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Food glossary

Flour

Flour

Flour is one of the main ingredients for a wide range of foods throughout the world, including pasta, bread, noodles, biscuits and cakes. A wide range of flours are available, including:

Gluten free

An all-purpose flour without any gluten. Made from a blend of rice flour, potato flour, buckwheat and maize flour. Doves Farm Gluten Free Flour is available in Waitrose and is approved by the Coeliac UK.

Uses: Gluten free flour can be used in place of wheat flour in recipes - just follow your recipe using gluten free flour in place of wheat flour.

To store: Keep in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 6 months. Once opened store in an airtight container.

Italian

Also known as 00 or dopio zero flour, this flour is traditionally used for making pasta and is made from coarsely ground durum wheat. Italian flour is mixed with water to make tough pasta dough that holds its shape during cooking and will not disintegrate into a starchy paste. In Italy pasta flour is commonly known as semolina.

Uses: Italian flour can be used to make home-made pasta or gnocchi. Pasta and gnocchi made with 100% durum wheat semolina has a rough surface so sauces are more readily absorbed.

To store: Keep in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 6 months. Once opened store in an airtight container.

Malted brown bread flour

This blend of brown flour and malted wheat flakes has a distinctive and unique nutty flavour.

Uses: Malted brown bread flour can be used to make a variety of different breads, pastries and bakes.

To store: Keep in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 6 months. Once opened store in an airtight container.

Superfine plain

White plain flour is the most commonly use type of flour. It contains about 70% of the wheat grain and when it is milled the bran and wheat germ from the grain is removed and all that remains is the white starchy part of the grain.

Uses: To make pastry and to prevent rolled-out pastry sticking to the worksurface, as a coating for raw meat and fish before frying and in sauces such as a thickener in cheese sauce or white sauce.

To store: Keep in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 6 months. Once opened store in an airtight container.

Superfine self raising

Self raising flour is plain flour with raising agents added. The raising agent in the flour reacts during cooking to produce carbon dioxide and the mixture expands to give a light and airy texture. Because the raising agents are blended with it during manufacture, self raising flour is more convenient to use than plain flour with separate raising agents.

Uses: Self raising flour is used in recipes where the mixture needs to expand on cooking to give a light result, such as cakes and puddings. Self raising flour is also sometimes mixed with plain flour if the amount of raising agent would be too great if self raising flour was used alone.

To store: Keep in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 6 months. Once opened store in an airtight container.

Strong wholemeal plain

Made using the whole wheat grain, including bran and the wheat germ, strong wholemeal plain flour is a light brown, coarse flour. Strong flour has a higher proportion of a type of protein, which forms gluten when mixed with water, gluten gives bread its characteristic texture.

Uses: Strong wholemeal plain flour is used for bread making. It is often mixed with strong white plain flour to give a lighter result.

To store: Keep in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 6 months. Once opened store in an airtight container.

Strong white plain

Strong white plain flour is processed to remove all the bran and wheat germ from the wheat grain and all that remains is the white starchy part of the grain. It has a higher proportion of a type of protein than white plain four. This protein forms gluten when mixed with water, gluten gives bread its characteristic texture.

Uses: Strong white plain flour is used for bread making, to give bread its distinctive flavour and texture.

To store: Keep in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 6 months. Once opened store in an airtight container.

Wholemeal plain

Also referred to as 100% extraction flour, because it contains 100% of the wheat grain, including the bran and germ. It has a higher fibre content than plain flour.

Uses: Wholemeal plain flour can be used as plain flour but it does have a denser texture. It is often mixed in equal quantities with plain flour and can be used in pastry, cakes, as a coating for raw meat or fish before cooking and in sauces.

Wholemeal self raising

Wholemeal self raising flour is plain flour with raising agents added. The raising agent in the flour reacts during cooking to produce carbon dioxide and the mixture expands to give a light and airy texture. Because the raising agents are blended with it during manufacture, wholemeal self raising flour is more convenient to use than wholemeal flour with separate raising agents.

Very strong Canadian wholemeal

Made using whole wheat grain from Canada, including bran and the wheat germ, strong wholemeal flour is a light brown, coarse flour. Strong flour has a higher proportion of a type of protein, which forms gluten when mixed with water, gluten gives bread its characteristic texture.

Uses: Very strong Canadian wholemeal flour is used for bread making. It is often mixed with strong white plain flour to give a lighter result.

To store: Keep in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 6 months. Once opened store in an airtight container.