The dissimilarity between potato starch and flour seems to be an unending debate. While the two seem to be closely the same because they both come from potatoes, there are some aspects which have to be noted carefully. Inability to separate one from the other is particularly important especially when it is used as an ingredient for cooking. Using the wrong one would affect the taste, texture and finish product plus the nutritional value would also be sacrificed.
How will you be able to see the difference between potato flour and potato starch by merely looking at them? This does not involve special skills. Potato starch is very similar to the typical starch. It looks like a light powder and when tasted, it has a bland flavor. The taste is flat because the skin is peeled before processing. It is also not cooked so it absorbs water only when it is subjected to high heat.
On the other hand, potato flour has a more prominent potato flavor. This is primarily because potatoes are not peeled before processing. It is also known to absorb more water. Aside from that it is also heavier and seems to have more density or thick texture.
The main difference between potato starch and potato flour is mainly on the production process. There are two different ways to create them—complex refining and simple grinding.
The more complex procedure produces potato starch. The first step is to have the potatoes washed, peeled and then refined. A procedure called rasping has to be done using machines, so that the extracts inside the potato can be obtained. Another step of refinement is done after rasping.
Processing of potato flour is much simpler. It starts with dehydration of potatoes to make them perfect for grinding which is the next step.
Usually, potato starch is used merely as a thickening agent. It is perfect for sauces and gravy. This can be a replacement for cornstarch or flour. It makes the end product more viscous.
Because of the flavor that potato flour has, it is often used as primary ingredient for baking. It is more appropriate for making dough because of its density. This results to making the bread a bit more gummy. It also enhances the taste, making the food more appetizing. Some bakers use purely potato flour when creating their masterpieces. On the other hand, it is also okay to mix it with flour that is made from wheat, particularly for cupcakes, cakes and other pasties which need to be a bit spongy.
There may be a difference between the two, but when it comes to dieting and nutrition, both are more ideal compared to ingredients that are made of wheat. This is primarily because both do not hold high amounts of gluten like the ordinary substitutes. For people who have diabetes or those who want to stay away from illnesses caused by fluctuating sugar levels, foods which use these potato-derived ingredients are more suitable.