Below, there are different kinds of Flours. I didn’t list them all, just some basic ones that I think you will easily run across. There are other kinds, at Health & Specialty stores, but what I have listed can be found in most Grocery stores. I’m not going over every single flour out there, but these are some of the most common.
All Purpose Flour — (See, also, self-rising) This is the most common and cheapest of flours on the grocery store shelf. This seems to be the bad stuff our mothers are weary of. If it doesn’t say “Unbleached” then it has been bleached. Plus, chemically, stuff has been added. Not that “unbleached” can be considered the Ghandi of all flour. It still lacks the chemical warfare “bleached” has undergone.
Self-Rising — It’s basically bleached All Purpose flour (unless it says otherwise) with baking powder and salt. It’s an easier step when people want to skip a few ingredients. I’d rather add my own ingredients. *winks*
To make Self-Rising Flour if a recipe calls for it and if you don’t have it on hand, simply add 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. People worry about the “shelf-life” of self rising flour that is bought in the store. if it has sat for too long, it won’t rise as it should.
Unbleached Flour— This is usually an All Purpose flour lacking the bleaching process and the adding of chemicals. While it doesn’t have the wheat germ or bran, it does have a higher protein count when compared to the general All Purpose kind. In fact, when you bake with this one, as far as texture, there really isn’t that much of a difference from the flour we have become accustomed too. (If you want the bran and germ back in, you can always add it.) This flour will cost you a bit more but not so much it will break the bank.
Stone Ground Flour — Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, in a land that we have forgotten, all flour was ground by stone. What once started as a woman grinding away with a rock (I’m assuming here) ended up leading to bigger facilities called Grist Mills. The Grist Mills use bigger stones and a more efficient way of grinding down grain. This is probably the healthiest form of flour. It preserves the bran and germ, keeping all the vitamins and nutrition. Believe it or not, there are still a few Grist Mills standing and operating today.
Whole Wheat/Whole Grain — Has all the good stuff a grain should have although you want to be careful because now a days, flours are processed quickly, which means chemicals and such are sometimes added to it. Enriched Wheat — bad. So make sure it is whole grain/ whole wheat. The texture is slightly grainier and if you are using it in place of a recipe that calls for regular flour, expect the batter to be thicker.
Soy Flour – a Flour made from roasted soybeans. (Gluten Free)
Almond Flour – A Flour made from Almonds. (Gluten Free). The Almonds have the skins removed and are blanched before grinding. Almond MEAL is a flour made of ground almonds with the skin ON.