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Sorting flour once and for all :) (wheat starch, all purpose, bread, cake, rice flour...)

astrbac | Aug 30, 201103:18 AM

Hello to my international fellow-food lovers!

Yesterday I ventured, for the first time, into something I have wanted to do for a long time - making delicious dim sum at home. For its FALSE simplicity, I chose Har gau ;) as the icebreaker. After a bit of Google-ing, one topic in here and a trip to a local Chinese restaurant, I went for it.

First obstacle were the wrappers.
They aren't available in Croatia anywhere and a trip to Vienna was obviously not feasible, so i set out to make them myself. Unfortunately, no pictures as I was pretty frustrated the whole time it took me to assemble the dumplings (about 4, 5 hours in total). Plus, it was my birthday yesterday, so i might have went overboard with Sake...

Various flours available (correct me on any that I might have wrong, I wish to have a complete and accurate list):

- All purpose flour (moderate amount of protein - gluten also?; finely milled)
In Croatia this would be (I guess) T550 flour, milled from wheat grains, discarding most of the kernell and milling the center section of the grain. Finely milled, like a powder

Italian Tipo00? Is this the one?

- Bread flour (large amount of protein/gluten; finely milled)
Could this be what is called over here "Special purpose flour for leavened doughs"?

- Cake flour (small amount of protein/gluten; also finely milled)
Could this be what is called over here "Special purpose flour for thin non-leavened doughs"?
Another one we have is T400 flour, milled even closer to the center of the wheat kernell, dicarding almost all of the husk and the "good" stuff; coarsly ground, you can sort of feel the individual "sand" grains in the flour

- Corn flour/meal (corn grains milled to various grit)
Mostly milled coarsely, for making breads and polenta

- Rice flour (finely milled, non glutenous powder)
More or less the same around the world I guess

- various whole grain flours (wheat, barley, oat, ... basically, specialty products, whole grains milled)
No confusion there

- Wheat starch
- Tapioca starch
Now, these are where the confusion kicks in. This wheat starch is supposed to be something that hand pulled noodles, wonton wrappers and some dim sum wrappers are made of.

Could our "weak" cake flour, T400 coarsely milled be a decent substitute? Low in gluten, yields weak dough

- Masa harina (haven't seen it, supposedly corn flour cooked in lye solution; finely milled)
Not available over here or in Europe (I guess); no substitute

I would like to have all of the flour types and their characteristics in one place, with descriptions and variations from place to place so folks from all around the world can make the right choices when cooking.


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