Wheat flour is a powder made from the grinding of wheat used for human consumption. More wheat flour is produced than any other flour. Wheat varieties are called "clean," "white," or "brown" if they have high gluten content, and they are called "soft" or "weak" flour if gluten content is low. Hard flour, or bread flour, is high in gluten, with 12% to 14% gluten content, and has elastic toughness that holds its shape well once baked. Soft flour is comparatively low in gluten and so results in a finer or crumbly texture. Soft flour is usually divided into cake flour, which is the lowest in gluten, and pastry flour, which has slightly more gluten than cake flour.
In terms of the parts of the grain (the grass fruit) used in flour the endosperm or protein/starchy part, the germ or protein/vitamin-rich part, and the bran or fibre part there are three general types of flour. White flour is made from the endosperm only. Whole grain or wholemeal flour is made from the entire grain, including bran, endosperm, and germ. A germ flour is made from the endosperm and germ, excluding the bran.
Maida flour is a variety of flour used to make Indian/Pakistani breads such as Paratha and Naan. It is also used in Central Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine. Maida is a refined product of wheat. It is extracted from the inner white portion of the wheat after the outer brownish layer is removed. After the flour is ground in a flour mill, it is passed through a fine mesh (600 mesh per square inch) to obtain maida.
Though sometimes referred to as "all-purpose flour" by Indian/Pakistani chefs, it more closely resembles cake flour or even pure starch. Maida flour is used to make pastries and other bakery items such as bread, biscuits and toast. Pastry flours available in United States may be used as a substitute for maida.
Semolina is the coarse, purified wheat middling of durum wheat used in making pasta, and also used for breakfast cereals and puddings. The particles are fairly coarse, between 0.25 and 0.75 millimeters in diameter. When boiled, it turns into a soft, mushy porridge. This flour is popular in northwestern Europe and North America as a dessert, boiled with milk and sweetened, called semolina pudding. In South Asia, semolina is used to make savory foods like rava dosa and upma or sweets like sheera. It is sometimes also used to coat slices of fish, before it is pan fried in oil, which gives it a crispy coating. In South Asia it is used for sweets such as suji halwa. A popular dessert in Greece ("Halvas"), Cyprus ("Halouvas" or "Helva"), Turkey ("Helva"), Iran ("Halva"), Pakistan ("Halva"), and Arab countries ("Halwa") is sometimes made with semolina scorched with sugar, butter, milk, and pine nuts. It may also be cooked with water or milk and sweetened with squares of chocolate to make the breakfast dish "Grießkoch."