As a handy item around the kitchen, instant flour is a type of pregelatinized granular flour that dissolves quickly in any type of liquid. When flour is pregelatinized, it means that the starch molecules have been broken down with water and heat, and then dried. Its properties make it ideal for use in a number of different applications.
Instant flour is usually composed of wheat flour that has been pregelatinized and mixed with a small amount of malted barley flour. The result of this blend is that the flour has a low protein content, and usually has a slightly less acidic taste than is found with cake flour. Because it dissolves easily, the substance is ideal for just about any application where some form of thickening is desirable.
One common use of instant flour is to thicken gravies and sauces. The smooth texture that results from its addition means there is less chance that it will form lumps like using plain flour or corn starch can. Since the flour will dissolve just as readily in cold liquids as it well in hot, it is possible to introduce the flour into the sauce or gravy recipe before beginning to heat any of the ingredients.
Another application of instant flour has to do with thickening the broth for soups and stews. Because it does not take long for it to integrate with the liquid in the food, it is possible to introduce the flour into the soup or stew shortly before the dish is finished cooking. The smooth and even texture that results can help to enhance the enjoyment of any stew or soup.
It is possible to use instant flour in many recipes that call for cake flour. It works very well when it comes to making pie crusts from scratch, for example, and when baked, this flour only rises slightly, which leaves a thin and flaky crust for the pie. Many people also prefer the taste to that of cake flour, since the lower acidity tends to not take away from the flavor of the other ingredients in the recipe.
Instant flour is a great item to keep on hand. With uses that range from thickening stews to baking, this versatile flour is a great option that will often help to make food preparation a little easier.