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Flour - all those numbers!


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I wanted to buy some plain wholemeal flour suitable for baking a cake the other day. ( I presumed I would not find the self-raising variety, but thought I would be ok with plain and would add baking powder.)

But I was totally confused with the numbers, that I have seen discussed on here in the context of bread-making.

Much of the flour was labelled for bread-making, so I assumed it would be totally unsuitable for cake-making. I have ended up with "Farine de blé semi-complete, Type 80". Does that sound ok for cakes? Idun?

I have postponed making the cake in the meantime...

Many thanks in advance

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You can buy flour which is labelled 'gateau flour'-it's a self raising flour. Some people say it's not the same as UK SR flour but I never have problems making sponge cakes with it and they rise ok.

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Which flour would you buy in the UK?

Personally, I'd just buy the cheapest from somewhere like Intermarché. And if it had bits in that I didn't want, I'd stick it in a liquidiser and get rid of said bits, then I'd add baking powder as the rising agent.

 I only have one recipe for a cake with whole meal flour, that I make occasionally. My recipe is a spice cake with fruit in it, it is OK just to eat, with butter spread on each slice and it is rather nice. I sometimes just use some wholemeal  flour in scones and pastry.

edit, sorry got disturbed whilst posting, yes use what you have bought, but it sounds like half white, half wholemeal, and I reckon would give a lighter cake than all whole meal, depends what you like really doesn't it. I would certainly  use baking powder with it.

And I used to buy white farine a gateau avec levante dedans, but I always added a bit more anyway.[Www]

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Thanks folks.

In England I can buy wholemeal self-raising flour, which I use for carrot cake etc. but the small supply that I brought to France with me has been used up, hence my quest.

I really would like to understand this numbering system for flour though.

I have used "Farine pour gateaux" in place of normal white self-raising flour and it seems to work ok, though probably could do with an extra dose of raising agent, so I will give that a try next, idun, thanks.



aha, found this on Le Monde website, so in case anyone else is floundering among the flours, here it is:

On aura donc aux extrêmes la farine de type 45 la plus pure, la plus blanche mais qui a perdu beaucoup d’éléments nutritifs et à l’inverse la farine de type 150 dite complète ou intégrale qui contient toutes les parties du grain de blé et qui a gardé ses minéraux et vitamines (B et E essentiellement).

On retrouve donc 6 principaux types de farine en partant de la plus « pure » :

- Type 45 : Farine blanche à pâtisserie ou « fleur de farine » destinée à la pâtisserie.

- Type 55 : Farine blanche ordinaire destinée aux pains blancs, pâtes à tarte et pizzas.

- Type 65 : Farine blanche pour pains spéciaux et pizzas.

- Type 80 : Farine bise ou semi-complète pour les pains spéciaux.

- Type 110 : Farine complète pour pains bis et pains complets.

- Type 150 : Farine dite intégrale pour pains au son.
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Bonjour, Angela, sorry for the late response; just seen your post.

I use 150 for cakes but I don't often make a cake consisting only of wholemeal flour so I would probably mix that 50/50 with white flour and put in a bit more BP than I would normally.

Now and again, I make scones like that and a sort of wheaten "sponge" cake.  I reserve it specially for making rock cakes with extra spices and they usually taste pretty good;

Hope your cake turns out really tasty for Wooly though I thought he shouldn't eat too many sweet things?  Sorry, Wools, this is in revenge for all the times you've had a laugh at my expense [kiss]

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As I have always said, I used to use the 45 for bread, always have, sometimes I would half and half it with wholemeal, all wholemeal is toooooo heavy for my taste.

I was always told that I should not use the cheapest, but I do, in fact I still do here. Absolutely nothing wrong with the stuff I produce, if there was, either I'd buy the proper flour or just not bother.

edit, apparently it is the 55 I use for my bread. The cheapest did me very well for very many year![Www]

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Oooh, sorry Pomme, I seem to have missed your post. What a wealth of info!

For those interested, here is the bit relevant to French flours from Pomme's link:

French flour type numbers (type de farine) are a factor 10 smaller than those used in Germany, because they indicate the ash content (in milligrams) per 10 g flour.

Type 55 is the standard, hard-wheat white flour for baking, including puff pastries ("pâte feuilletée").

Type 45 is often called pastry flour, and is generally from a softer wheat (this corresponds to what older French texts call "farine de gruau"). Some recipes use Type 45 for croissants, for instance,although many French bakers use Type 55 or a combination of Types 45 and 55.

Types 65, 80, and 110 are strong bread flours of increasing darkness, and type 150 is a wholemeal flour.

I had indeed been wondering where "strong" flour (from hard wheat, and thus with more gluten) came in all that, but Pomme's link, above, explains it a bit.

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It's still very different from the 100% wholemeal flour from Canada and the UK. We've tried farine complete 150 from 2 different mills in the Gers and neither had that nuttiness that we like. good for the elimination too! It's something to do with the types of wheat grown.

If you look on the packets of bread mix flours in France they usually have added gluten.

Idun - for white bread I also sometimes use the cheap and cheerful you mention and it works fine.

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Couldn't help but think on this thread yesterday when I was baking. I always buy the cheapest flour for all my baking, apart from sometimes buying whole meal, but again the cheapest. And I really am a fussy cook in general, I expect everything I make to be at least 'good' as I always go for delicious.

I know people who produce dreadful baking, no idea if they buy expensive flour, like Bero or Spillars, which I think are extortionately priced, as are some of the posh french brands. It isn't as if I buy always buy the cheapest products, I don't. Because in some things, the quality of product means that it is a lot dearer.

Since I have been back I have bought one of the big flour makes once, as it was on offer. No one told me that whatever I made with it was better than normal and I could not see one iota of difference.

........ and that takes me to another thought........IF I wasn't such a fussy cook, maybe I would be rather slimmer than I am[Www]     ::::::::::::::::::::         [:$]

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