What is all-purpose flour?

A common item used in various recipes is all-purpose flour. As the name suggests, it can essentially be used for any baking or cooking purpose. Even beyond baking delicious cakes, homemade breads, and other items, it can be used for reasons such as thickening that pudding for dessert, or the gravy to dribble over the turkey. Sometimes, it is called general purpose flour, plain flour, or other related names.

Different all-purpose flour choices

When you're ready to purchase some, you will need to decide between the bleached and unbleached options. After it has been milled, chemicals are used to bleach the former type. This makes the flour appear more crisply white in appearance. You may, however, prefer flour without these chemicals inside of it. Additionally, some organic selections are available, which are produced with a lack of certain aspects, such as pesticides, or certain artificial fertilizers, for instance.

Measurement comparisons

Since recipes mention how many cups of flour are to be used, while the packages you buy at the store measure in pounds, you will need to convert the measurements when figuring how much to buy. Each pound of flour is roughly enough to fill 3.5 measuring cups. Therefore, a two-pound bag would hold 7 cups, and a ten-pound bag is the equivalent of 35 cups. If you are simply buying a large amount to use a little at a time, then finding the amount of cups held in each package is not as vital, although you would at least have an idea of how many batches of a particular favorite recipe could be made with that amount.

Preparing flour for the recipes

All-purpose flour does not need to be sifted, unless a certain recipe states that it should be. Use a metal spoon in the package to slightly fluff the flour before sprinkling it gently into a measuring cup for your recipe's dry ingredients. Do not "bring down" the flour by shaking the cup or tapping its side. Simply level off the excess above the top of the cup with a straight item such as a knife. Although weighing is not required, if curious you can check the flour: done this way, a cup should equal around four ounces in weight.

Additional information

To read more about all-purpose flour, including more information on these topics and other topics such as storage, substitution, and mentions of other types of flour made for particular uses, visit AllPurposeFlour.org.

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