(redirected from All-purpose flour)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.
Related to All-purpose flour: plain flour, Bread flour


flour, finely ground, usually sifted, meal of grain, such as wheat, rye, corn, rice, or buckwheat. Flour is also made from potatoes, peas, beans, peanuts, etc. Usually it refers to the finely ground and bolted (i.e., sifted through a fine sieve) flour of wheat, which forms the largest proportion of all flour milled in the United States, Canada, and W Europe. Millet is ground in India, Russia, and China. Rye is much used for bread in N Europe, buckwheat in the Netherlands and Russia, and corn in the United States. Rice may be used for bread in combination with other grains richer in gluten. Wheat and rye flour can be used in baking leavened bread, as they contain gluten in sufficient amount to retain the gas formed by the action of yeast. Corn flour, rich in fats and starches, is a favorite for making quick breads. Graham, or whole-wheat, flour contains the whole grain, unbolted. This flour will not keep long, as the germ contains fats and ferments that cause deterioration when exposed to the air. Wheat flour is separated into grades by milling. In the United States, patent flour, freed of the bran and most of the germ, is the highest grade; clear flour is the second grade; and red dog, a low-grade residue, is used mainly for animal feed. The composition of flour depends on the type of wheat and the milling processes; gluten is the chief protein, and starch the principal carbohydrate, although some sucrose, invert sugar, and dextrin may be present. On the market are prepared flours, such as the self-rising, which contains a leavening agent, and numerous cake, pancake, and pastry mixes requiring only the addition of water. Flour improves if stored from six to nine months under conditions permitting the enzyme action that gives better baking qualities. Good flour, rich in gluten, has a creamy color and adhesive quality. Bleaching, which is accomplished by the addition of chemicals to flour to improve its appearance and baking qualities, was begun about 1900. The bleaching of flour has been a controversial issue since its beginning, with charges that it destroys valuable nutrients or is injurious to health; some bleaching agents have been banned (e.g., nitrogen trichloride), but new ones have been introduced. Bleached flours must be so labeled.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a food product obtained by grinding the grain of various crops. Most often flour is made from wheat, but it may also be made from rye, barley, corn, oats, sorghum, buckwheat, soybeans, and peas. Flour is used for making bread and other baked goods, pastry, pasta products, and mixed feeds. In addition, it is mixed with other feeds and given to livestock.

The chemical composition, the nutritional value, and the technical qualities of flour depend on the type and quality of the grain, the particular type of milling, the yield (the percentage of flour in the total grain weight), and the grade of flour (see Table 1).

Table 1. Chemical composition of wheat flour (in percentage of dry weight)
Whole wheat..........1469.611.
Patent flour ..........1473.610.
First Clear ...........1472.911.

Whole wheat and low-grade flour contain vitamins B1, B2, PP, and E, while patent flour and first clear have virtually no vitamins. Flour also contains various enzymes (proteinase, beta-amylase, alpha-amylase, catalase, lipase), which greatly affect the process of bread-making and the quality of the bread. Rye flour is most often produced as a one-grade, or straight-grade, flour. Also produced are a straight-grade 96 percent wheat-rye flour (70 percent wheat and 30 percent rye) and a straight-grade 95 percent rye-wheat flour (60 percent rye and 40 percent wheat). The yield and the grade determine the flour’s color, particle size, and ash content; in wheat flour, they also determine the quality and quantity of the crude gluten. Good-quality flour has a slight floury aroma and a fresh taste.

When flour is stored, its quality can alter. During the first storage period (up to one month) and under conditions of increased temperature (20°-30°C), maturing occurs (an improvement in baking properties) as a result of fat hydrolysis and oxidation processes. With protracted storage, the quality of the flour deteriorates. The moisture content of flour should be no higher than 15 percent. Flour with higher moisture content turns sour, becomes moldy, and may self-heat; flour with lower moisture content (9–13 percent) rapidly turns bitter.

Flour must not be contaminated with granary pests. It should contain no more than 3 percent sprouted seed and 0.05 percent harmful impurities. Metal impurities (up to 3 mg/kg of flour) are permitted only in the form of round dustlike particles. The color, ash content, and particle size of the flour are also control indicators for the production process and for the correct extraction of the various grain parts. To obtain high-quality products, wheat flour, depending on its grade and yield, should contan at least 20–30 percent crude gluten of the first or second group. To determine the technical qualities of wheat flour, the elasticity of the dough during kneading and rising is recorded. The qualities of rye flour are determined on an amylograph, which indicates the viscosity of the flour paste and, thereby, the amylolytic activity of the flour and the degree of starch hydrolysis. The baking properties of a particular flour may be determined from experimental bakes using the same recipe. (See.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


(food engineering)
A powdery meal obtained by milling wheat and other cereal grains or dry food products such as potato or banana.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Whole-wheat flour contains up to 115 milligrams (mg) of potassium, compared with 40 mg for all-purpose flour. It also contains calcium and traces of B vitamins (riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, folate) and iron.
Researchers have found that even children find white whole wheat more palatable in school lunch meals, especially when you replace a portion of the all-purpose flour with white whole wheat flour.
Fruited Eggnog Bread 2 3/4 cups sifted, all-purpose flour 3/4 cup sugar 1 tablespoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon ground mace 1 1/2 cups dairy eggnog 1/4 cup butter, melted 1 egg, beaten slightly 1 tablespoon rum 3/4 cup chopped, mixed, candied fruits 3/4 cup chopped pecans Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and mace.
Dust dates and raisins with 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour.
King Arthur Flour said in a statement, "Consumer safety is our top priority, and therefore, we are voluntarily recalling these specific lots of Unbleached All-Purpose Flour to prevent potential illnesses.
In a medium bowl toss the blueberries with the remaining 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, then transfer them to a strainer and shake off the excess flour.
In the description of whole-wheat flour, you said it can be substituted for all-purpose flour in most cookie recipes, but it doesn't hold true for bread.
King Arthur's basic buns recipe called for 3 cups of all-purpose flour. For the caraway rye buns, we initially replaced that with a half cup of rye flour and 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour.
In a bowl, combine 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1/2 tsp.
INGREDIENTS: 1 cup all-purpose flour; 1 tsp double acting baking powder; 1cup firmly packed dark brown sugar; one cup chunky peanut butter; 3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened; 1 large egg; one teaspoon vanilla; one cup milk; 1 cup semi-sweet chocolatechips; one cup heavy cream.
Blueberry Peach Cobbler PASTRY FOR 1 10-INCH PIE CRUST 1/2 cup sugar 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour Dash salt 5 cups sliced fresh or frozen peaches 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries 1 tablespoon butter or margarine, cut into small pieces Sugar Heat oven to 400 degrees.
(Makes 1 loaf--16 slices) 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon milled flaxseed 1 tablespoon fast-rising instant yeast 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar 1 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup water 1/4 cup skim milk 1 tablespoon canola margarine