Friday, September 11, 2009

And now...Food Science Fridays

In case you didn’t know, Justin and I are food scientists. We both have Ph.D.s in food science from the University of California, Davis. And we thought you might want to hear a tidbit of food science trivia on Fridays. So, please send us your comments or even potential topics.

Today’s food science Friday fact is about flour. Did you know that there is actually quite a difference between types of flour like bread flour and cake flour? You might use all purpose flour for general cooking but bread flour and cake flour are blended and milled for those specific applications.

Bread flour has higher protein or gluten content for dough development and bread structure. The higher amount of gluten is critical for giving the yeast-raised dough enough strength to maintain its structure and form a loaf of bread. Cake flour is a finely milled, bleached flour that is lower in protein and higher in starch to create cakes that won't collapse with fat and sugar and that result in a lighter crumb and texture.

When companies make products containing flour, food scientists will choose the blend of flour that has the appropriate qualities for that specific application. We have at least three kinds of flour in our house: all-purpose for most things, bread flour for bread and yeast-raised dough recipes and cake flour for special cake recipes. Rule of thumb for home- never substitute cake flour and bread flour for each other!