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What is 'all-purpose flour'?

 
pollinator
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Ok I have an American recipe and it calls for 2.5 cups of whole wheat flour and 2.5 cups of all-purpose flour.  Please can some kind soul enlighten this European wench as to what 'all-purpose' flour is.  Can I just use 5 cups of whole wheat flour? It's for panbread.
 
gardener
Posts: 1948
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Sure, easy peasy...... here you go -


All-Purpose vs. Bread, Cake and Other Types of Flour

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.
http://www.bigoven.com/glossary/All-Purpose%20Flour

 
pollinator
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Location: Vancouver Island
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I use whole wheat for everything. It may not turn out the way it was supposed to.... but nothing has been no-good or too tough or whatever. We have even made cake with W.W. flour. In any case, if I wanted something lighter I would use UB (unbleached). In France, I am told that (at least the bakers) get their bread by protein percentage... so AP would be midrange.... either good for everything or good for nothing... depending on one's pickyness
 
Jami McBride
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I too use whole wheat - whole wheat = the whole grain - bran, germ, and endosperm.

All purpose flour you buy is usually processed to remove the bran & germ leaving only the endosperm, and looks white in color.

However you can make an all purpose flour from whole wheat grains by mixing whole hard & soft wheat grains.  It will be a little heavier than the processed flour but will work just fine.


 
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You can't beat stone ground.  I am very lucky to have stone mill within 100 km of me, that uses all local grains for their flour.  They produce hard and soft wheat flours (organic and conventional), spelt, buckwheat, and corn flours. 

All commercial flours are ground with steel, which gets very hot, hence you end up with a degraded product.  Most commercial whole wheat flour is also white flour (not bleached) with the un-ground bran germ added back in.  That's why a loaf of bread made from stone ground WW flour is brown, whereas with commercial flour it is white with brown flecks.  Its harder to get a light, fluffy loaf with stone ground, but the taste is better IMO.
 
Len Ovens
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Jimmmy75 wrote:
Most commercial whole wheat flour is also white flour (not bleached) with the un-ground bran germ added back in. 



The good stuff is called "whole grain whole wheat". Anything that says just "whole wheat" that I have looked at has an ingredients bar that says: "Flour, Bran". Whole grain flour often doesn't have an ingredients bar because the "whole grain" says it all.

Stone ground is good... on the other side of the water(Georgia Strait), I can get 20lb bags at just over $10. Here it is $7 for 5lb bags.... same company   
 
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