Types of Flour for Holiday Baking

Sweet Genius Host Chef Ron Ben-Israel as seen on Food Network’s Sweet Genius, Season 2

Photo by: David Lang ©David Lang2012, Television Food Network, GP

David Lang, David Lang2012, Television Food Network, GP

Sweet Genius Host Chef Ron Ben-Israel as seen on Food Network’s Sweet Genius, Season 2

Baking expert Ron Ben-Israel is sure of one thing when it comes to reading a recipe: “If a recipe isn't specific and just says 1 cup of flour, run.” So he helped us break down the different types of flour you might come across in a baking recipe.

1. All-purpose flour, which is good for brownies, bars and cookies
2. Cake flour, which is much softer and more delicate than all-purpose flour
3. Bread flour, which is used for yeast-based breads like babkas and challahs 
4. Pastry flour, which gives a crumbly texture to biscuits, pie doughs, brownies and cookies

Ron notes: “The types of flours are very important. We forget that flour is complex. Some cakes, like a carrot cake, would use all-purpose flour because the cake is oil-based. For a fluffy cake (butter cakes or pound cakes), cake flour results in a better quality and much more delicate feel.” Even the process of measuring flour is important, as it affects how dense the flour is. Use Ron’s method: “Sift first, to aerate, and then gently scoop into a cup and level. And the very best way is to weigh your flour. I would ask for a digital scale.” Many scales have the ability to switch between grams and pounds, and using grams is more efficient and much more accurate.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Ron Ben-Israel's Must-Have Holiday Baking Tools

Baking expert and Sweet Genius host Ron Ben-Israel shares his list of must-have tools for the holiday season.

Holiday Treats: 50 Cookies

Turn your kitchen into Santa's workshop with dozens of recipes from Food Network Magazine.

Cookie Toppings and Mix-Ins

Atop cookies, in the dough or sandwiched between a pair of cookies, toppings and mix-ins are the quickest, easiest, almost-entirely foolproof way to customize your cookies.

Baking Ingredient Guide

Everything you need to know about flour, sugar, chocolate and other pantry staples.

Baking with Butter

Find out how using different butters and butter-mixing strategies can affect the outcome of your baked goods.

Flour 101

Learn what differentiates types of flour and how to choose the one that's best for your desired baking outcome.

Ron Ben-Israel's Solutions to Holiday Baking Disasters

We asked baking expert and Sweet Genius host Ron Ben-Israel for advice on how to avoid—and recover from—baking disasters this holiday season.

Baking Tools Guide

Stocking your bakeware arsenal? Read through our handy guide first to find out which tools you definitely need.

5 Tools for Easier Baking

Avid bakers know that their most important tools are patience and an attention to detail. These items below, however, do simplify the baking process and will quickly become indispensable.
More from:

12 Days of Cookies

On TV

Get Cooking