When it comes to baking, choosing the right type of flour is crucial! Two common types of flour are red wheat flour and all-purpose flour. Both are made from wheat, but they differ in terms of their processing, nutritional value, and baking properties. I’ll cover each of these in detail below to help you decide which one is the right flour for you. Let’s get started!
Comparing red wheat flour vs all-purpose flour
|Red wheat flour||All-purpose flour|
|Substitution ratio (vs all-purpose flour)||1:1*||N/A|
|Common Allergens||Wheat, gluten||Wheat, gluten|
|Liquid absorbency||Medium (a little higher than all-purpose)||Medium|
|Pantry shelf life||1-3 months||6-8 months|
|Best for||Rustic, hard bread loaves and rolls.||Non-yeast recipes, cookies, biscuits, and some breads|
*You can substitute 100% for all-purpose, but the bake will be denser and darker. The best mix is 50% red wheat and 50% of all-purpose flour or pastry flour.
Differences between red wheat flour and all-purpose flour
Red wheat flour is the same as whole wheat flour. It’s made from the whole wheat kernel that includes the bran, germ, and endosperm, while all-purpose flour is made from a blend of wheat varieties that has been refined to remove the bran and germ.
What’s special about red wheat flour is that its made from hard red wheat berries, which are high in protein and gluten. This gives the flour a strong and slightly nutty flavor with a hint of bitterness, as well as a slightly coarser texture compared to all-purpose flour. Red wheat flour is often used in bread making because of its high gluten content, which helps bread dough rise and gives it structure. Of course, if you’re looking for a REALLY high gluten content, check out vital wheat gluten flour.
On the other hand, all-purpose flour is a blend of hard and soft wheat varieties, which gives it a moderate protein content and a neutral flavor. All-purpose flour is versatile and can be used for a wide range of baked goods, such as cakes, cookies, and quick breads.
Baking with red wheat flour vs all-purpose flour
As I mentioned, red wheat flour is a great choice for making bread and other baked goods that require a stronger gluten structure, such as rustic pastries and some types of cakes. This is because gluten, a protein that gives bread dough its elasticity and allows it to rise and hold its shape, is more abundant in red wheat flour due to its higher protein content.
This is why red wheat flour is often used in artisanal bread making for making harder, rustic loaves, where a strong and chewy texture is desired. On the other hand, all-purpose flour, which is lower in protein and gluten, is better suited for making softer bread like dinner rolls.
With red wheat flour, I recommend letting your dough rest for at least 30 minutes after mixing to allow the flour to fully hydrate and for the gluten to develop, which will result in a better texture and structure of the final baked product.
Ingredients in red wheat flour vs all-purpose flour
Red wheat flour contains only one ingredient, which is whole-grain hard red wheat.
Most of the whole wheat flour you buy in the United States is made from hard red wheat and sometimes it might just say “whole wheat flour” on the bag, so be sure to check the ingredients. There is also a different variety called white whole wheat flour that is made from hard white wheat.
All-purpose flour aka enriched wheat flour typically includes wheat flour with added ingredients such as niacin, iron, thiamin, and riboflavin to fortify it with some nutrients lost during the refining process.
Red wheat flour and all-purpose flour nutritional facts
|Per ¼ cup serving||Red wheat flour||All-purpose flour|
|Glycemic index score||59-84||85|
Red wheat flour is more nutritious than all-purpose flour because it contains more fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. The bran and germ in red wheat berries are rich in nutrients, which are preserved in the flour.
However, both flours are pretty high in carbohydrates. If you’re counting carbs, here’s a list of the lowest carb flours.
Since it contains all parts of the wheat kernel, red wheat flour has a lower glycemic index than all-purpose flour, but it’s still not considered a low glycemic index flour. All-purpose flour has one of the highest glycemic index scores for flours, meaning it is digested and absorbed more quickly, causing a faster and higher rise in blood sugar levels.
Red wheat flour vs all-purpose flour storage
Whole grain flours have a shorter shelf life compared to refined all-purpose flour and can spoil faster, typically lasting between 1-3 months (compared to 6-8 months for all-purpose flour). To extend its shelf life, it’s best to store red wheat flour in the refrigerator or freezer.
Red wheat flour vs all-purpose flour: Which is better?
The votes are in!
Red whole wheat flour wins for its higher protein levels that give rise to more nutritious, rustic, homemade loaves of bread. But if you prefer softer, fluffier bread or baked goods, go with all-purpose flour!
Red flour is a whole-grain flour made from hard red wheat, while all-purpose flour is a refined flour made from a blend of hard and soft wheat. Red flour contains more nutrients and fiber than all-purpose flour, but may produce denser baked goods due to its higher protein content.
No – wheat flour is a broad term that includes various types of flour made from wheat, while all-purpose flour is a specific type of wheat flour that is a blend of hard and soft wheat and is designed to be versatile for use in a wide variety of baked goods.
Yes, you can use a 1:1 ratio for substitution, but it may produce a denser texture and stronger nutty, bitter flavor.