Home' Scoop : Scoop 50 Summer 2009 Contents 178 SCOOP SUMMER 2009
It's hard to picture a world without flour. Imag-
ine, no bread, no pasta, no noodles, no pizza, no
pastries... no empty carbs.
Foodies everywhere owe ancient civilizations a
debt of gratitude for giving us the gift of powdered
Of course, flour has come a long way since
some clever cookie decided crushing grain and
mixing it with water would be a better way to go
than ingesting it au naturale.
The flour selection propping up supermarket
and grocery aisles of today is a dazzling array of
different meals that have virtually all tastes, cook-
ing applications and dietary requirements covered.
Flour is no longer just a two-horse race between
self-raising and plain.
But with this diversity comes even more choice
-- and potential confusion -- for foodies that want
to ensure they're getting the right flour for the job
at hand. This Scoop cheat sheet won't guarantee
you're always going to turn out the perfect puff
pastry, but should hopefully stop you from
accidentally putting chickpea flour in your next
tray of fruit mince pies
STRONG AND SOFT The "stronger" a flour, the
more protein, or gluten, it contains. When knead-
ed, strong flour becomes more and more elastic,
making it the flour of choice for bread, pasta and
pizza. Strong flour is also known as baker's bread
and pizza flour. Semolina is another strong flour.
On the other end of the scale, soft flour is low in
protein but high in starch, making it better suited
for cakes and anything else with a high flour to
sugar ratio. Most store-bought flour is graded soft,
but at a pinch, its strength can be bolstered with
the addition of packet gluten.
CHICKPEA FLOUR Also known as gram and besan
flour, this high carbohydrate and high gluten
flour derived from crushed legumes is an essential
ingredient in pakoras, pappadums, onion bhajis and
MORNINGTON GLORY « If you're one of those know-it-alls
spreading rumours that Moss Wood has ripped out all of its estate pinot
plantings, kindly desist and pull your head in. And believe me, better I set
you straight than one of the Mugfords. Moss Wood has been consistently
producing pinot noir since 1977 and despite the vines being low-cropping
and low-return, are in no danger of being yanked or grafted over. In fact,
rather than decreasing their pinot holdings, the proprietors have gone the
other way, having recently released the Moss Wood Mornington Peninsula
Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008 ($45). Sourced from a location near Dromana,
the vineyard is tended to as per Moss Wood specs in Margaret River, as
is the winemaking. Side by side with the current release Margaret River
Moss Wood Pinot Noir 2007 ($58), the Victorian offering is finer-boned
with a touch more elegance and savouriness than its riper, more forward
West Australian offering. An intriguing new chapter in West Aussie pinot
to watch closely.
other Indian dishes. It also has its place in Mediter-
ranean cooking. It Italy, it's mixed with water and
olive oil to make the Ligurian pizza-like pancake
farinata while the French make a chickpea crepe of
sorts called socca. Look for it in Indian groceries.
RICE FLOUR While rice flour has found favour re-
cently among coeliacs and other gluten intolerants
(although high-gluten rice flours such as Mochiko
do exist), it has been used throughout Asia to
make noodles and thicken sauces and desserts. A
lighter flour, it's also an excellent choice for mixing
batters, particularly for tempura.
CORN FLOUR there are two sorts of flour with
corn in the name. There is cornflour, known in the
USA as cornstarch, used as an anti-caking agent, in
some cakes and biscuits and as excellent thicken-
ing agent, used extensively in Asian cooking. Some
cornflour is actually made from wheat. Then there
is corn flour, sometimes called maize flour or corn
meal (or masa or besan... ). It is perfect for tortil-
las and tamales as well as for baking cornbread.
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