Baking, as many say, is a precise art. It requires specific ingredients in specific amounts and measurements–one thing you put more or less than the listed measurement, your dish might drastically change in flavor, texture, or some other aspect. Because of this, we always buy what is actually listed in the recipe, up to the brand the recipe recommends.
And as far as baking recipes go, flour is the common denominator for all recipes that require an oven. But you may notice that some recipes require a different kind of flour than the usual all-purpose flour. So what’s the difference? Can we still use all-purpose flour for recipes that ask for a different kind of flour? (Read: 3 Peanut Butter Alternatives for Baking and Eating)
Worry no more as My Pope Philippines has a handy guide for you! Here are the three most common flours recipes require, what they’re usually used for, and how you can substitute them if it’s not available to you at the moment.
Flour Guide: All-Purpose Flour
All-purpose flour is what we would use for any baked good that isn’t bread or cake. It is the most accessible option as it is available in most supermarkets. All-purpose flour is off-white in color, not white, and its texture is not fine but also not coarse.
Flour Guide: Bread Flour
As its name suggests, bread flour is used for baking bread. It is rough and coarse in texture, which makes for chewy bread. As for the color, it is yellowish and not white. Its granules are larger and less fine than other kinds of flour.
To substitute bread flour, you can just use an equal amount of all-purpose flour as the recipe requires. It will just be a little less chewy.
Flour Guide: Cake Flour
Cake flour is, well, used when baking cake. It is the finest and whitest among these three flours. The fine texture of flour allows the cake to be fluffy and soft, unlike the hard, chewy texture of bread due to the coarse granules.
If you don’t have cake flour available, you may substitute it using all-purpose flour and cornstarch.