All-Purpose Flour | American Society of Baking
Commercial Baking Ingredients:

All-Purpose Flour

Also known as plain flour

What is all-purpose flour?

All-purpose flour is a versatile and general use wheat flour. It is milled from hard red wheat or a blend of hard and soft wheats, typically 80:20 ratio.

As the name suggests, all-purpose flour is suitable for all types of baked goods such as bread, biscuits, pizza, cookies, muffins, etc. It is also used in thickening gravies and sauces.

  • Due to bran removal and loss of nutrients, all purpose flour is usually enriched with vitamins and minerals.
  • It is available commercially as bleached or unbleached
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Origin

Wheat flour is one of the most common food ingredients throughout the world. The availability of different wheat varieties has defined the types of baked goods adopted by populations. Millers can produce flours to meet commercial bakers’ needs for making cakes, breads, pastries, semolina, all-purpose and many others.

This type of flour was traditionally developed in the Southern region of the United States and then spread to the North. It is made either from:

Commercial production

Several steps are involved in producing this flour:

Composition and nutrition

Nutrients in AP flour (/100g):1

Energy 367 kcal
Protein 10 g
Total lipid 0 g
Carbohydrates 76.67 g
Fiber 3.3 g
Sugars 0 g
Calcium 33 mg
Iron 4.33 mg
Potassium 133 mg
Thiamin 1 mg
Riboflavin 0.33 mg

Function

Functionality of all-purpose flour is determined by several factors, such as:2

Flour that is freshly milled or ‘green’ does not make doughs and bread with proper rheology and texture. So, there’s the need for aging or bleaching. This step is beneficial in terms of:

Application

All-purpose flour is essential for the structure of traditional baked goods such as:

It should be noted that cakes made of this type of flour are typically not as light or tender as cakes made out of cake flour. Similarly, bread made with all-purpose flour tends to be softer than that made of bread flour.

 

All-purpose flour can also be combined with other types of flour such as durum to produce semolina bread, whole wheat flour to produce whole wheat bread, or soybeans to produce spaghetti.

FDA regulation

Cereal flours are regulated by FDA under 21CFR137.105.3

References

  1. All-purpose flour. Access data. Fda. Gov. April 01. 2019. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/550231/nutrients. Last accessed by Jan 02. 2020.
  2. What are the functions of flour in baking? https://living.thebump.com/functions-flour-baking-8798.html. Last accessed by Jan 02. 2020.
  3. CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21CFR137.105. Accessdata. Fda. gov. April 01. 2019. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=137.105. Last accessed by Jan 02. 2020.