First used 30,000 years ago, flour has stayed with the human species through thick and thin. The paleolithic people first made flour with stone mortar and pestle. The Romans continued their production by grinding seeds in cone mills, and centuries later, we have hundreds of factories churning out tons and tons of flour every day.
With time the types of flour have diversified as our variety of edible items expanded. And it is surprising that with so much variety of flours available majority of flours are suitable for vegans.
Flour is the go-to base for cakes, biscuits, and confectionery items. If anything is guaranteed to always stay in vogue, it’s the use of flour. The different types of flour vary based on their purpose of use and their content. In this article, we will discuss the 2 staples of the bakery world: self-rising flour vs. bread flour.First, let’s understand them individually:
What is Bread Flour?
A type of white flour, bread flour is primarily used for baking bread. It can be substituted by all-purpose flour due to its similarity in texture and purpose. However, bread flour is richer in protein than all-purpose flour, giving bread the elasticity and chewy texture. Confectionery made without bread flour might be crumbly and fall apart easily. Bread flour contains 2 primary kinds of proteins: glutenin and gliadin. The addition of water converts them into gluten. Bread flour is a staple in the baking community due to its gluten content, giving it the “pull-apart” feature.
Can You Make Bread Flour At Home?
With such diverse utilities offered by bread flour, it’s a tempting idea to just make it at home. If you share a knack for cooking, if you are a baker, or if you simply want to save a few doughs (pun intended), making bread flour could seem appealing. Unfortunately, we break your bubble: you cannot make bread flour at home.
While it might seem like a little all-purpose flour can be turned into bread flour with a few additional steps, that is sadly not the case. Bread flour is complicated- it needs to be milled with extremely high protein content, and therefore no other flour from your kitchen cupboard can help in its creation.
Nutrition Facts About Bread Flour
Now that we know what bread flour is, the next question is whether it is healthy. The short answer is not quite. Bread flour is high in gluten and calorie content. Take a look at its nutritional information:
One cup equivalent to 137 grams of bread flour contains the following:
- Calories: 495
- Total Fat: 2.3 grams
- Saturated Fat: 0.3 gram
- Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 gram
- Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2 grams
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Sodium: 2.7 mg
- Potassium: 137 mg
- Total Carbohydrates: 99 grams
- Dietary Fiber: 3.3 grams
- Sugar: 0.4 grams
- Protein: 16 grams
- Vitamin A: 0.1% of Daily Value
- Calcium: 1.6% of Daily Value
- Iron: 6.9% of Daily Value
Now that we know all about bread flour, let’s move on to self-rising flour.
What is Self-Rising Flour?
Self-rising flour is also similar to all-purpose flour, barring a few additions. It is used mostly for soft and light confectionary items. The wheat used to make this type of flour has even lesser protein content than all-purpose flour to give it that soft and tender feel found in cakes and cookies.
The leavening agent in self-rising flour that helps it rise when baked can be attributed to the addition of baking powder. This kind of flour also contains a pinch of salt, so keep that in mind before adding any on your own. Self-rising flour is a convenient baking item that takes less time and effort.
Can You Make Self-Rising Flour At Home?
The answer is yes! Simply add 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder and a quarter spoon of salt to all-purpose flour, and you are good to go. Well, the texture of the baked goods might seem a little more tender than what you would have got with milled self-rising flour. This is due to the measurement of the recommended protein content in milled self-rising flour.
But, at the end of the day, the difference is not glaring, and homemade self-rising flour looks and feels quite similar to its milled counterpart. So, if you are in the mood for baking but do not want to make a trip to the grocery store for self-rising flour, you can make do with all-purpose flour just as easily.
Nutrition Facts About Self-Rising Flour
Now onto an essential component: is self-rising flour healthy? Well, once again, the answer is not quite. If you hear “flour,” chances are it is not the healthiest. Take a look at its nutritional value for yourself:
In one cup equivalent to 137 grams of self-rising flour, you get the following nutrients:
- Calories: 486.4
- Total Fat: 0 grams
- Sodium: 1767.3 mg
- Carbohydrates: 101.6 grams
- Net Carbohydrates: 97.3 grams
- Sugar: 4.4 grams
- Fiber: 4.4 grams
- Protein: 13.3 grams
- Calcium: 176.7 mg
- Iron: 4.8 mg
- Thiamine: 6.9 mg
- Riboflavin: 4.5 mg
- Niacin: 7.1 mg
Now that we know the nutritional value of self-rising flour, let’s move on to what we started with: bread flour vs. self-rising flour.
Bread Flour Vs Self Rising Flour: The Real Difference
What is the real difference between these 2 distinct types of flours? Here’s a chart chalking out the difference between bread flour and self-rising flour:
|Parameter||Bread flour||Self-rising flour|
|Definition||Milled in factories, this one is used for baking bread and other chewy confectionery with a “pull-apart” aspect.||This one is soft and thus used for items such as cakes and biscuits. It has a tender feel, and can be made at home.|
|Flour Used||Wheat flour||All-Purpose Flour|
|Texture||Chewy and elastic||Soft and tender|
|Purpose Of Use||Bread, pizza dough, and similar elastic bakery items||Cakes, cookies, biscuits, and similar soft, crumbly items|
|Home-made Options||Not possible to make at home||Can be made at home by adding salt and baking|
Can I Substitute Bread Flour for Self-Rising Flour?
If you use self-rising flour instead of bread flour while baking bread, it will be edible enough not to deem it impossible, but the final product will not be what you call proper bread, per se. The additional content (baking powder and salt) will add an unwanted taste to the bread, and the lack of proteins will mean a lack of gluten.
The bread will become dense without any elasticity without its gluten-rich feature. It will crumble upon contact and will not be fun to slice through. Moreover, if the yeast (vegan, belongs to the fungi family) that helps bread rise into a fluffy final product is replaced by baking powder, it completely alters the structure of the bread.
Can I Substitute Self-Rising Flour for Bread Flour?
Using bread flour instead of self-rising flour for your cakes and cookies will lead to more success than the switch-up mentioned above. However, you’ll still not get the consistency you want in such baked goods. Instead of being soft and crumbly, confectionery made of bread flour will be hard, chewy, stodgy, and elastic.
Using all-purpose flour instead of bread flour as a substitute for self-rising flour is better. That’s what I do while making my own vegan bread at home. However, if bread flour is all you have at your disposal, it will make some decent goodies. One such snack is pita bread, it is vegan and can be stuffed with various filings, or served toasted or baked.
So, if the question is the difference between bread flour and self-rising flour, the former is the elastic and chewy kind used in the making of bread, pizza dough, and such items, whereas the latter is the more tender and soft kind that is used for cakes and cookies.
Both are types of flours used in confectionery items, but while you will have more success replacing self-rising flour with bread flour, the alternative won’t be as much of a win. Try to have the proper flour required for the final product you are planning to make, lest you mess with the consistency, texture, or worse, the taste of your baked goods.