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National Flour Month

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When is National Flour Month?
The month of March is always National Flour Month.

Are there other Holidays related?
Yes! See Food Holidays
See National Bread Month

What is Flour?
An ingredient: flour is a fine powder made by grinding cereal grains or other suitable edible plant matter that is high in starch. It is most commonly made from wheat — the word "flour" used without qualification implies wheat flour — but also maize (now called corn in many parts of the Western Hemisphere), rye, barley, and rice, amongst many other grasses and non-grain plants (including buckwheat, grain amaranths and many Australian species of acacia).

Flour is the key ingredient of bread, which is a staple food in many countries, and therefore the availability of adequate supplies of flour has often been a major economic and political issue.

Flour, by definition, contains a high proportion of starches, which are complex carbohydrates also known as polysaccharides. Wheat, and some other, flours also contain proteins called gluten. When dough made with wheat flour is kneaded, the gluten molecules cross-link to form a sub-microscopic network that gives the dough an elastic structure. This allows the retention of gas bubbles in an intact structure, resulting in an aerated final product with a soft texture, desirable for breads, cakes and the like.

All-purpose or plain flour
   This flour is a blended wheat flour with an intermediate gluten level which is marketed as an acceptable compromise for most household baking needs.

Bleached flour
   Treated with flour bleaching agents to whiten it (freshly milled flour is yellowish) and to give it more gluten-producing potential. Oxidizing agents are usually employed, most commonly organic peroxides like acetone peroxide or benzoyl peroxide, nitrogen dioxide, or chlorine. A similar effect can be achieved by letting the flour slowly oxidize with oxygen in the air ("natural aging") for approximately 10 days; however, this process is more expensive due to the time required.

Bromated flour
   This is a flour with a maturing agent added. The agent's role is to help with developing gluten, a role similar to the flour bleaching agents. Bromate is usually used. Other choices are phosphates, ascorbic acid, and malted barley. Bromated flour has been banned in much of the world, but remains available in the United States.

Cake flour
   This is a finely milled flour made from soft wheat. It has very low gluten content, making it suitable for soft-textured cakes and cookies. The higher gluten content of other flours would make the cakes tough.

Graham flour
   This is a special type of whole-wheat flour. The endosperm is finely ground, as in white flour, while the bran and germ are coarsely ground. Graham flour is uncommon outside of the USA and Europe. It is the basis of true graham crackers. Many graham crackers on the market are actually imitation grahams because they do not contain graham flour or even whole-wheat flour.

Pastry flour or cookie flour or cracker flour
   This flour has slightly higher gluten content than cake flour, but lower than all-purpose flour. It is suitable for fine, light-textured pastries.

Self-rising or self-raising flour
   This is "white" wheat flour or wholemeal flour that is sold premixed with chemical leavening agents. It was invented by Henry Jones. It can also be substituted by Maida when cooking under the Indian Cuisine.


Corn (maize)
This flour is popular in the Southern and Southwestern US and in Mexico. Coarse whole-grain corn flour is usually called corn meal. Corn meal that has been bleached with lye is called masa harina (see masa) and is used to make tortillas and tamales in Mexican cooking. Corn flour should never be confused with cornstarch, which is known as "cornflour" in British English.

Rye flour
This flour is used to bake the traditional sourdough breads of Germany and Scandinavia. Most rye breads use a mix of rye and wheat flours because rye has a low gluten content. Pumpernickel bread is usually made exclusively of rye, and contains a mixture of rye flour and rye meal.

Tapioca flour
This flour is produced from the root of the cassava plant and used to make sweet tapioca pudding and a kind of savoury porridge called fufu in Africa.

BrownRice flour
This flour is of great importance in Southeast Asian cuisine. Also edible rice paper can be made from it. Most rice flour is made from white rice, thus is essentially a pure starch, but whole-grain brown rice flour is commercially available.

Noodle flour
This flour is special blend of flour used for the making of Asian style noodles.

Buckwheat flour
This is used as an ingredient in many pancakes in the United States. In Japan, it is used to make a popular noodle called Soba. In Russia, buckwheat flour is added to the batter for pancakes called blinis which are frequently eaten with caviar. Buckwheat flour is also used to make Breton crêpes called galettes.

Chestnut flour
is popular in Corsica, the Périgord and Lunigiana. In Corsica, it is used to cook the local variety of polenta. In Italy, it is mainly used for desserts.

Chickpea flour (also known as gram flour or besan)
This is of great importance in Indian cuisine, and in Italy, where it is used for the Ligurian farinata.

Teff flour
This flour is made from the grain teff, and is of considerable importance in eastern Africa (particularly around the horn of Africa). Notably, it is the chief ingredient in the bread injera, an important component of Ethiopian cuisine.

Atta flour
This flour is a wheat flour which is important in Indian cuisine, used for a range of breads such as roti and chapati.

Tang flour
(not to be confused with the powdered beverage Tang) or wheat starch is a type of wheat flour used primarily in Chinese cooking for making the outer layer of dumplings and buns. It is also used in Vietnamese cuisine, where it is called -bot loc trong-.

Glutinous rice flour or sticky rice flour
This flour is used in east and southeast Asian cuisines for making tangyuan etc.

Peasemeal or pea flour
This is a flour produced from roasted and pulverized yellow field peas.

Bean flour
This flour is a flour produced from pulverized dried or ripe beans.

Potato starch flour
This flour is obtained by grinding the tubers to a pulp and removing the fibre by water-washings. The dried product consists chiefly of starch, but also contains some protein. Potato flour is used as a thickening agent. When heated to boiling, food added with a suspension of potato flour in water thickens quickly. Because the flour is made from neither grain nor legume, it is used as substitute for wheat flour in cooking by Jews during Passover, when grains are not eaten.

Chuño flour
This flour is made from dried potatoes in various countries of South America

Amaranth flour
This flour is a flour produced from ground Amaranth grain. It was commonly used in pre-Columbian meso-American cuisine. It is becoming more and more available in speciality food shops.

Nut flours
These flours are grated from oily nuts--most commonly almonds and hazelnuts--and are used instead of or in addition to wheat flour to produce more dry and flavorful pastries and cakes. Cakes made with nut flours are usually called tortes and most originated in Central Europe, in countries such as Hungary and Austria.

Flour can also be made from soy beans, peanuts, arrowroot, taro, cattails, acorns and other non-cereal foodstuffs.

Wheat Flour
Much more wheat flour is produced than any other flour.
see National Wheat Bread Month
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