Contrary to popular belief, flour does not only come from wheat, but is obtained by grinding the seeds of legumes or cereals of all kinds. Therefore, there is a wide variety of flours that we can taste at the baker’s or use to make our bread at home.
The most common
Flour used to make bread is said to be bread-making . Only wheat (spelled) and spelled rye are naturally so, because these cereals contain gluten, a set of proteins which makes it possible to obtain a homogeneous and flexible dough and a light and airy crumb.
Flours are classified according to their baking value. This is mentioned on the packaging according to standards ranging from type 45 to type 150, which correspond respectively to the most sifted white flour, suitable for pastry making and to whole flour intended for the production of bran bread.
Wheat remains the most widely used standard flour (1.33 million tonnes of flour intended for artisan bakeries) because it contains more than 12% gluten. Then come the rye and the big spelled, appreciated for their richness in minerals and their characteristic tastes. But these contain far less gluten than wheat, and are, in fact, rarely used alone.
When the cereal contains little or no gluten, it must be mixed with other breadmaking flours and / or have gluten added.
This is how consumers discover or rediscover corn bread (characteristic thanks to its yellow color), barley, oats, buckwheat (buckwheat) or kamut (Egyptian wheat containing more mineral salts). Millet, quinoa, rice or oat flours are also available. Semolina, potatoes, chestnuts and even soybeans or chickpeas can also be used as flour supplements for more original flavors.
Most often, to vary from wheat flour, they are bread-making multi-cereal flours which are available in ready-to-use sachets. Because, in fact, the bread recipe remains simple and unchanging: two thirds of bread flour, one third of water, a little salt and yeast.
Should we prefer organic?
For wholemeal flours, it is better to turn to organic products. Indeed, these are crushed with a stone wheel, the envelope and the germ are therefore ground into very fine particles. Nutritionally interesting and assimilable, these whole flours can also potentially concentrate pesticides and herbicides.
However, organic wheats are generally in nitrogen deficiency because they receive little nitrogen fertilizer. The protein levels measured in these flours are often low, less than 10%. Organic wheat gives breadmaking flour and has the advantage of its disadvantage: a much lower gluten content.
Bread and gluten-free, an impossible equation?
Certain flours are naturally gluten-free: those of rice, buckwheat, chickpea or chestnut. Used alone, and without exogenous gluten, the dough will not retain the carbon dioxide that is released during fermentation, and it will be less flexible and light. These flours require different bread-making processes for a result which is also still far from the baguette.