Cooking is an art, and like any artist, the cook needs the right tools for the job.
In the kitchen, one of the essential ingredients is cornflour.
If you love baking or cooking, cornflour should be a staple in your cupboard; but what is cornflour?
Cornflour is a powdery flour obtained from finely ground cornmeal.
It’s used as a thickening agent in various dishes and to make cornstarch.
Cornflour is gluten-free and has a neutral taste, which makes it ideal for many different recipes.
It contains various nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at cornflour and its many uses.
We’ll also provide some tips on how to use it in your cooking; read on to learn more about this versatile ingredient.
What is Corn Flour?
Perhaps you saw corn flour in the grocery store and were unsure of what to do with it.
Corn flour is often overshadowed by other flours, such as wheat flour, but it has many unique properties that make it worth trying in your cooking.
For one thing, corn flour is gluten-free; this makes it ideal for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance
Corn flour is milled from whole corn kernels; the resulting powder is very fine and smooth.
Relative to other flours, cornflour is whole grain flour; this means that it still contains the hull, endosperm, germ, and bran of the corn kernels.
This makes it more nutritious than other flours, as well as giving it a characteristic yellow color.
It can also be white or blue-colored, depending on the type of corn used.
Corn flour combines well with binders such as eggs or water to form a dough like all other flours.
When used as a thickening agent, it works by absorbing liquid and expanding to form a gel.
This process is called hydration; the resulting gel can thicken sauces, gravies, and soups.
Corn flour is also used in baking; when combined with other ingredients such as baking powder, it helps cakes and breads to rise.
Raw cornflour tastes bland, but when used in different dishes such as baking, grilling, or frying, it unlocks a variety of flavors.
Its neutral taste comes in handy as it won’t alter the flavor of your dishes.
Cornflour is a versatile ingredient useful in varied recipes, both sweet and savory.
When used correctly, it can help create light and fluffy cakes and crispy fried chicken.
What is the Difference Between Corn Flour and Cornstarch?
Perhaps curiosity has led you to ask, what is the difference between cornstarch and corn flour?
Corn flour and cornstarch are thickening agents obtained from corn kernels but differ in properties, flavor, nutrient profile, gluten content, and uses.
However, these two ingredients look vaguely similar and are often used interchangeably, leading to confusion.
Below are common differences between corn flour and cornstarch.
Corn flour is the product of grinding whole corn kernels into a powder.
The resulting flour contains all the parts of the grain, including the germ, endosperm, bran, and hull.
It can be white or yellow, depending on the corn used.
Corn flour is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals, starch, and fiber.
While cornstarch is made from the endosperm of the corn kernel, this part of the kernel is composed chiefly of starch.
The kernels are ground into a powder and then sifted to remove non-starch components.
As a result, cornstarch is a pure starch with no protein, fiber, or fat.
It’s also white in color.
Corn flour has a subtle corn flavor that intensifies when used in recipes that require cooking or baking.
The flour can also take on the taste of other ingredients it’s cooked with.
Cornstarch is virtually flavorless; this makes it ideal for dishes where you don’t want the starch to alter the taste.
Thus, the role of cornstarch is to add texture and creaminess without affecting the flavor.
Texture and Use
Corn flour is coarser than cornstarch and has a gritty texture.
When used in baking, it gives cakes and pastries a slightly coarse and crumbly texture.
Corn flour can also be used as a binding agent or to thicken sauces, stews, and soups.
Cornstarch is a fine powder that dissolves easily in liquids.
It’s used to thicken sauces and soups without changing their flavor or adding any color.
Cornstarch is also used as a coating for deep-fried foods; it helps to create a crispy outer layer.
Cornstarch is gluten-free; this makes it a suitable thickening agent for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
Corn flour contains gluten and isn’t ideal for those with gluten sensitivities.
Corn flour is rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protein, whereas cornstarch is relatively low in nutrients.
Below is a table showing the nutrient content comparison of ¼ cup of corn flour and cornstarch.
Nutrient Content Comparison between Cornflour and Cornstarch
|Calories||110 Kjc||90 Kjc|
|Fat||0.72 g||0.01 g|
|Sodium||12 mg||0.0 mg|
|Carbohydrates||23.39 g||22 g|
|Fiber||0.93 g||0.0 g|
|Protein||0.96 g||0.03 g|
|Vitamin C||0% Daily Value||0% Daily Value|
|Iron||20% Daily Value||20% Daily Value|
As you can see, corn flour is a more nutrient-dense option than cornstarch.
When used interchangeably, these two ingredients can produce similar results.
However, if you want to achieve the best results in your cooking or baking, use the suitable ingredient.
One flour might be a better choice than the other, depending on what you’re making.
For example, corn flour is an excellent binding agent used to thicken sauces, stews, and soups.
It’s also ideal for making light and fluffy cakes.
On the other hand, cornstarch is perfect for dishes where you don’t want to alter the flavor.
You can also use it to create a crispy outer layer on deep-fried foods.
Yellow Corn Flour vs. White Cornflour
There are two types of corn flour – yellow and white.
Yellow corn flour is made from yellow corn kernels, while white corn flour is made from white corn kernels.
The main difference between these two types of flour is their color.
Yellow corn flour has a distinct yellow color, whereas white corn flour is off-white or cream in color.
Other differnces include:
- Flavor – Both flours have a subtle corn flavor. However, yellow corn flour tastes slightly sweeter than white corn flour. When it comes to texture, both flours are coarser than cornstarch. Yellow corn flour is slightly less coarse than white corn flour.
- Nutrition – Both flours are rich in fiber and vitamins. Yellow corn flour is a good source of iron, whereas white corn flour is a good source of calcium.
So, which flour should you use?
It depends on your preference.
If you want a sweeter flavor, go for yellow corn flour.
If you prefer a more neutral flavor, go for white corn flour.
If you’re looking for nutrient-dense flour, yellow corn flour is a better choice.
Various Culinary uses for Corn Flour
Now that you know all about cornflour, why not try using it in your culinary uses?
This versatile flour can be used in various ways to add flavor, texture, and nutrients to your dishes.
Gluten-free Baking: As gluten-free baking becomes more popular, corn flour is a great flour to use. It’s ideal for making light and fluffy cakes, bread, and muffins.
Breading: Corn flour can be used as a breading for chicken, fish, and vegetables. It helps to create a crispy outer layer when fried or baked.
Cakes: When mixed with other ingredients, corn flour makes a great cake. It’s perfect for making light and fluffy cakes.
Cheese Pie: This classic Italian dish is made with a corn flour crust.
What is Cornflour FAQs
Is corn flour the same as plain flour?
No, but they can be used interchangeably in some recipes.
Plain flour is obtained by grinding wheat, whereas corn flour is obtained by grinding corn.
What is the difference between corn flour and polenta?
Polenta is made from coarsely ground cornmeal, whereas corn flour is obtained from finely ground cornmeal.
What is Corn Flour in the US?
Corn flour is a finely ground powder made from whole grain corn in the US.
It’s often used in gluten-free baking and is known as Maize Starch.
What is Corn Flower?
The cornflower is a blue-colored flower.
It’s often used as a natural food coloring.
Great cooks should know, what is the difference between cornstarch and flour, to execute their recipes successfully.
The two ingredients aren’t the same, even though they are made from corn.
One is a powder, while the other is a starch.
They also have different colors, tastes, and textures.
Depending on what you’re making, one flour might be a better choice than the other.
So, the next time you’re in the kitchen, use the suitable flour for the job.