Good Product: Wondra Flour

Many people already use easily-dissolving Wondra Instant Flour for lump-free gravies and sauces. This wheat flour has been pre-cooked and then dried (much like instant rice), so it dissolves without seizing up when stirred into a hot liquid.

But its low-protein content and baby-powder-like consistency also make it great for other uses. It's one of those little secrets to keep in your back pocket.• If your summer plans include fish fries, pan fries, or breading and frying other meats and vegetables, instant flour makes a light and crispy crust. Try it in this recipe: Moist and Tender Chicken Breasts

• Julia Child recommended instant flour for crepes. Because the flour dissolves so easily, you'll only need a ten-minute resting period rather than the hour or so required for crepes made with all-purpose flour.

• When making pies, many professional chefs use pastry flour. But pastry flour isn't readily available on supermarket shelves. Since Wondra is low-protein, but not bleached like cake flour, it makes a good substitute. (We've read that Wondra is even more low-protein than pastry flour, but haven't been able to confirm this) Recipe for Basic Pie Crust

• If you butter and flour your cake pans, instant flour evenly covers the pan, without clumping in the corners. Another tip: Grease and Sweeten Cake Pans

Wondra is the most readily-available brand of instant flour; it includes a small amount of malted barley flour which helps with browning and caramelization. Pillsbury also makes an instant flour called Shake & Blend, but we've never seen it on our supermarket shelves.

How do you use instant flour?

Related: What's the Difference Between Cake Flour and Pastry Flour

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