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.

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