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I have not used "instant flour" before as it is not available in my home country, and I have never seen it on my travels

I have seen a few references to it in North American cooking though. Does this product have any real advantages over normal flour other than for quick and easy sauces and gravies?

If so, is there a simple way to make a substitute?

I currently have no problem cooking and emulsifying flour into sauces etc.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Instant flour has the advantage of speed and ease. You can pretty much always do without - but for home cooks in a hurry, it can be an easy solution. Its used for sauces, but sometimes recommended for pastry work because of the ultra low protein content.

Normally, when adding flour to a sauce you'll need to make it into a slurry or roux and mix in correctly to avoid lumps. Then you'll need to cook it for a bit to get rid of the 'flour taste'.

With instant flour, its just pour and stir - no clumps, no waiting. My understanding is that this is ultra low protein flour that as been flash hydrated, cooked (possibly with steam), dehydrated, and then finely ground. This means its pretty much 'ready' to use - it won't taste 'floury' since its already been cooked and the superfine particles are supposed to not clump. (It may also contain some malted barley flour as a dough conditioner).

You could try (this is just an idea) making it at home by basically repeating the above process - steam cake flour, dehydrate, grind...but I don't know why you would. If you going to do all that, just make a slurry or roux or use cake flour.


This site lays out a few interesting uses. Using it for crepes because it will hydrate quicker. Using it for pastry work when you can get pastry flour and you don't want the bleachness of cake flour.

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There is some information on the internet regarding "instant flour". In the discussion I just read it is stated that "Wondra" instant flour is the leading USA brand for this and that it is a pregelatinized, low protein wheat flour to which some malted barley flour has been added. The article goes on to say that it is sometimes used for pie crust [probably due to the low gluten content], and that a reasonable replacement would be cake flour [which is low protein wheat flour with low or no gluten].

In my years of cooking, have not heard of this product before - so can't really advise on what you should do. I do know that I have made plenty of thickened sauces using plain old wheat flour with satisfying results for myself and my guests. I certainly never knew I was missing something.

If you search for "instant flour" in your favorite internet search application will yield a lot of information.

One other thing; from what I read, it sounds like this type of flour product would not lend itself to making a roux thickener.

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There is no such thing as a wheat flour with no gluten. –  Marti Sep 21 '11 at 0:50
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In addition to what Marti says (cake flour is not low protein/gluten, it's just lower than AP) - this isn't a very helpful answer. Respectfully, if you don't know the answer and don't know where to obtain reliable information then please don't answer. Assume that the OP knows how to use a search engine. –  Aaronut Sep 21 '11 at 1:13
    
This link might help you: food.com/library/flour-64. The book "The Science of Food and Cooking" by Allan G. Cameron might provide an understanding of the types of wheat flour. There are wheat flour products from which the gluten has been extracted; this is used to produce meat substitutes. Loma Linda foods is one producer. This process leaves behind the starch, and possibly some protein Another link: ochef.com/21.htm. Can't find a protein analysis of the wheat starch left after gluten extraction, the gluten is the source of at least most of the protein in wheat flour. –  Frankie Sep 21 '11 at 16:25
    
Of course cake flour is low gluten/low protein, as bread flour is high gluten/high protein. Clear flour, used by many bakers is gluten/protein fortified flour. –  Frankie Sep 21 '11 at 16:27

Wondra is widely available in the US. My mother always used it for gravies. I'm watching Martha Stewart use it for Sole Meuniere since the fish cooks so quickly.

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