The most commonly found flour is all-purpose flour, or APF, often called plain flour, which comes bleached and unbleached, and it is used for everything from pie crusts to pancakes to breads. Other popular and consistently available varieties include cake, baking, tapioca, corn and rye flours.
Cake flour typically has a finer texture than APF and is particularly useful when preparing items with high sugar-to-flour ratios. Alternatively, bread flour comes from tougher high-protein wheat and is best employed with yeasty preparations. Corn flour derives mostly from milled cornmeal and is popular for both breading and use as a filler or binding agent in the baking and meat industries. Rye flours come in light, medium and dark varieties, and some speculate that it may be more healthful for diabetics than wheat.
For persons with celiac disease or similar allergies, choosing flours can be difficult due to the necessity of avoiding gluten. Consequently, experts recommend flours such as those derived from amaranth, potato, sorghum, brown rice and tapioca. Some oat flours also apply, as long as they are certified gluten-free. Vegetarians and vegans might consider chickpea flour, which is a staple in many south Asian cuisines, and it can be used to substitute eggs in meat/animal-free preparations.