What is 405 Flour Type?
So you walk into a German grocery store and decide to bake yourself a sexy cake similar to the ones you had in Canada. You confidently stride into the baking goods aisle with the recipe in hand. And now you’re faced with this!
You take a tentative step forward and are completely taken aback! They don’t have cake flour, and all of the flour bags have strange type numbers: Type 1150, Type 1050, Type 550, Type 405 flour.
I discovered the answer while studying for my exam and reading a lot of Konditor books! It’s completely pointless, and I’m sure you’ll fall asleep halfway through, but at least all expats will know the answer, which is only a google search away, and they won’t be left wondering in the Mehl (flour) aisle like a deer caught in the headlights.
What Does The Mehltype (Flour Type) Mean?
The mineral content of 100kg of (water-free) flour is represented by the flour type number. It is described in Konditor books as follows: If 100kg of Type 405 flour were burned, 405 flour grams of ash would remain. Because minerals are the only component of flour that cannot be completely burned, the ash remains would be your minerals. For example, if you burned 100kg of Type 550 Mehl, you’d get 550 grams of ash remains/minerals, and so on for the other types.
Things to know:
- Essentially the higher the flour type number the more minerals you are have in your flour.
- Flours with a high flour type (1150, 1050) will always be darker (more wholewheat) as they contain more of the husks from the grains and will always be higher in vitamins, minerals and fiber.
- Flours with a low flour type (405 flour) will be whiter if not completely white, will contain a teeny portion of husks and will be poor in vitamins, minerals and fiber.
In Germany, Type 405 flour is the finest ground flour available. It has the highest starch content, making it ideal for baking finer crumb cupcakes and cakes.
Type 550, which has a high protein content and, as you will see, is mostly appropriate for breads, is the most commonly used flour type in Konditoreis (confectionary and baked goods shops) in Germany (often cited in many of my books). This, I believe, is the reason why German cakes have a denser crumb and a more compact texture, similar to pound or coffee cakes.
Here is a little excerpt I found online that echoes this difference between 405 flour (starch-rich) and 550 (protein-rich) type flours a bit more:
“Flour contains starch. Different types of flour contain different amounts of starch. The starch content of the flour depends upon what type of wheat made that flour. Hard wheat contains high levels of protein, making its flour excellent for breads, while soft wheat contains high levels of starch, making better flour for cakes. Soft wheat makes cake flour, having a very high starch to gluten ratio, which bakes into a fine, crumbly cake texture. The interplay between protein, starch, sugars and other added ingredients helps determine the final texture and taste of the baked product.”
How to Measure Flour
Ingredients are usually expressed in cups in American recipes, but grams are more common in European countries. If you need to convert units for one of your upcoming baking experiments, this overview will assist you in accurately measuring the flour.
Does Flour Expire?
The age-old question: how long can flour be stored? Contrary to popular belief, depending on the fat content of the flour, flour can go bad.
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Finely ground flours, such as cake or pastry flour or white rye flour, have a longer shelf life and can be kept in a cool, dry place for an extended period of time. On the other hand, coarsely ground flours, such as wholemeal flours, can go rancid in as little as 4 to 6 weeks. Store your flour in a light, airtight container away from extremes of heat and cold; a room temperature of 16°C to 20°C is ideal.