Sunday, October 2, 2011

{31 Days} Stocking your pantry: Flours

The goal of the first part of this 31 days series is to help you stock your pantry!  Cooking from scratch is a lot easier when you have the right goodies in your cupboards. 

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Today, we’re talking flours. 

Pantry Must-Have Flours

1. Whole Wheat Flour

We all know the health benefits of consuming whole grains, like whole wheat flour.  So, I recommend having one bag of whole wheat flour in your pantry.  I have found the finest ground whole wheat flour is from King Arthur.  The fine texture of this flour makes it easy to add into a recipe without changing the texture too much. 

For breads, I love Gold Medal’s Whole Wheat Flour.  The texture of this flour grind reminds me of a stone-ground or a sprouted wheat texture.  So, I always have a bag of this flour in our pantry.

2. White Whole Wheat Flour

What is White Whole Wheat
White whole wheat flour is nutritionally equivalent to whole wheat flour made from red wheat.  White wheat grasses simply have a slight change in their DNA, resulting in a wheat grain that does not have the traditional red bran coloration.  The removal of the bran gene results in a flour that is lighter in color & texture, and less bitterness in flavor. 

The Bottom Line:

This is my most-used flour.  In fact, it is my “all-purpose” flour.  Even if your family is leery about whole wheat, give this flour a try.  My favorite is King Arthur’s White Whole Wheat flour – the grind is so fine it can almost pass for traditional white flour!

There are other brands of white whole wheat out there, and I’ve recently tried Gold Medal’s variety.  I like it, great for breads – but it has more of the stone-ground wheat texture similar to their regular whole wheat flour. 

The other white whole wheat flour I’ve tried recently is from Eagle Mills.  They are marketing a hybrid white whole wheat flour they call “Ultragrain”.  Ultragrain is a combination of two white whole wheat plants, and the results is a lighter in color & taste flour that they claim substitutes cup for cup with all purpose flour.  I found this one at Costco, and we’ve used this one too and are enjoying it greatly.

 

3.  Bread Flour

Bread flour has a higher protein content than traditional flours.  When the higher protein content comes into contact with water & heat, the result is a better strength and elasticity of your bread.  I keep a bag on hand in our pantry.  Although, adding vital wheat gluten to breads made without bread flour can help achieve similar results. 

4. Oats

Okay – so these really aren’t a flour, but they fall into that same category for me.  I have old-fashioned oats and quick cook oats in our pantry at all times.  Get some.

Storing Flours

Wheat flours have a higher protein content and also more bran (in the case of red, or traditional whole wheat flour), which can spoil more quickly than an all-purpose flour.  Therefore, if you don’t use your flours frequently, place your leftover flour in the freezer. 

Otherwise, we store all our flours in airtight containers in our baking pantry. 

Using Whole Wheat Flour

Start small.  Replace 1/4 C – 1/2 C of all purpose flour in a recipe with whole wheat flour, or white whole wheat flour. 

Here’s a simple recipe for banana bread – a family favorite recipe.  This recipe calls for 1 3/4 C all purpose flour.  Give it a try with 1/2 C white whole wheat flour. 

Or, if you’re feeling up for the challenge, try substituting 1 3/4 C white whole wheat flour for the all purpose flour. 

What kinds of flour are in your pantry?  Any favorite brands? 

11 comments:

  1. I love the storage containers you use! I've been on the lookout for something similar but haven't found any I like... do you remember where you bought them?

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  2. check, check, check...got 'em all =0) we have a vitamix though and have enjoyed grinding our own flours. =0)

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  3. I love having lots of different flour on hand (and share some of your favorites). What kind of labels do you use? I'm always afraid of them getting ruined when I wash out the containers between bags, so I don't label. But, I recently changed which containers different kinds of flour came in and now I have a container of "mystery flour". My first guess is bread flour, but who knows?

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  4. Our storage containers are Oxo -- we found the best price on them at the Home Goods store in our area.

    For labels - I've tried using our Dynmo label maker, and so far that seems to be holding up well.

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  5. I just discovered soft white wheat. I grind our own and it's equivalent to a whole wheat pastry flour. Still very nutritious and still a whole grain, but even lighter in texture than white whole wheat. We love it!

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  6. A few years ago we went to all whole wheat flour (brown rice and whole wheat pasta too) so I never even think to buy other flour. I don't make bread, but really want to, so was thinking of getting bread flour. I do have a small package of Bob's Red Mill organic whole grain quinoa flour, but I'm scared to try it, so there it sits. Any suggestions?

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  7. Such a great post! Thanks for sharing! I have it starred in my reader!

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  8. I use King Arthur almost exclusively, except for all-purpose because my grocery store starting carrying their own brand of unbleached and it's very good. I saw Eagle Mills in the grocery store yesterday but wasn't familiar with the brand. I'll have to try it now!

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  9. I love this post! I'm going to have to look for the King Arthur whole wheat flour. And white whole wheat. Great post!

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  10. We haven't tried White Whole Wheat flour, but your post definitely has inspired me! I will look for that next time I go to the grocery store!

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Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear from you; especially how you're finding JOY in your kitchen.

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