Generally, winter wheats tend to be soft, and spring wheats hard, but that’s not always the case — some spring wheats are also soft.
Soft Wheat kernels require less force and energy to grind them up than do hard wheat kernels. Owing to this, less of the starch is “damaged”, which means it doesn’t absorb as much moisture as does flour from hard wheat.
Soft Wheat flours will be 7 to 8 percent gluten, compared with hard wheat flours, which will be 10 to 16 percent gluten.
Soft Wheat flour feels a bit like body powder; hard wheat flour feels more granular. When you shake flour from soft wheat in your hand, it will tend to clump. When you shake flour from hard wheat in your hand, it will fall in separate particles.
Use Soft Wheat flours is used for stuff made from batters — cakes, cookies, muffins, and as a thickener in liquids such as soups. In general, Soft Wheat Flour is used for things that don’t need a strong flour to capture gas released by yeast. This includes items such as cakes, cookies, crackers, pastries, pie crusts, wafers including ice cream cones, quick breads, muffins, etc.
Some Soft Wheat flours are also good for flat breads.