Unique features of flour


Flour is made by grinding grains, nuts, beans, or roots to a fine powder. It is an ancient food dating back to the Late Stone Age in Europe. The Romans and the Ancient Greeks also milled flour.


Flour is used for making many different foods. Grain flour, particularly wheat and rye flour, are major ingredients of bread, a staple food in many cultures. Corn flour is excellent for gluten-free baking.


Meal is a coarser form of flour. It is used for baking, though more often for making porridge, polenta, and cornbread. Rice flour is a substitute for wheat and made by milling either white or brown (unhusked) rice.


Another notable fact is that flour dust suspended in the air is explosive!


What is flour used for in products?


Flour is the main ingredient in bread, pasta, crackers, cakes, biscuits and baked goods. Wheat and corn flour is used as athickening agent in gravies, stews, casseroles, soups and sauces. Flour is also used; to thicken and set puddings and desserts, and packaged custard powder.


Rye flour is used for sourdough and pumpernickel bread. Spelt flour is excellent for making batter for pancakes, flapjacks, crumpets and crêpes.


It is also used in industry as a natural cobinder in the manufacture of paper coatings.


Products that contain flour


Some of the many everyday foods that contain flour include:

  • Pasta and noodles
  • Breads: multigrain, whole wheat bread, rye, pita, ciabatta, focaccia, sourdough.
  • Pastry: shortcrust, filo, puff, choux and flaky pastry
  • Crackers: cream, animal, graham, water biscuits, matzos crispbreads.
  • Other baked goods: cakes, cookies, pie crusts.
  • Breakfast foods: muffins, pancakes, waffles, scones, crumpets, pancakes, crêpes, French toast.
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Coating mixes, like batters and crumbs
  • Stuffings and dressings
  • Soup, gravy, and sauce powders, custardsand puddings


Types of Flour


Wheat flours:


  • All-purpose flour, used for baking, thickening and breadmaking.
  • 100% whole-wheat flour with more fibre and nutrients.
  • White whole-wheat flour made from hulled wheat
  • Self-raising / Self-rising flour, an all-purpose flour with baking powder added.
  • Cake flour with a fine texture and used for delicate pastries and cakes.
  • Bread flour specifically for bread making with a high gluten content.
  • Gluten flour: high gluten, most starch removed.
  • Semolina flour is; refined from hard durum wheat flour.


Non-wheat flours:


  • Almond meal/flour – high in protein, low in carbohydrates.
  • Amaranth flour – a complete protein.
  • Barley flour is; made from whole-grain barley.
  • Buckwheat flour made from whole or refinedbuckwheat.
  • Brown rice flour made from unpolished brown rice, and is gluten-free.
  • Corn flour from whole corn.
  • Flaxseed flour/meal – whole flax seeds thus; it contains Omega-3.
  • Oat flour milled from oat groats.
  • Peanut flour milled from partly or fully defatted peanuts.
  • Potato flour milled from dried potatoes.
  • Rye flour, a dense, dark flour produces; heavy breads; i.e. pumpernickel.
  • Soy flour has a high protein, low carbohydrate content.
  • Spelt flour is consistant of more protein than wheat.
  • White rice flour made from white rice, gluten-free.


So-called ‘ethnic flours’ are made from; cassava, chickpeas, legumes (dal flour) dried plantain (fufu flour), kamut, millet and teff grain.