. The resulting medium protein content (between 9% and 12%) offers just the right balance of strength and tenderness for the everyday baker to make chewy breads, delicate tarts and everything in between."

I discovered this while looking at a Martha Stewart rrecipe for a yellow cake, which called for cake flour.  Wondering what cake flour was I looked it up and discovered that cake flower actually corresponds to type 405, and all-purpose flour corresponds to Type 550.

Here's the chart from Wikipedia:


Ash : Protein : US : German : French

~0.4% : ~9% : pastry flour : 405 : 40

~0.55% : ~11% : all-purpose flour : 550 : 55

~0.8% : ~14% : high gluten flour (bread flour) : 812 : 80

~1% : ~15% : first clear flour : 1050 : 110

>1.5% : ~13% : white whole wheat : 1600 : 150

So I'm assuming that my cookies have been so flat because I've been using 405 - although my cakes have been fabulous... now it all makes sense!

Found a great breakdown of all the flour types HERE... as follows:
 
Pastry Flour (Flour Type 405)

Germany's Flour Type 405 is equivalent to pastry flour. Pastry flour is made from soft wheat and has a gluten content of 8-10%. It is soft and ivory in color. Because of its low gluten content, it is best used for baked goods that should have a soft consistency yet still needs some structure, such as muffins, buscuits, pie crust, tart dough, cookies, some sweet yeast doughs, etc.
Pastry flour is available in the U.S. in health food stores, specialty stores, and mail-order businesses. To make a flour with the same gluten content as pastry flour, combine 1 1/3 cups (185g) all-purpose flour and 2/3 cup (90g) cake flour (which is available in most markets and has a gluten content of 6-8%).

All Purpose Flour (Flour Type 550)
Germany's Flour Type 550 is equivalent to all-purpose flour. All-purpose flour is made from a blend of hard and soft wheats and has a gluten content of 9-11%. It can be bleached or unbleached, which are interchangeable (bleached flour is whiter and has less vitamin E than unbleached flour).
All-purpose flour is used mainly in home baking because it is the most versatile flour. It can be used in baking a large variety of goods. However, breads won't be as chewy as if bread flour was used. Likewise, cakes won't be as tender as if cake flour was used. All-purpose flour is not typically used by professional bakers.

Bread Flour (Flour Type 812)
Germany's Flour Type 812 is equivalent to bread flour. Bread flour is made from a hard wheat and has a gluten content of 11-13%. It is pale yellow when first milled and turns off-white with aging. It feels slightly granular when rubbed between your fingers.
This is the best flour to use for breads and hard rolls. Its high gluten content gives bread the structure needed to rise and hold its shape.

High Gluten Flour (Flour Type 1050)
High gluten flour is a white flour made from hard wheat and contains at least 13-14.5% gluten. It is best used in conjunction with other grains and flour to provide more structure. It is also good for breads that are extra elastic such as bagels and pizza.


Whole Wheat Flour (Flour Type 1600)
Germany's Flour Type 1600 is equivalent to whole wheat flour. It is brown in color [some websites say that it is lighter than our whole wheat flour, though] and is derived from the whole wheat kernel, including the germ and bran. It is more flavorful than white flours which do not include the germ. Because the germ is included, there are more nutrients, fiber and fat in whole wheat flour.
When used in bread baking, it gives a nutty flavor and a denser texture when compared to white flours. Bread made from whole wheat flour is heavier and does not rise as high as breads made from white flour, so often a combination of whole wheat and white flours are used.

Rye Flour (Roggen Mehl 1150)
Germany's Roggen Mehl Number 1150 is equivalent to a medium to dark rye flour. Rye flour is darker than flours made from wheat and it has higher amounts of vitamins B and E.
Rye flour is used most often for breads and bread rolls. It imparts a slightly sour flavor to breads. Breads made with rye flour have a longer shelf life and taste fresh longer than breads made with wheat flours. It is also often combined with other flours because of its low gluten content.

Pumpernickel Flour (Roggen-Vollkornmehl)
Germany's Roggen-Vollkornmehl flour is equivalent to pumpernickel flour or a whole rye meal. It is a flour made from the whole rye grain, including the bran and germ.
Breads made with whole rye flour are hearty, with a slight sour flavor, and have a grainy texture. Whole rye flour is often combined with rye flour or other wheat flours to produce a smoother and lighter taste.

White Spelt Flour (Dinkel Mehl 630)
Germany's Dinkel Mehl 630 is equivalent to white spelt flour. It is a flour made from finely milled spelt grain. In Germany, it is often used instead of Flour Type 405. It is excellent for bread baking, but is usually combined with other flours because of its high gluten content. Also, because it is high gluten content, bread doughs made with 100% spelt flour can quickly become over-kneaded, resulting in a tough, dry product.

Whole Spelt Flour (Dinkel-Vollkornmehl)
Germany's Dinkel-Vollkornmehl is equivalent to whole spelt flour. It is a flour made from the whole spelt grain.

SO there you go!  There's the deal on flour!  Happy baking, ladies!

2 comments:

John and Laura said...

This is super helpful, Kat! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Nice post and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Say thank you you for your information.