Flour is a basic household ingredient that is often misunderstood due to the different varieties available. To help understand this classic ingredient, below are the most popular types of flour and how they differ in cooking and baking:
All-purpose flour is made from a blend of hard and soft wheat flours. It is the most common type of flour and is used in a wide variety of cooking and baking including gravy, sauces, cookies, cakes, and muffins.
Cake flour is made from soft wheat flour that is further processed and chlorinated to produce smooth, velvety flour. Cake flour is good for making cakes and biscuits where a tender and delicate texture is desired. To substitute 1 cup cake flour, sift together ¾ cup all-purpose flour with 2 tablespoons cornstarch.
Pastry flour is similar to cake flour in that it is made from soft wheat flour, however it is not put through the chlorinate process. Pastry flour is a soft, slightly ivory color that produces tender, flaky pastries. It is often harder to find than cake flour and can be made at home by combining 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour with 2/3 cup cake flour to yield 2 cups pastry flour.
Self-rising flour is flour that has a leavening agent, baking powder, as well as salt, added during packaging. If you notice, recipes that call for self-rising flour don’t call for these ingredients. Self-rising flour can also be made at home by combining 1 cup all-purpose flour with 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt.
Bread flour is made from hard wheat flour and has high levels of protein. This high protein level helps the bread to rise and give it a firmer shape and structure.
Put the power of flour to the test and try this this sweet and tangy Crock-pot Lemon Chicken and Broccoli which uses flour as a breading for the chicken and a thickening agent for the sauce.
Crock-pot Lemonade Chicken and Broccoli
by Heather of Kitchen Concoctions: www.kitchen-concoctions.com
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 380 minutes Serves 6
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast pieces or equivalent
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (12 ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
½ cup chicken broth
2 tablespoon brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoon ketchup
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 ½ cup frozen chopped broccoli
Cooked rice, for serving
Cut chicken into 1 inch large chunks. Mix flour with salt and lemon pepper seasoning. Set 3 teaspoons of flour mixture aside. Dredge chicken in flour mixture and shake off excess.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until just browned on all sides. Add browned chicken to the crockpot.
Mix the remaining ingredients, except broccoli and thyme in a separate bowl and pour over the top of chicken pieces.
Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 6-8. During the last hour of cooking stir in the broccoli and thyme.
Serve over rice and drizzle with remaining sauce.