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Arrowroot flour

Made from the fleshy root of the tropical arrowroot plant. It is very finely ground and easily mistaken for cornflour and used the same way. Normally used as a thickening agent, its main advantage over cornflour is that it does not alter the colour of the sauce etc. If the sauce is over thickened however, it turns to a slime texture and cannot be diluted again.

Barley flour

Made from very finely ground barley, it is rich in protein, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, and B vitamins.

Bean / Legume flours

Made from ground beans of all types. Used to enhance the flavour and add health benefits to breads, soups, etc.

Buckwheat flour

Made from the seeds of a plant originating in Asia, it has an earthy, slightly sour flavour that is usually tempered in commercial products by the addition of a wheat flour. Used for the production of soba noodles.

Chestnut flour

Made from dried, ground chestnuts and usually sold in ethnic markets.

Cornflour / cornstarch

A finely ground corn/maize product that is gluten free. Mostly found bleached white, but also available with a yellowish tinge to it. Mainly used as a thickening or binding agent, but can be used in a limited way for baking also.

Mix two parts water to one part cornflour to make a slurry or slake, this can be stirred or whisked into liquids for thickening.

Rice flour

Rice flour is primarily made from polished broken rice and is therefore usually whiter than wheat or rye flour, it is usually ground more finely also.

There are essentially two sorts of rice flour: one is made from the type of rice most often cooked at home and one from glutinous rice. The glutinous rice flour has a swelling property that results in a slightly rubbery texture to doughs and therefore ideal for the Asian pork dumplings etc. They freeze well because unlike other starches / flours, it does not separate and lose moisture when thawing.

It cannot however be used in baking; although rice flour contains a high starch content, it does not have the protein called 'gluten' of wheat flours.

Millet flour

Made from a small round grain resembling mustard seed, (often used for bird seed) it has a slight nutty flavour.

Oat flour

Oat flour is a fine flour ground from dried oats, has a characteristic nutlike flavour. Due to its lack of gluten it is best used in combination with wheat flour.

Potato flour / potato starch

Also known as 'fecule'. This is a gluten-free flour is made from cooked, dried and ground potatoes. Mostly used as a flavourless thickener for sauces, soups and stews, etc.

Rye flour

Ground grains of rye grass, that is a close relative of wheat but gluten free. It has a slightly sweet-sour flavour and due to its lack of gluten it is best used in combination with wheat flour.

Seven-grain flour

Seven-grain flour is a commercial blend commonly made up of millet, rye, corn, wheat, barley, oats and flax or triticale. Can be purchased in health-food stores.

Soya flour

Soya flour is high in protein and is usually mixed in with whole grain flours in recipes.

Spelt flour

This flour is lighter in protein and more easily digested than regular wheat flours. This flour is sometimes known as Farro and was the typical flour used by ancient Romans.

Triticale flour

Triticale is a hybrid cross of durum wheat and rye grains. It is high in protein, and is excellent for making bread. But it will take longer to rise than regular wheat breads.

Wheatmeal flour

Made by blending in a certain amount of the brown skins of the bran with white flour.

Wholemeal flour

Made from the whole of the wheat berry: the endosperm, the bran and the embryo.

Plain white flour

Milled from the endosperm of the wheat berry only; it has the bran, embryo and germ removed. It is graded as to its strength depending on its gluten content: weak, medium and strong.

  • Weak flour (also known as soft flour or hi-ratio flour) has a low gluten content of approx. 8% and is therefore ideal for delicate cake and sponge production
  • Medium flour (also known as all purpose flour) is produced so that it is suitable for products that have to be chemically aerated. It is weak enough to stop toughening but strong enough to stand the pressures of the gases resulting from the use of baking powders etc. It is also a good all round flour for bread-crumbing, batters, scones etc
  • Strong flour has a high gluten content, that makes it ideal for yeast products, breads and puff pastry
  • Durum wheat flour (also known as Durum flour and semolina flour) this is specially produced for the production of pastas.

The strength of a flour maybe tested by squeezing the flour in the hand:

  • a weak flour will cling together when the hand is open
  • a strong flour will crumble to flour again

Self raising flour

This is simply a convenience product; a medium strength flour with the addition of baking powder: 500 gm flour to 10 gm baking powder. This flour has a short shelf life due to the addition of the baking powder, it becomes less effective as the baking powder breaks down.

Baking powder

As an addition note, baking powder should be bought in as small a quantities as possible, it has a short shelf life and it becomes less effective as the baking powder components breaks down. It is simply made up of two common culinary chemicals: baking soda (bicarbonate of soda and tartaric acid), stable when apart but break down and cancel each other out over time once mixed.

Fresh baking soda can be made by sifting together one part baking soda to two parts tartaric acid.



Food and Cooking Tips
from professional
Chef Tallyrand


Born and raised in Plymouth, Tallyrand started his initial training as a chef at Plymouth College of Further Education. It was here that he was to learn his love, his passion for food and the culinary arts. From here he headed to Germany to complete his apprenticeship as Commis de Gardemanger.

Germany gave him his first taste of cooking for the rich and famous, as half way through his first year, along with the Sous Chef and a Chef de Partie, he was whisked off to Cologne to help prepare meals for a political conference, where amongst other dignitaries they cooked for Mr Brehznev, the then powerful Russian leader. This was to prove to be just one of the many celebrities he was to cook for or get to know over the years . . .

If you would like to find out more why not visit Tallyrand's own web site www.tallyrand.info (link in main menu)

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