All-purpose flour is a common ingredient widely used by millions of people throughout the globe. If you need to use all purpose, but it is not available in your local supermarket, you should not panic. Is all purpose flour the same as plain flour?
The name “all-purpose flour” is commonly used in the United States. It has other names, though in other countries.
Is All purpose Flour the Same as Plain Flour?
In the US and Canada, all-purpose flour is widely used because of its wide availability and long shelf life. It is exceedingly versatile, too.
In the UK, all-purpose flour is the same as plain flour. All-purpose flour is used in bread, biscuits, and crumbling pie crust. It can also be used for coating veggies and meats, and as a thickening agent for soups, gravies, and sauces. So, if the recipe calls for “flour,” most likely it is referring to all-purpose flour.
In Australia, plain flour is equal to all-purpose flour. If you are using an American recipe for your cakes, pie crusts, sweets, or even bread, and one of the ingredients is all- purpose flour , simply add plain flour.
In Australia, self-raising flour is also called plain four. While self-raising flour is common in Australis, it is unheard of in other countries. So, never mistake self-raising flour for all purpose flour or plain flour.
All purpose flour is known in countries like the US and Plain flour is known in countries like the UK and Australia.
You can easily get away with using all purpose flour in the place of plain flour or vice-versa unless your recipe requires cake flour, bread flour, or self-rising flour.
There are, however, some small differences between all purpose flour and plain flour. This can be attributed to the fact that they are made in different countries, thus they are milled from different kinds of wheat.
This is not a concern, though because the differences primarily is in terms of hardness and gluten content.
What is All-Purpose Flour?
All-purpose flour is flour that can be used for almost all baked goods. It is rich in protein and contains and has an average level of gluten making it easy to use in almost all recipes. It does not, however, have the rising agent which can be found only in self-rising flour.
What is plain flour?
Plain flour is a powdery substance made from rye or wheat grains. It comes with a neutral taste, thus it is called “plain.” It is best used for cakes, bread, pastries, and many baked goods.
All-Purpose Flour vs Plain Flour
While it was mentioned above that all-purpose flour and plain flour are the same, they are two kinds of flour that have different purposes. So, is all purpose flour the same as plain flour?
1. They are different in terms of their components
- Milled from hard red wheat or a mixture of soft and hard wheat (20:80 ratio)
- Contains a combination of high and low gluten wheat
- Contains 8 – 11 % of gluten eight
- Has high protein content
All-purpose flour is used for baked goodies such as bread, cookies, biscuits, muffins, pizza, etc.
- Milled from soft varieties of wheat
- Low in gluten content
- Protein content is between 10-12%
Plain flour is perfect for pastry and biscuits. If your recipe calls for a crumbly texture, go for plain flour.
2. They are different in terms of texture
All-purpose flour is a little bit harder and coarser than plain flour. Being softer than all-purpose flour, plain flour is preferred when making different types of cakes.
Another difference between all-purpose flour and plain flour is, you can use all-purpose flour in more recipes than plain flour.
Is Plain Flour a Good Substitute for All-Purpose Flour?
Yes, you can. But, remember that you may be getting a bit of a different result. All- purpose flour or what Americans refer to as a mixture of soft and hard wheat has more gluten than plain flour or what the British refer to as flour with soft wheat.
While all-purpose flour and plain flour can be used interchangeably, some types of flour can be used in place of all-purpose flour.
All-purpose flour, being a versatile type of flour, is hard enough for bread and other recipes, and soft enough for baking cakes. Thus does not mean, though, that you cannot use other types of flour in place of all-purpose flour.
In most instances, plain flour is the most common substitute for all-purpose flour. However, there is a possibility that substituting all-purpose flour with plain flour may not be successful.
All-purpose flour is a mixture of soft and hard flour. It is a good substitute should also be a mixture of soft flour such as cake flour and hard flour such as bread flour.
If your recipe calls for 1 cup of all-purpose flour (130 grams). You can mix 60 grams of cake flour and 70 grams of bread flour and have a good substitute for all-purpose flour.
Swapping all-purpose flour by making your own mixture of soft and hard flour may, in many instances, not be necessary. If you are making hard rolls, bread, pasta, pizza, and most pastries, you can use cake flour.
What Flour is Closest to Plain Flour?
As mentioned above, plain flour and all-purpose flour and are similar. If your recipe calls for plain flour, you can just use all-purpose flour.
It is interesting to know that all-purpose flour, commonly used in the United States, is similar to the plain flour commonly used in the United Kingdom. All-purpose flour, though can be used in more recipes than plain flour.
Is all purpose flour the same as plain flour? Yes, they are. The differences in hardness and gluten content are what separate one from the other. All-purpose flour is harder and coarser than plain flour.
Do you often use plain flour as a substitute for all-purpose flour or vice-versa? Share with us some of your thoughts in the comments section.