Is All-Purpose Flour the Same as Plain Flour?

Cooking is an art, and just like using the wrong color can ruin your painting, the same is the case with cooking, if you properly use correct materials, you can make a fantastic dish, but if misused, you can ruin even the best recipes.

Moreover, many materials have multiple names originated from different countries or places. For example, flour is one of those ingredients that have various names. Like in the UK, it has a different name than in other countries.

So, people often wonder if they can use all-purpose flour instead of plain flour, or is all-purpose flour the same as plain flour?

Yes, you can use plain flour in place of all-purpose flour because they are names of the same thing. For example, in the UK, it is known as plain flour, while in the US, it is known as all-purpose flour, but both all-purpose flour and plain flour are made of wheat and are the same thing. 

Flour is quite an essential ingredient that is widely used in recipes like Pizza. So, using the wrong type of flour can make your recipe lose its worth.

We have said all-purpose flour and plain flour are the same, but what about the other types of flour as there are several flours available in the market. And not all are like plain flour or all-purpose flour.

So, to make it easy for you to understand different types of flour, we have explained several other flours used to create various recipes.

purpose flour the same as plain flour

Types of Flour

Flour is the essential ingredient of many popular recipes and dishes has its worth. And for recipes like Pizza, bread, cake, etc., flour is as vital as colors are in a painting. And with so many types of flour, it becomes confusing for people to choose a specific flour. So, here are all the types of flour which you can use in cooking:

1.  All-purpose or Plain flour

Plain flour and all-purpose flour are two names of the same thing. All-purpose flour or plain flour is made or extracted from soft wheat. It is readily available in the market and is used in a variety of different recipes. Plain flour available in the market is often chemically treated or bleached, making it appear in white. Due to being a bleached material, it has a protein percentage of around 10-12%.

Healthwise it is not so good for health, and many health-conscious people like to avoid it or replace it with other flours. Patients with diabetics should avoid it as even a small amount of it can increase the sugar level of the body. 

Uses:- It has numerous uses, but there is not a particular function of this flour. It is used in recipes like waffles, pancakes, pastry, sweets, fried chicken, and other fried recipes.

2.  Self-rising Flour

Self-rising flour was a pretty popular flour in England, as it was a great flour used to make different things like bread, cakes, etc. It is still used in numerous recipes all around the world. But confusing it for plain flour can make recipes go wrong.

As its name says, it tends to make the texture or surface of the recipe rise. This means that when you bake something with self-rising flour in it, its character will become a bit leaven or elevated. And it has around 8.5% protein in it. But it varies from brand to brand.

Self-rising flour is readily available in the market, but the best thing about this flour is that you can make it at home. Because it requires three ingredients, and one of them is plain flour itself. The necessary ingredients for making self-rising flour are:

  1. Fine salt ¼ teaspoon

  2. Baking powder 11/2 teaspoons

  3. All-purpose flour or plain flour 1 cup

Use:- It is used in making cakes, brownies, suet pastry, etc

3.  Pastry Flour

Pastry flour is a great flour that is used in baking products like pastries. The name pretty much clarifies that it is meant to be used in products like pastries such as pie, cookies, and some other light-baked products.

Its protein percentage is somewhere in between plain flour and cake flour. With protein around 8-10%, it is ideal for recipes that require a light texture and low protein. But people often consider it the same as cake flour, but the truth be told, it is different than cake flour as it has more protein than cake flour. And using it in place of cake flour or cake flour in place of it can ruin your end product. 


Pastry flour is used in recipes such as pastries, biscuits, pie, cookies.

Strong Flour or Bread Flour

4.  Strong Flour or Bread Flour

Strong flour, bread flour, strong bread flour, or hard flour are all the same flour names. It is called strong flour or strong bread flour in the UK, while in other countries, it is known as bread flour. As the name suggests, it is used to make bread.

It provides a perfect finishing touch to bread with a protein content of about 12-14%. In addition, its protein content makes it easier for bread to achieve a perfect airy and chewy texture.

Uses:- It is used to make bread-like products that require delicate and chewy structures, such as Sourdough bread, bread, white bread, cinnamon buns, bagels, choux pastry, and yeasted bread.

5.  Cake Flour

Cake flour has one of the lowest amounts of protein in it. And that makes it perfect for making fluffy products like cakes. Cake flour might seem similar to pastry flour, as it is also used to create products that require less amount of protein, but it not the same thing. Compared to 8-10% of the protein content of pastry flour, it has only 7-9% of the protein in it. 

Cake flour available in the market is made from perfectly milled wheat, soft wheat to be precise. The cherry on top is that cake flour is also made after bleaching it to a point where its pH becomes more acidic, allowing the flour to make cakes rise better and provide them a better structure so that they won’t fall.

Uses:- With acidic pH and low protein, cake flour becomes an ideal ingredient for cooking cake and cake-like products. So, it is used to make cakes, cupcakes, muffins, waffles, pancakes, scones, etc.

00 flour or Doppio Zero

6.  00 flour or Doppio Zero:

00 flour is a particular type of flour with a unique name.  The 00 in the name means that it is refined flour and has zero germs and the lowest level of bran. This flour refers to the flour used in making Italian pizzas and pasta. This Italian milled flour has a protein content of about 8-12%, but the unique thing is that it still maintains its chewiness after it is cooked, even though it has a high protein content. 

This is why Italian pizzas are famous in the whole world because even after they are baked, the Pizza dough still retains its chewiness and tastes excellent. This flour is made from hard wheat. And due to protein content almost similar to plain flour, it is sometimes used in plain flour.

Uses: – Due to its protein content and its ability to maintain its chewiness, it can be used in a variety of recipes such as bread, pasta, pizzas, white bread, etc

Sr No.Flour NameProteinUsed In
1Plain or All-purpose Flour10-12%Waffles, pancakes, pastry, sweets, fried chicken
2Self-Rising Flour8.5%Cakes, brownies, suet pastry
3Pastry Flour8-10%Pastries, biscuits, pie, cookies
4Strong or Bread Flour12-14%Sourdough bread, bread, white bread, cinnamon buns
5Cake Flour7-9%Cakes, cupcakes, muffins, waffles, pancakes, scones
600 Flour or Doppio Zero8-12%Bread, pasta, pizzas, white bread

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

Plain flour is used quite a lot in various recipes, but if you don’t have plain flour, then you can use these flours in place of plain flour after adding certain other materials to them:

  • Cake Flour
  • Bread Flour 
  • Rice Flour 
  • Chickpea or Garbanzo Bean Flour 
  • Oat Flour
  • Almond Flour

Plain flour can be converted into self-rising flour. The ingredients required for converting plain flour into self-rising flour are fine salt ¼ teaspoon, 11/2 teaspoon baking powder, and plain flour itself, about 1 cup. Mix plain flour and baking powder in a bowl and add salt to it. Whisk it together r, and that is it. Use it in place of self-rising flour.

Final Thoughts

Seeing different types of the same ingredient in the market can make anyone lost their mind. And when it comes to flour, there is much flour, and I mean it. So, if you like cooking, you should definitely have an idea of types of flours, use, protein content, and other features, as it can make it easier for you to choose your ingredients. And this article has covered various types of flours which are used in different recipes in the UK.

Steve here! I like to research and write about best kitchen and home appliances. If you are on the hunt for the best products, quick hacks, and interesting food options, my writing will surely help you out!