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Anything is good, in moderation. I cook because I love to and because I can share with those around me. I crochet for the same reason.

Do what you want to do, enjoy what you do and use it to touch those around you.

Jan 6, 2014

Things Your Recipe Never Told You - Flour

Welcome to the new series Things Your Recipe Never Told You.  Have you ever pulled out one of your grandmother's recipes and it was a list of ingredients and not much else?  Not what will happen if you substitute an ingredient?  What the heck is a moderate oven, anyhow?  This series will attempt to answer some of those questions for you.

First Up - Flour

If a recipe just says Flour, it is referring to All Purpose Flour.  All Purpose Flour (AP) is a blend of Bread Flour and Cake Flour.  Not all AP flour is the same as each company has its own proprietary blend of flours.  Bread Flour is high in gluten and protein to make your yeast happy when making breads.  Cake Flour is a very fluffy, low gluten and protein flour used for making cakes.  Cakes made with cake flour will be very light and fluffy.  Pastry Flour is the lightest flour of all, having the least gluten and protein of all (most sites I visited indicated about 3% less).  I have not used pastry flour and rarely find a recipe that calls for it.

Does this mean you cannot use bread or AP flour to make a cake?  Not at all - the cake will just be denser.  I put this statement to the test.  I made three cakes, weighing all ingredients to make sure I was comparing apples to apples (one exception - I used a large egg for each cake, but I did not weigh them).

This recipe makes 1 - 9 inch round cake.   The ingredient list shows weights and measures.

1 cup (228 g) Sugar
3/4 cup + 2 Tbl (127 g) Flour
6 T (42 g) Cocoa
3/4 tsp (2 g) Baking Powder
3/4 tsp (3 g) Baking Soda
1/2 tsp (3 g) Salt
1 Large Egg
1/2 (130 g) Milk
1/4 (49 g) Canola Oil
1 tsp (4 g) Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup (110 g) hot water

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9 x 3 cake pan (You can use a 9x2, but you will get a mounded top that will need to be trimmed to stack.  The same applies to boxed cake mixes)

In a large bow, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add egg, milk, oil and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed for two minutes.  Stir in water, pour into prepared pan.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes, remove from pans to wire racks and cool completely.

What did I find?  There was very little difference, the Cake flour cake was the tallest.  The all tasted delicious.

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