All-Purpose Glossary

  • All-purpose Flour:
    A white flour, is generally a combination of soft and hard wheats, or medium-protein wheats. It works well for all types of baked products, including yeast breads, cakes, cookies, and quick breads. All-purpose flour usually is sold presifted. It is available bleached and unbleached. Either is suitable for home baking and can be used interchangeably.
  • Barley:
    A cereal grain, has a mild, starchy flavor and a slightly chewy texture. Pearl barley, the most popular form used for cooking, has the outer hull removed and has been polished or "pearled." It is sold in regular and quick-cooking forms. Store barley in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.
  • Bread Flour:
    The type of flour recommended for recipes in this book, is made from hard wheat. It has a higher gluten content than all-purpose flour. Gluten, a protein, provides structure and height to breads, making bread flour well suited for the task. Store bread flour in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 5 months, or freeze it for up to 1 year.
  • Bulgur:
    A parched, cracked wheat product, is made by soaking, cooking, and drying whole wheat kernels. Part of the bran is removed and what remains of the hard kernels is cracked into small pieces. Bulgur has a delicate, nutty flavor. Store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months, or freeze it for up to 1 year.
  • Cornmeal:
    A finely ground corn product, is made from dried yellow, white, or blue corn kernels. Cornmeal labeled "stone ground" is slightly coarser than regular cornmeal. Store cornmeal in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months, or freeze it for up to 1 year.
  • Gluten Flour:
    Sometimes called wheat gluten, is made by removing most of the starch from high-protein, hard-wheat flour. If you can't find gluten flour at your supermarket, look for it at a health-food store. Store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 5 months, or freeze it for up to 1 year.
  • Millet:
    A cereal grain with tiny, round, yellow kernels, tastes slightly nutty and has a chewy texture. Store millet in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 years.
  • Oats:
    The cereal grain produced by the cereal grass of the same name. Whole oats minus the hulls are called groats. Oats have a nutty flavor and a chewy texture. Store oats in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months, or freeze for up to 1 year. Two popular forms include old-fashioned and quick-cooking oats.
  • Old-fashioned Rolled Oats:
    Oat groats that have been steamed then flattened by steel rollers.
  • Quick-cooking Rolled Oats:
    Oat groats that have been cut into small pieces-to shorten the cooking time-then flattened.
  • Rye Flour:
    Made from finely ground rye, a cereal grain that has dark brown kernels and a distinctive robust flavor. Light rye flour is sifted and contains less bran than dark rye flour. Store rye flour in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, for up to 5 months, or freeze for up to 1 year.
  • Wheat Germ:
    The embryo or sprouting portion of the wheat kernel, is sold both raw and toasted. It is extremely perishable. Once opened, store in the refrigerator no more than 3 months.
  • Whole Wheat Flour:
    Unlike all-purpose and bread flour, is ground from the complete wheat berry, and contains the wheat germ as well as the wheat bran. It is coarser in texture and does not rise as well as all-purpose or bread flour. Store whole wheat flour in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 5 months, or freeze for up to 1 year.
  • Wild Rice:
    The long, dark brown or black, nutty-flavored seed of an annual marsh grass. Wild rice is not actually a rice but a cereal grain. Store uncooked wild rice indefinitely in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator.