What type of flour are you suppose to use when baking? Is it all purpose, self rising, or regular flour? I am using all purpose flour, but my cakes still don't come out right. Anyone who knows what kind I should use, please let me know. Thanks.
Mary from San Antonio, TX
If it doesn't say, then it should be all-purpose flour. Make sure that you are measuring correctly. Use a measuring cup that is meant for solids not liquids. Stir your flour then scoop lightly into the cup then use a knife or other straight object to take off the excess. Do not pack it into the cup or you will have too much flour. They do make a cake flour as well but it is lighter than regular flour so you have to use 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons for every cup of regular flour called for. Hope this might help in any way, Good Luck!
You can make your own cake flour by sifting all purpose wheat flour. You sift 3/4 of the flour plus 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. This will save you having to buy a second flour.
Sift your flour. Sifting can make a large difference in the actual amount of flour that goes into your cooking. If you have a food scale, weigh the flour as well. "1 cup" can vary, but 130 grams is always 130 grams.
I am a baker. The best flour for cakes is Cake flour. I like Softassilk cake flour. To make All purpose flour cake flour, take out two tablespoons and add two tablespoons of corn starch. Don't Add extra corn starch to All purpose flour. Sift first Then measure. If you are new to baking. Try using the reverse creaming method where you start with dry ingredients then you'll always have a light fuffy cake.
For bread baking, use bread flour. For cake baking, muffins, or cupcakes, use cake flour, but read the label -- you usually have to use slightly less cake flour than regular flour because it's ground more finely and therefore is more dense. For all other baking (including quickbreads like pumpkin bread, cornbread, biscuits, scones, and the like), use all-purpose flour if no type of flour is indicated, and self-rising if the recipe calls for it.
Food science has come a long way in the last 20 years, and even longer in the last 50, 100, and more years. Now we know which wheats and which grinds cause which effects on our baking. The older the recipe, the less likely it is to call for specific types of flour, since people generally just used what they had and hoped for the best. If a recipe is really old, it might call for "flour" for a cake, bread, pizza dough, pie dough, or anything at all, but you can still use different flours to further your ends. Cake flour is very finely ground and very low in protein and will therefore make a fluffier, softer product. Bread flour is higher in protein and will bind better with itself, making a more 'springy' dough. Regular flour is somewhere between these extremes. All-purpose flour has baking soda or baking powder added -- check the label, I forget which one, because I never use the stuff myself.
You can substitute whole wheat flour, soy flour, or other 'fancy' flours for some or all of the regular white flour. Check the label to be sure of how much. With WW and soy, I think it's up to 1/3 of the total amount of flour. For the flours of other grains, check their labels. Don't try to mess with matzah meal, matzah flour, or matzah cake flour unless you've got a Jewish parent or grandparent to show you how it works, and tastes, differently from regular flour.
A correction to Chayil's post: All-purpose flour doesn't contain backing soda or powder. She's thinking of self-rising flour.
Pastry flour has less gluten than regular white wheat flour, so will work better in cakes than hard winter white wheat flour.
If you are using all-purpose, you can add extra baking powder to make it rise. Use self-rising if that does not work or there is cake flour available.
For all of my baking, I use King Arthur brand flour. I use the All-Purpose the most, and I use a little extra baking powder if I want it to really rise. I also think that they make the BEST Whole Wheat flour on the market. Back to the All-Purpose, my pumpkin walnut bread would not be what it is if I did not use King Arthur Flour.
Yes, it costs more but it is WORTH the money. You can usually find it in Kroger stores for the best price or you can order it directly from the employee-owned company.
If you still do not want to pay the extra money for King Arthur, Gold Medal would be the next choice.
Chayil gave you some good, detailed directions, but I have to disagree with her on one point-and that is all purpose flour. If your recipe just calls for flour, that is all-purpose flour, If your recipe calls for self-rising flour, then you can buy prepared self-rising, or you can prepare your own very easily.
Self-rising simply means it already has the salt and baking powder mixed in. To make your own put 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt into your measuring cup and then add all-purpose flour to fill your cup. (Just remember to stir flour and spoon into your measureing cup lightly).
Do this for the total number of cups self-rising flour called for, then stir it up real well to mix the baking powder and salt in with the flour.
The same procedure may be followed for substituting all-purpose flour when the recipe calls for cake flour, only this time place 2 tablespoons cornstarch in your cup and then all all-purpose flour, dipping lightly as above. This will not be exactly as cake flour but makes an acceptable substitute.
I wish you much luck with your baking. Just don't give up and it will come to you with practice. Remember we all had to learn at some point.
All purpose flour is good for everything except baking. To use for baking you need to sift the flour three or four times then measure.
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