Flour forms the structure for baked goods, so it is important to know how the flour you use will affect the texture of the your food. Flour contains proteins which, when water is added, grab onto each other and form strong, elastic sheets of gluten. Through mixing and kneading, higher protein flours, such as bread flour, can develop even longer and stronger chains of gluten.
More or less gluten is desirable for various baked goods. High protein flour is not used in pastries, pie crusts, biscuits, or quick breads, because the extra gluten that develops can make them tough and chewy. Lower protein flour yields pie crusts that do not shrink and soft, tender, pastries and non-yeast breads. Here we explore the types of flour you can purchase and what baked goods they are best used for.
Most national brands typically have an 11 to 12% protein content which make them perfect for baking quick breads, cookies, biscuits, and cakes. Flour can vary in protein content by brand and also regionally; Southern brands are made from a soft winter wheat and Northern brands from harder wheat, meaning the protein content can range from 8% to 13%. If you like more tender, finely textured results, use flour that is milled from Southern wheat, such as Martha White and White Lily.
All-purpose flour that bleaches naturally as it ages is labeled “unbleached”; flour treated with chemical whiteners is labeled “bleached” and contains less protein. They can basically be used interchangeably, but most bakers believe that bleached is best used for making pie crusts, cookies, muffins, scones, pancakes, and other quick breads, and unbleached is good for baking yeast breads, popovers, and cream puffs.
For all brands, this is a uniform blend of all-purpose flour and leavening agents. Most bakers find self-rising flour an ideal blend for biscuits.
Cake flour has a lower protein content than all-purpose – from 6 to 8 %. It is chlorinated to break down the strength of the gluten and is very finely ground, yielding tender cakes with a fine, delicate texture. It measures differently than all-purpose flour; 1 cup of all-purpose flour is the equivalent of 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour.
Although similar to cake flour, it has a slightly higher gluten content. This helps form the elastic bonds to hold up flaky layers of piecrusts, croissants, and puff pastry.
Bread flour is an unbleached, high protein blend of mostly hard wheat flours. The elasticity of the gluten gives the bread its ability to retain gas as the dough rises and bakes, making it chewy.
2 tablespoons of cornstarch + 7/8 cup all-purpose flour = 1 cup cake flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder + ½ teaspoon salt +1 cup all-purpose flour= 1cup self rising flour
1 cup all-purpose flour = 1 cup + 2 tablespoons cake flour
Wonderful ideas!!! Thank you so much for sharing this information about such a great occasion! Cindy, your ideas always helpful and creative.
Sandra in Baby Showers and Sprinkles on June 15, 2013 at 10:59 am
Everyone calls Paula dean because i cook for friends and family and they say i talk like Paula tho i am 71and never as pretty as Paula i want to be like Paula i love her and her family
normal maskell in The Great Party Challenge on June 12, 2013 at 10:11 am
Susan Lott is a great party planner! She has tons of great ideas that she needs to share with the online world. I have been begging her to start a Facebook page or Etsy account. The graduation gift that she made me was hand drawn with my name and different definitions for each letter. She framed it and I cherish it.....I also would have paid about $50 for it in a store. Thanks for sharing her idea but this idea is nothing compared to some of her other quick and money saving tips! You should hire her for your creative team!
Love you Susu!
Adrienne Hilliard in Baby Showers and Sprinkles on June 11, 2013 at 10:55 pm
I love this idea!! It is too cute!
Sandi K in Baby Showers and Sprinkles on June 11, 2013 at 4:04 pm