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Flour

Also indexed as: Wheat Flour, White Flour

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Preparation, uses, and tips

Substitute spelt or Kamut® for wheat flour in many recipes; add specialty flours like amaranth or teff to cakes and breads to increase flavor and nutrition; use flour as a base for sauces and gravies. Rice flour is available for those with wheat allergies. Chickpea and lentil flour, used in Indian cooking, are available at specialty markets. Soy flour can be used to replace wheat flours in many recipes, but it works poorly for foods like bread, as it is low in gluten.

Buying and storing tips

Purchase flour in bulk for greater savings. Whole-grain flours provide the most nutrition. Organic varieties are available, too. Flour can be stored in a dark cupboard, in a tightly sealed glass or plastic container, for up to six months. Whole-grain flours should be stored in the freezer—the ground germ contains oil, which can grow rancid if stored at room temperature.

Varieties

Wheat flour is by far the most common in the United States, but nearly any grain can be made into flour. Even seeds and legumes can be finely ground this way. No matter the variety, flour is generally available in several forms.

Bleached, all-purpose flour

This is a blend of high-gluten hard wheat and low-gluten soft wheat, which makes it suitable for all baking and cooking needs. Self-rising all-purpose flour includes baking soda and salt. Bleaching is often done chemically; it also occurs naturally as flour ages.

Refined flour, refined white flour

Refined flour is flour from which the nutritious (and more perishable) bran and germ layers have been removed.

Fortified flour

Fortified flour refers to an all-purpose flour, usually wheat, to which nutrients like thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin, removed during refining, have been added back.

Bolted flour

This is a whole wheat flour that has had about 80 percent of its bran sifted off. It may also be called “unbleached flour” or “reduced bran flour.”

Hammer-milled flour

In this milling process high-velocity steel hammerheads are used to powder whole grains at ultra-high speed. The method generates a great deal of heat and can destroy nutrients.

Roller-milled flour

In this milling process steel rollers or cylinders are used to grind grains at high speed. A great deal of heat is generated, causing nutrients to be destroyed.

Stone-milled (stone-ground) flour

This milling process employs a pair of ridged stones to crush and grind grains slowly, without creating heat that can destroy nutrients. The ground flour is sifted to catch larger particles of bran and germ, which are then ground again and mixed with the rest of the flour to produce a more nutritious flour.

Nutrition Highlights

Flour (whole-grain, wheat), 1 cup (115g)
Calories: 407
Protein: 16.4g
Carbohydrate: 87g
Total Fat: 2.2g
Fiber: 0.0g
*Excellent source of: Magnesium (165mg), Selenium (84.8mcg), and Niacin (7.6mg)
*Good source of: Folate (52.8mcg)

*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.

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