If you’ve got a hankering for an ultra-moist, deep chocolate treat that has a slightly crusted surface and all the best characteristics of both fudge and cake combined into one delicious bite, what you’re looking for is a brownie.
When you’re in the mood, there is nothing else that’s quite as satisfying and, with the right ingredients, you can whip up a batch and have them ready to eat within an hour.
The right ingredients are pretty simple too, most recipes call for cocoa, chocolate chips, eggs, butter, sugar, a pinch of salt and a dash of baking powder. And flour.
What’s the best flour to use for the perfectly balanced, slightly fudge-y slightly cakey brownie? The best flour for brownies is all-purpose flour. It’s important to be aware of the gluten content of the flour because this will affect the texture of your brownie, depending on how you like it.
There’s a good reason why neither cake flour or bread flour are going to work for you. So, read on to find out which types of flour for brownies work best!
What Does Flour Do in Brownies
There are two main components to the flour in your brownies: how much you use and how much protein or gluten is in the variety of flour you choose to use.
First, the more flour you use in your recipe, the more cake-like your brownies will turn out. On the other hand, if you go easy on the flour but use a little extra melted chocolate, you’re going to get dense, fudge-like results.
If you happen to like your brownies more like cake than fudge, you can alter the amount of flour in your recipe, but you still want to be sure to use all-purpose flour and not cake flour.
The difference between types of flour is mainly in the protein. Gluten is a family of proteins in flour that form when water is added to the mix. The gluten is what gives a dough it’s elasticity and strength. The more protein in your flour, the more bread-like your baked good will become.
Bread flour, for example, is about 12 – 15% protein, which is too high for brownies. Cake flour, on the other hand, only has between 6 – 8%, which would make your brownies flakey. There’s not enough protein to hold the mixture together.
Coming in nicely in the middle is all-purpose flour, which is between 10-12% protein.
Whole wheat flour is unique as well. While it’s technically high protein, it is made using the entire wheat berry, husks and all. The sharp edges of the grain cut through the proteins, shortening them and leading to a denser dough.
The Best Flour for Brownies
When it comes down to it, if you want reliable, consistent brownies, using a high-quality all-purpose flour is the way to go. Here are our top 3 choices:
|1.||King Arthur Flour 100% Organic All-Purpose Flour||Unbleached wheat all-purpose flour|
|2.||Bob's Red Mill Organic White All-Purpose Flour||Unbleached white all-purpose flour|
|3.||Jovial Organic Einkorn All Purpose Flour||Wheat all-purpose flour|
|4.||King Arthur Flour, Measure for Measure Flour||Gluten-free measure for measure flour|
|5.||Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour||Gluten-free rice & potato starch flour|
|6.||Bella Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Mix Premium Casein-Free Flour||Gluten-free baking mix substitution|
Let’s check them out in more detail below.
1. King Arthur Flour 100% Organic All-Purpose Flour, Unbleached
One of the reasons King Arthur is our first choice is because not only do they understand the importance of the protein in flour, but they want to educate bakers about it to make every home-baked good the best it can possibly be.
Other flour companies just want to sell flour. King Arthur cares about making your baked goods perfect, and if they’re going to go so far as to put the important Flour IQ information on the bag itself, you can be sure that what’s inside the bag is top quality.
They have to live up to the standards they set for themselves. They also happen to have 47 brownie recipes on their website, so you know it’s a favorite at their headquarters!
- Organic flour milled from 100% American wheat, never bleached or bromated
- The company claims to have the tightest specifications in the industry for selecting their wheat based on protein – you can be sure this flour has an 11.7% content perfect for your brownies
2. Bob’s Red Mill Organic Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour
This bag might not educate about the protein in flour, but it does specifically promise that it’s the perfect flour for brownies.
There’s also a personal note from Bob, a man who clearly is passionate about his products, and chooses his words as carefully as his wheat.
The focus of Bob’s Red Mill is all about nutrition, and this flour will make sure your brownies have as much natural goodness from the wheat as possible.
- Milled using an old-fashioned quartz millstone that makes sure the most nutritious parts of the grain remain (unlike high-speed steel rollers), so you get more wholesome goodness in each bite of fresh baked brownie
- Organic flour, never bleached, bromated or enriched
3. Jovial Organic Einkorn All-Purpose Flour
One of the biggest complaints about wheat products is that there has been so much modification to the original plant that what is now considered flour by professionals and consumers is treated like foreign material by our digestive systems.
Einkorn is one of the original strains of pure wheat, allowing Jovial to manufacture high-quality, organic flour that has never been hybridized.
- This wheat is grown in Italy where GMOs have been banned, which adds an extra layer of authenticity to the type of wheat used
- Organic, unbleached and not bromated
- Some people who have gluten intolerances may be able to digest this wheat
Life is unfair enough as it is that having to live brownie-free simply because you have a sensitivity or allergy to gluten would be too tragic for words.
Even though we started this article by telling you exactly how important gluten is to the perfect brownie, modern science and food gods have collaborated to create gluten-free flour that will still create a delicious brownie.
4. King Arthur Flour, Measure for Measure Flour, Gluten Free
There’s no need to mess around with conversions when you choose King Arthur measure-for-measure flour, you simply make all your favorite recipes exactly as instructed, just replacing the all-purpose flour with this gluten-free version.
It’s best suited for non-yeasted recipes but doesn’t require any other additional specialty ingredients to make perfect gluten-free brownies every time.
- Comes in a resealable bag which may sound like a small feature but it makes storage simple, keeping your flour fresh without having to worry about transferring it into another container
- The manufacturer fortifies their gluten-free flour with iron, calcium and Vitamin B
5. Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour
Bob’s Red Mill thinks the same way we do—everyone should be able to enjoy delicious, whole-grain baked goods.
They’ve developed a flour that is just as high quality and nutrition-focused as all their other products but made from rice flour and potato starch instead of wheat.
- Not just gluten-free, but tested and proven gluten-free and manufactured in a facility completely dedicated to gluten-free products
- Also vegan, vegetarian and Kosher Pareve and has no corn, soy or oat ingredients
- You can use this flour as a direct replacement in any baking, with no conversions, use it exactly as the recipe directs
6. Bella Gluten-Free All Purpose Baking Mix Premium Casein-Free Flour
Bella uses natural whole-grain flours and unmodified starches, but it’s entirely allergen-free.
They have a line of premade mixes, including a chocolate chip brownie mix which just happens to use their All Purpose Baking Mix as the primary ingredient, so they definitely walk the talk at this company!
- Certified gluten-free, non-GMO and vegan friendly
- Completely allergen-free: wheat, gluten, soy, nut, peanut, egg and lactose/casein
- Creates one of the closest flavors and mouthfeels to traditional wheat flours on the market
Can You Use Milk Instead of Water for Brownies?
Yes, you can substitute water in your brownie recipe with milk but it will alter the texture. Your brownie will be closer to a cake, but since it doesn’t have a leavening agent it will be a flat cake.
The extra fat in the milk will give more moisture to your mix, and it might be a bit too light to frost, so you’ll have to have a soft touch.
Why Won’t My Brownies Cook in the Middle?
If the outsides of your brownies bake up nice and crisp but you bite into a mushy center, you probably have a problem with either how long you cooked it for, or what temperature you set your oven to.
Try turning the temperature down and cooking your brownies for a little bit longer.
If you’re worried about burnt edges, you can protect the outer edges with a collar of aluminum foil.
How Do I Make My Brownies Cakier or Fudgier?
We briefly touched down on the flour quantity at the beginning of this post, but the real magic depends on the fat-to-flour ratio.
If you want a fudgier brownie, you need a higher fat-to-flour ratio, which means more chocolate and butter and less flour.
If you prefer a cakey brownie, you’ll need more flour and you might want to add some baking powder to get your recipe light and fluffy instead of flat and mushy.