I’ve developed a lively interest in baking lately. I never thought I could do such intensely satisfying activity. If I shoot from the hip, I’m a bit of a lazybones but when it comes to baking, I turn into somebody else. Quite the opposite, I guess. When I’m in the kitchen, I become someone who I never thought I could be given my past experiences of cooking burnt fried eggs or hotdogs. One can learn new skills if willingness is there and that’s as sure as eggs is eggs. Now let’s talk about flour!
When I first tried buying flour at a Japanese supermarket, I almost took the unsuitable one. The images printed on the packaging are pretty similar but these flour are actually intended to be used for specific purposes. The prices and quality vary from shop to shop.
If you’re new to the baking world, here’s a quick guide for your stress-free Japanese flour shopping:
All-purpose flour – plain flour/ weak or soft texture / for general purpose
Depending on the recipe, you can use this for making okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancake), fried dishes, some sweets, or noodles.
Cake flour – very fine texture/ good for cakes, cupcakes, scones, biscuits, and muffins
Bread flour – made of hard wheat/ strong structure/ best for bread baking
Wheat Flour (elastic flour) – similar to all-purpose flour but smoother and more spreadable
Best for cookies and meunière dishes.
These are just few of the commonly used flour in Japan. There are actually a lot more. It gets a bit confusing sometimes. Not to mention the different brands. If you can’t read Japanese yet, just try to memorize the characters that you see on the packaging. Or you can screenshot these pictures so you can compare with the other brands that are available at your nearest supermarket.