Using Flour For Your Food Recipes? Learn More About Its Benefits and Various Applications in the Philippines
Bread. Pasta. Donut. Pizza. Cake. Cookies. Noodles. Aside from being food items, these seven products share one ingredient: flour.
You might not have given much thought to this pantry staple. However, flour has been the main ingredient in most baking recipes.
In addition, there’s a surprisingly wide range of flours in the market, especially in the baking section. Because of this, choosing the correct type of flour for your recipes makes a huge difference.
What is Flour?
Flour is a powder ingredient made from ground raw grains, roots, beans, nuts, or seeds. It contains protein and produces gluten when in contact with water and heat. Once there’s gluten, the flour gives elasticity and strength to baked goods.
Aside from the type of grain used, the flour can vary based on what part of the grain is retained during the milling process. This may include the following components:
- The starchy center of the grain. It contains carbohydrates, protein, and a small amount of oil.
- The outer husk of the grain. It adds texture, color, and fiber to the flour.
- The grain’s reproductive epicenter and concentrated source of nutrients. It provides the flour with more vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
How is Flour Made?
Aside from wheat, flour can also be made from other starchy plant foods. These may include rice, barley, buckwheat, corn, oats, peanuts, potatoes, and many others.
The process of making flour starts with the delivery and storage of the grain. Once the grain has arrived at the mill, people test it to ensure it meets the needed requirements to make the suitable flour for customers.
After assessing the quality, the grains are thoroughly cleaned. They are then conditioned to a suitable moisture content by tempering it with water and leaving it in conditioning bins for up to 24 hours.
The clean and conditioned grain is then blended through a grist. The grist passes through a series of break rolls, rotating at different speeds. Once done, the flour is sifted before being packed into bags.
Flour vs. Cornstarch vs. Baking Powder
Flour vs. Cornstarch
Flour and cornstarch are two of the essential ingredients in both cooking and baking recipes. They are used similarly as thickening agents in various types of sauces in many cuisines. What differentiates the two from each other is how they are made.
Cornstarch is a pure starch made from corn. On the other hand, flour is made from wheat. In contrast with cornstarch, flour contains gluten, making it less efficient in thickening sauces and soups.
Baking Flour vs. Baking Powder
Baking flour and baking powder are essential ingredients for baking bread, cakes, and other pastries, which is why you cannot use them separately. Replacing your baking flour with baking powder or vice versa will only result in a disaster in your kitchen.
After all, baking powder is a leavening agent due to its acid- and alkaline-based leavening properties. On the other hand, baking flour is the primary ingredient that supplies protein to the bread.
The Brief History of Flour
The Etymology of Flour
The word “flour” is a variant of the word “flower,” which is derived from the Old French word “fleur” or “flour,” meaning “blossom.”
It can also figuratively mean “the finest” because of the phrase “fleur de farine,” which translates to “the finest part of the meal.” This is due to the flour eliminating coarse and unwanted matter from the grain during the milling process.
The Origin of Flour
The history of flour started with the invention of the grinding stone 10,000 years ago during the Mesolithic period. People began to till the soil and learned to breed new grasses from the seed of the wild plant.
After 4,000 years, they’ve discovered that they can crush these seeds between simple grindstones to make flour. The Romans even used this technique, but they used a stone mortar and pestle. Another method that they used was grinding the seeds on cone mills.
The Use of Mills in Making Flour
In 71 B.C, the Greeks invented the watermill. They fed the grain between millstone, operated by water power, and ground the seeds into powder. After a few years, windmills started to replace watermills in aid of making flour slowly.