Difference Between Plain, Self Rising, and All Purpose Flour

Main Difference – Plain vs Self Rising vs All Purpose Flour

Flour is a powder made from grinding various edible grains. It is the staple food in many countries. Flour can be classified into various categories based on different factors. Plain, self rising, and all purpose flour are such three types of flour. Although many people assume that plain and all purpose flour are two different types of flour, this is not the case. They refer to the same type of flour. Self rising flour or self raising flour, however, refers to a type of flour that contains leavening agents. The main difference between plain, self rising, and all purpose flour is that plain or all purpose flour does not contain leavening agents whereas self rising flour does.

This article looks at, 

1. What is Plain Flour or All Purpose Flour? – Content, Uses, and Characteristics

2. What is Self Rising Flour? – Content, Uses, and Characteristics

3. What is the difference between Plain, Self Rising, and All Purpose Flour?

Difference Between Plain, Self Rising, and All Purpose Flour - Comparison Summary

What is Plain Flour or All Purpose Flour

As the name all purpose suggests, this flour is suitable for all kinds of recipes. Plain flour is another name of all purpose flour. This is the basic ingredient in many baked goods such as bread, rolls, pizzas, etc.

Plain flour or all purpose flour is a fine-textured flour milled from the inner part of the wheat kernel; it contains neither the germ nor the bran. Therefore, it is white in color. It is made from a combination of high gluten hard wheat and low gluten soft wheat. It also has a protein content of 10 – 12%.

All-purpose flour comes in two basic forms: bleached and unbleached. Bleached flour is the plain flour that has been treated with bleaching materials. But, these two types can be used interchangeably. The main difference between all purpose flour and self rising flour is that it doesn’t contain any leavening agents.

Main Difference - Plain, Self Rising vs All Purpose Flour

What is Self Rising Flour (Self Raising Flour)

Self rising flour or self raising flour is a flour that leavening agents and salt added to it during packaging. The variety of flour used in self rising flour usually contains significant gluten content.  When a recipe calls for self rising flour, you don’t need to add leaving agents such as baking soda additionally. Self raising is sometimes used to bake biscuits and shortbreads.

Even if you don’t have self rising flour and have a recipe that needs, you can easily make it at home by combining 1 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt to a 1 cup all purpose flour.

The ‘rising’ in self rising flour doesn’t actually refer to the rising and proofing of yeast doughs. Instead, it refers to the rising that happens inside the oven.

Difference Between Plain, Self Rising and All Purpose Flour

Difference Between Plain, Self Rising, and All Purpose Flour


Plain Flour / All Purpose Flour is made up of high gluten hard wheat and low gluten soft wheat.

Self Rising Flour is made up of flour, leavening agent, and salt.

Leavening Agent

Plain Flour / All Purpose Flour doesn’t contain leavening agents.

Self Rising Flour contains leavening agents.


Plain Flour / All Purpose Flour is used to make bread, cakes, rolls, etc.    

Self Rising Flour is sometimes used to make biscuits and shortbreads.

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About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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