Rice flour and all-purpose flour are the two types of flour commonly used for frying. But which one is the best?
In this article, we will delve into the details of both varieties and then decide which one is the best. In my opinion, rice flour is the best flour for frying.
Rice flour is a gluten-free product that comes in very handy for people with gluten allergies and also those suffering from celiac disease. It is also a healthy option for those on gluten-free diets.
Rice flour is made from whole rice. Manufacturers usually grind the rice to form a fine powder. Rice flour can either be made from white whole rice or brown whole rice. Rice flour has a very fine texture, therefore, there is no need to rebalance it with other recipe ingredients.
There are three main varieties of rice flour available. They include; sweet rice flour, white rice flour, and brown rice flour. Sweet rice flour is made from sticky rice and is best suited for sauces and soups. It is also used to make rice noodles. White rice flour has a neutral flavor and a very smooth texture.
It can be used in baking and frying. Brown rice flour also has a mild flavor and smooth texture. However, it has a shorter shelf life compared to white rice flour. It can also be used in baking and frying.
Rice flour has always been the go-to wheat flour substitute. A lot of people don’t like wheat flour because it contains gluten which tends to upset the digestive system.
I love rice flour because even if I do not have it in stock, I can always make my own at home. The process is actually very simple and straight-forward
How to make rice flour at home
Making rice flour at home will only take a few minutes of your time. Here is the step by step process.
- Rinse your rice thrice in clean water then soak it in water for approximately 3 hours. Soaking ensures that the rice grains grind properly.
- After three hours, drain the water and place the rice on a clean kitchen towel on your kitchen countertop. Spread the rice on the kitchen towel and let them dry for approximately 45 minutes. Do not let the rice grains dry completely, they should have a moist feel.
- Add the rice to your grain mill or blender. Add ½ a cup of rice at a time for the best results. Grind the rice until you end up with a fine powder. Repeat this process for the other cups of rice.
- Place a large skillet over medium heat. Pour in the rice flour and stir constantly until all the steam evaporates. This process will take about five minutes. The rice flour should be snow-white in color.
- Remove the flour from heat and let it cool at room temperature.
- Sift the flour to get rid of any clumps.
- Store your rice flour in an airtight container.
The best way to make rice flour at home is using a grain mill. There are several brands of grain mills in the market and most of them are very affordable.
Grain mills are designed to grind wheat and since rice is not as hard as wheat, the grain mill will give you amazing results.
You can try making rice flour in a high-speed blender. However, you may end up with a grainy flour that won’t give you desirable results in your dishes. I personally don’t recommend using a blender to make rice flour at home.
Advantages of using rice flour in frying
|It has a light consistency||Rice flour has a very light consistency and therefore makes for a good coating. Its consistency is lighter compared to that of all-purpose flour|
|Neutral flavor||Rice flour has a neutral flavor and will therefore not interfere with the flavor of whatever you are frying.|
|Absorbs the flavor of herbs and spices well||Because of its neutral flavor, rice flour complements the flavor of other spices and herbs. Rice flour allows other spices to shine in fried dishes.|
|Gives fried dishes a crispy texture||The crispy texture that rice flour gives fried goods is amazing. I love the crunchy finish that rice flour gives my fried chicken.|
|It is gluten-free||If you are on a gluten-free diet, rice flour should be your go-to option because it does not contain any glute|
|Has a high fiber content||Rice flour is rich in insoluble fiber that helps the body rid itself of waste. If you are on a high fiber diet, I highly recommend using rice flour, especially brown rice flour.|
Disadvantage of using rice flour in frying
There is one disadvantage of using rice flour in frying, so keep it in mind when you decide to use it. Here is the disadvantage.
- It does not absorb liquid
Because of its very light consistency, rice flour does not absorb a lot of liquid. Therefore, it can make your fried goods dry.
Like its name suggests, all-purpose flour is flour for general use. It is basically a blend of soft flours like cake flour that has a low gluten content and hard flours like bread flour that has a high gluten content and it contains approximately 12% of gluten. I am tempted to say that it is a perfect balance. Some people call this floor AP flour.
There are two main varieties of all-purpose flour. Bleached and unbleached all-purpose flour. Manufacturers make bleached flour through a process called chemical bleaching.
They use benzoyl peroxide or chlorine gas in the process. Bleaching improves the elasticity and strength of the gluten in the floor and also lightens the floor. Unbleached all-purpose flour is usually darker compared to bleached all-purpose flour.
Additionally, the crumb structure, texture, and volume of bleached all-purpose flour is better than that of unbleached all-purpose flour. Some reports have argued that bleaching makes flour lose the nuance and the original expression of the wheat.
All-purpose flour has several uses. It is used to make bread, cookies, pizza dough, pancakes, and waffles among others. It is also used for frying. I have personally used all-purpose flour for frying chicken, fish, and even beef.
So is all-purpose flour good for frying? There are several advantages of using all-purpose flour in frying. Here are a few of them.
Advantages of using all-purpose flour in frying
|Gives a golden brown coating||All-purpose flour is the go-to option for frying because it gives an appealing golden brown coating. When frying, we all want our dishes to have an appealing golden brown color and that is exactly what all-purpose flour gives you.|
|Neutral flavor||All-purpose flour as a neutral flavor that does not interfere with the flavor of whatever you are frying be it beef, chicken, or fish.|
|Can withstand prolonged heat||All-purpose flour can withstand long cooking times and prolonged heat which is usually essential in cooking meat dishes. All-purpose flour comes in very handy when I am cooking chicken because chicken usually needs a lot of heat for it to cook through.|
|Complements spices and herbs||Because of its neutral flavor, all-purpose flour blends well with other spices and herbs. You do not have to worry about the flavors clashing and ending up with a dish that has a weird taste.|
|Gives an even, all-over coat||If you are looking for a flour that will evenly coat your meat, all-purpose flour is exactly what you should use.|
Disadvantages of using all-purpose flour in frying
There are a few disadvantages of using all-purpose flour in frying, so keep them in mind when you decide to use it. Here are the disadvantages.
- It contains gluten
As discussed above, all-purpose flour contains about 12% gluten. Therefore, it is not ideal for anyone that is on a gluten-free diet.
Which one is the best?
In my opinion, rice flour is the best flour to use for frying. The main reason why I feel it is the best is that it is both gluten-free and with a neutral flavor that complements herbs and spices. Unlike all-purpose flour, rice flour is ideal for people with celiac disease or gluten allergies.
With rice flour, you get the best of both worlds. Your fried dishes an amazing crispy and crunchy texture and they will also maintain the flavor of the spices and herbs you used.
You also get to enjoy the health benefits that come with using rice flour. Research has shown that rice flour plays a role in lowering the cholesterol levels in the body Rice flour also improves digestive health since it is a good source of fiber. Research has also shown that rice flour improves liver health.
Both rice flour and all-purpose flour are good for frying, but the advantages of using rice flour outweigh those of all-purpose flour. If you do not have any gluten allergies you are free to use either of the two.