Baking a cake or baking cookies can be a fun pastime for anyone. It doesn’t matter what kind of diet you are on, out there somewhere on the Internet is a cookie recipe out there that agrees with your diet plan.
Depending on where you live, you may use different words for the same ingredient. Some people use all-purpose flour, while others say plain flour. So, what does this mean? Is all purpose flour the same as plain flour?
All-purpose flour and plain flour are the same ingredient. There are just 2 different names for the same ingredient. If your recipe calls for all-purpose flour but you have a bag of plain flour, then you have the exact ingredient required for the recipe.
Many ingredients have different names and those names depend on the history of the region where the names are different. For example, Americans say eggplant while people in the UK say aubergine.
You’re standing in your kitchen surrounded by different ingredients. In your hand, you hold a recipe for the dish you’re trying to make. Your plan for dinner is to cook up a delicious batch of hamburger helper, except you want the homemade version, not the boxed version.
You have everything you need: the beef, the noodles, the seasonings, but there is one required ingredient that has you scratching your head. The recipe requires all-purpose flour. You have flour, but it’s called plain flour. Are these two types of flours the same?
All-purpose flour and plain flour are the same ingredient. Companies processed these flours the same way. It's just an alternative name.
So, why is all purpose flour called plain flour?
Plain flour is a common term used in the UK. In Australia, manufacturers also use the term plain flour. However, all-purpose flour is a common term for flour used in Canada and the United States.
That’s not to say that the words “all-purpose flour” isn’t used in the UK and “plain flour” isn’t used in the US or Canada, but alternative names aren’t used as often.
Another alternative name for all-purpose flour is white flour or AP flour.
What is white flour? It is a general all-purpose flour designed for any recipe. There are certain types of flour designed for foods like pizza dough flour, bread flour, baking flour, etc.
But these flours are expensive and it is hard to adept them in alternate recipes. It would be a disaster to use bread flour for pizza dough. That’s why all-purpose flour is so widely used.
Using all-purpose flour will yield an excellent result in any foods that requires yeast. If you want a better result when you’re making pizza dough, then you should use pizza flour, but white flour will create a decently fluffy dough.
The same can be said for making bread with all-purpose flour. Using bread flour will create a lighter and softer bread with good flavor, but using all-purpose flour will also create soft bread.
How Is White Flour or All-Purpose Flour Made?
What matters most in using flour is the amount of protein in it. All-purpose flour uses a mixture of hard flour grains and soft flour grains that create a 10% to 14% protein level in the flour.
Plain flour is made by planting, growing and harvesting hard red winter wheat and soft red winter wheat grains. The average ratio of plain flour is 80% red wheat and 20% soft red wheat.
The red wheat and white wheat grains are grounded together in large steel rollers or hammers. The hammers or rollers crush the wheat grains at a speed so fast, it creates friction heat that destroys the wheat germ.
The wheat bran is also stripped from the wheat grains, which is why the all-purpose flour is so soft and powdery. All-purpose wheat flour is just flour that does not have the wheat germ stripped away.
Wheat flour is rougher and heartier. But it also means wheat flour has more vitamins and minerals than all-purpose white flour.
Is Bread Flour the Same as Plain Flour?
The most common type of flour used is all-purpose flour or plain flour. But this is not the only type of flour available.
There are many types of flour available for purchase. Some types of flour are only accessible by going to a specialty store.
Other types of alternate flour, like bread flour, cake flour, and pizza dough flour, are sold in small quantities at the grocery store.
There is a type of flour called bread flour. If you are baking bread, use bread flour instead of plain flour, as it is designed to bake a good loaf of bread with good texture and flavor.
But what’s the difference between plain flour and bread flour?
The difference between these two types of flour is the amount of protein. Bread flour requires a 12% protein level. However, all-purpose flour can range between 10 to 14% protein level.
So, it is possible that you can create a good loaf of bread with plain flour. But for bakers who need exact measurements, they will use bread flour whenever they can.
Alternative Names for Ingredients
All-purpose flour is not the only ingredient that has an alternative name. There are many foods that have different names. Here’s a list of some foods that have 2 or even 3 different names.
- Eggplant – aubergine
- Soda – pop – cola
- Sparkling water – seltzer water
- Cookie – biscuit
- Cilantro – Coriander
- Gas – petrol
Conclusion to All-Purpose Flour and Plain Flour
All-purpose flour and plain flour are the same ingredient. This type of flour has different names because people in the UK use the name plain flour while Americans and Canadians use the name all-purpose flour.
Plain flour is made-up of a protein level between 10% to 14%. You can use all-purpose flour to create a good loaf of bread, but always use bread flour if you can for an excellent quality loaf.