For a single ingredient, wheat flour has an amazing number of iterations. It can be gruel or wedding cake, Wonder bread or baguette, croissant or hot dog bun. Flour seems simple, but it can give the occasional baker some anxiety — what exactly separates a good pie crust from a bad pie crust when it’s just flour, fat and water? Why is this cookie recipe calling for bread flour, and should I care that I don’t have it?
Read on for a primer. A little de-mystifying means better sweets for you.