What is flour? It’s not an adorable little skunk. It’s not actually from a flower. But it turns out that flour etymologically comes from the French word fleur, traditionally meaning flower but wrt grain meaning the finest part of the grain.
Flour is just as you might suspect…it’s just ground up wheat grain. (Or nut, root, or seed if you’re buying specialty flours.) After seeing the huge difference in using bread and cake flour makes in baking the New York Chocolate Chip Cookies, I wanted to know what the heck the difference was between these different types of wheat flours. As usual, the Joy of Baking came through with a wealth of information. The difference arises from the type of wheat (hard or soft) it is made from, which changes the total protein content in the flour. From the Joy of Baking…
“The type of flour used will ultimately affect the finished product. Flour contains protein and when it comes in contact with water and heat it produces gluten, which gives elasticity and strength to baked goods. Different types of flour contain different amounts of protein. Therefore using a different type of flour than what is called for in a recipe (without compensating for this change) will alter the outcome of the baked good.”
The website above is a great resource if you don’t want to run out to the store for a special type of flour.
Later today, I’m going to make some ginger cookies from a recipe my mom tried out about a year ago. I’m going to make them with 2 different flour contents as a little experiment to see how the flour affects the cookie texture. I’ll let you know how it turns out!