It is not true that flour is flour and today the types we can choose from are multiplying. It is therefore very likely that one wonders which flours for cakes to use in every different situation and this is an opportunity to clarify the various characteristics of the flours. With some final culinary tips.
What flours for cakes to use: soft wheat
Let's start from what we most likely all know and think is one and indivisible. But no, we have to make some clarifications. There is flour Type 00, Type 0, Type 1 and Type 2, and then that of soft and whole wheat. The latter is obtained by grinding the whole grain of wheat and is usually used to prepare wholemeal bread. On the one hand, this process makes the flour rich in fiber, mineral salts such as ferro, calcium, potassium and phosphorus and vitamins but at the same time gives it a more grainy texture and also a dark color which is characteristic.
Let's see the other types of soft wheat flour. Type 00 is the most valuable and therefore reserved for special occasions, in the kitchen, such as for the preparation of fresh pasta and béchamel, or baked desserts. It is whiter and more valuable than the others because it is made only with the heart of the grain, so it is obvious that it has a very low percentage of extraction, has many starches but contains mineral salts, vitamins and little protein. Type 0 is not like 00 but undoubtedly it is a fine flour, used for bread and pasta, above all. It is extracted from the outermost layer of the wheat grain, so it has little protein but many starches.
We arrived at Type 1 and Type 2 which we still find in bread, sometimes, but also for sandwiches and pizzas and focaccias. These flours are not refined and contain a lot of bran.
Which flour for desserts to use: types
In addition to the flour of Wheat there is also that of durum wheat which instead is extracted from the semolina. It has a more amber color and a grainy texture. It is difficult to find this flour used in the preparation of doughs for pasta, bread or desserts because it is difficult to work and to extend. Better to use it to prepare pasta, dry pasta and semolina.
Let's take a look now at the flours that instead we can easily knead and that we can think of replacing that of soft wheat.
Rice flour may be the one suitable for biscuits, crackers, crackers. Celiacs love it very much because they can eat it and therefore enjoy good products, with all the nutritional properties of rice. Kamut flour derives from Khorasan wheat, and is used to make bread and pasta. In addition to proteins, it also contains lipids and minerals such as magnesium, zinc and selenium.
Let's move on to other flours like that of Corn and that of Soy. The first is used for polenta, above all. Also from corn we can also obtainCornstarch, an ingredient that in sauces or creams is used to give consistency while in desserts to give softness. This flour is also gluten-free, it does not have many proteins but on the other hand it is very rich in fiber and above all in vitamin A and vitamins of group B. soy flour it can be used for biscuits and cakes but also for bread and pancakes. In some cases it is associated with wheat flour in the same dough. An important feature that many diabetics will know is that soy flour has one of the lowest Glycemic Indexes, it also contains few starches so it is also digestible.
Which flour for desserts to use: chestnuts
Even from the dried fruit we can obtain special flours, with almonds, chestnuts, coconut. In most cases they are used to make desserts. To better understand their potential, let's see how we can use that of chestnuts. In the past it was widely used, it was intended as a staple food, instead of wheat flour. Now it has disappeared a little from our tables but we can recover.
If we are preparing fresh pasta we can mix it with soft wheat flour or durum wheat semolina or prepare potato gnocchi and Chestnut flour. For gluten-free gnocchi for celiacs, we can combine chestnut flour with a “white” flour specifically for celiacs. But let's move on to the sweets that are the theme of the article. With chestnut flour we can prepare different cakes and also the famous Castagnaccio.
When we make a cake with this flour we have to balance the various ingredients so that the cake does not get wet, since it retains a lot of moisture. They certainly come with chestnuts softer cakes, the same goes for muffins and plumcakes.
To do the Castagnaccio, there is the recipe on purpose. You need 300 g of chestnut flour, 50 g of pine nuts and 50 g of raisins. We can mix the ingredients with a spoon and add just enough water until the mixture is smooth and homogeneous. Those who prefer a richer Castagnaccio can add dried fruit, chocolate chips or whole cane sugar. The dough should be put in the oven at 180 ° for 40 minutes.