With all the different flour options available, it’s hard to know which ones to use at the right time. Sure, recipes can tell you, but sometimes there are better options for the loft of bread or batch of cookies you’re making. Here’s the ultimate guide to the different uses for all kinds of flour types.

White vs Whole Wheat Flour

White flour has a mild flavour and less nutritional ingredients due to its processed nature. Whole wheat flour contains protein and fibre from its lack of processing but it’s more absorbent than white flour, which can leave dough sticky if other flour types aren’t added into the mix. Both flour options can be substituted for all-purpose flour, which we’ll get to in a moment.

Bleached or Unbleached

Actively bleaching flour ruins the starch and protein content while also speeding up the flour’s curing process. This makes the dough less gummy and more flexible. Bleached flour rises better than unbleached, and absorbs more liquid than whole wheat flour.

All-Purpose Flour

More stable on the shelf than wheat flour, all-purpose flour is less nutritious than other sources. It also comes in bleached and unbleached batches. With no restrictions, this is usually used for baked goods, bread and cookies.


Considered an alternative flour source even though it’s technically a kind of wheat. It’s naturally sweet, mildly nutty and easy to work with. With no restrictions, it is best used for pizza crusts, bread and cookies.

Buckwheat Flour

Gluten-free and containing a nutty flavour, buckwheat absorbs a lot of moisture, so more may need to be added when baking. It’s best for pancakes, dense cakes and noodles but only 15-25% of it should be used when combined with other flours.

Rye Flour

A grain that has a tangy flavour and is naturally gummy. When made into bread, it stays fresh for longer but can be challenging to use when just starting out. Start with 25% rye flour and work your way up.

Barley Flour

Low in gluten and containing a natural malt flavour, it’s best to let barley flour rest overnight, letting the bran soften and making it easier to use. It’s perfect for making sweeter desserts and cookies but not for making bread unless it’s mixed with another flour source.

Rice Flour

Gluten-free flour option that’s coarse and usually combined with oat flour to make a pliable dough. While not ideal for bread, rice flour can be used for making sponge cakes, noodles and fritters.

Amaranth Flour

Dense with intense nut flavour, adding a complex taste to bread, cookies, bars and brownies. Works best when combined with wet ingredients, but shouldn’t be used alone or your backed good will be crumbly.

Oat Flour

Superfine flour that’s made from ground oats, it’s sweet and can be combined with wheat flour to make bread. Needs the structure of high-protein flour, like bread flour, for the best baking results.

Nut Flour

Made from pulverized nuts, which can be store-bought or made at home. Nut flour has a powdery texture and is gluten-free. Almond flour is the most common but any nut type can be turned into powder. It’s not good for making bread but can be combined with other flours for cookies or tarts.

At Casa Romana Sweets, we’re proud to offer the Oakville community gourmet food and baked goods made from traditional European recipes. With a hard-working staff that creates beautiful cakes and pastries from scratch, call us or stop by our bakery to place your custom order.