The baking aisle and bulk bins of grocery stores are stocked with various flours. Learn more about the options and pros and cons of each in episode 114.
White Whole Wheat Flour
This variety looks like white flour but contains all layers of the grain (the endosperm, germ, and bran) unlike white flour which has the bran and germ stripped out. It comes from hard winter wheat and tastes slightly sweeter than traditional whole wheat. If you prefer white bread, but want a healthier option, try white whole wheat flour and breads.
Whole Wheat Flour
Made from red wheat, a whole wheat flour also contains all three portions of the grain. The most important layers are the bran, which is the fiber, and the germ, which has most of the vitamins and protein. White flour includes just the endosperm, the starchy part of the grain.
Whole wheat flour is more absorbent than white flour, so more liquid is needed in recipes. If you are new to whole wheat flour, try a favorite recipe and substitute half of the called-for all purpose (white flour) with whole wheat flour.
Gluten-free Baking Flour
Gluten-free flour alternatives have grown in popularity as consumers either have dietary restrictions, allergies, celiac disease, or are looking to reduce gluten consumption. When cooking with gluten-free flour, the final product can be crumbly, since gluten is the "glue" in baked wheat goods. Look for recipes that include xanthan gum, which helps hold gluten-free bread together. Gluten-free baking blends may contain rice, corn, potato, tapioca, arrowroot, buckwheat, amaranth, bean, quinoa, sorghum, flax meal or ground nuts in the mix.
Coconut flour is a gluten-free flour made solely from coconuts. It's delicious and versatile, making it a smart choice when choosing flour alternatives. It cannot be substituted one to one for other flours in recipes.
Health-wise, almond flour is an ideal alternative for a gluten-free diet. This flour is high in protein, manganese, vitamin E and monounsaturated fats. It's also lower in carbohydrates than other flours and works in more recipes than coconut flour.
Listen to the full episode here for more on the best buys for almond flour and making your own oat flour.