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Addition to Power of Flour Posting

Mar 18, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose

Woody conducted another test using bleached all-purpose flour and potato starch and I have added the results to the conclusion in the original posting plus the photo but here they both are just to be sure you don't miss it:

bleached all-purpose flour and 15% potato starch to simulate cake flour results in a more even cake with smoother crust and better taste than cornstarch, but is not quite as tender.

Thumbnail image for All-purpose-flour&potato-starch.jpg


thank you henry for this very useful link!


A relevant UK perspective on substituting local flour for foreign recipes that echoes the discussions here: http://www.danlepard.com/blogs/2010/03/2255/coming-on-strong/


Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Anonymous
01/16/2011 09:13 AM

Please check Kate Coldrick's blog "A Merrier World" on Rose's "sites I like" and click on KATE FLOUR on the top right corner. She has a "heat treatment" conversion method for bleaching flour that we have confirmed works brilliantly. The method is also detailed in Rose's Heavenly Cakes (pages 438-39).
You may want to experiment by Kate Flour converting both 405 and 550 flours and see what works best for you.
Please write back on your findings.


All flour sold in Europe is unbleached by law. If using any of these recipes it is necessary to "heat treat" the flour and then mix it with some type of starch to lower the protein content. 405 is the proper flour to be using when baking cakes. Rose's recipes are a little sensitive, but there are numerous cookbooks on the market that make wonderful cakes if you do not want to go to the hassle of "bleaching" the flour yourself. Also, remember that the baking powder sold in Germany is single-acting, not double-acting, as Rose recommends in her recipes.



I am an American living in Germany and have been struggling with the flour issue. I read Flour Power parts I and II and was hoping you could help me as I am still confused. Cake flour is not available here so I generally use the type 405 but don't like the results. First off, I don't know if the 405 or the 550 types are bleached or not. But am I using the right one and if so, should I follow the recommendation to sub 15% of the weight with potato starch? Any recommendations you can share will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


idalina gomes
idalina gomes
04/ 6/2010 06:58 AM

Not changing the subject but....does anyone know of a site that can mail or ship ingredientes to Portugal. I find it hard to find several things and cakes dont turn out as well when you start to sub. Thanks to all


Well, Zack, I’ve got you beat there :-D. I’ve already converted and tested a large amount of Rose’s recipes for 5,000 feet (I live in Denver). Although for every 1,000 ft rise in elevation you have to make more changes and retest and retest.
I’ve gotten pretty good at it to the point I can basically just look at a recipe and know what I need to change in it. Rarely do I have a flop.

I would love to spend a couple of months at 10,000 ft (Beaver Creek or Breckenridge would be nice) w/ The Cake Bible and Heavenly Cakes. That would be the ultimate baking challenge for me!


thanks, rose! i appreciate that you took the time out of your busy schedule to answer my question.


Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Jenn
03/22/2010 09:42 AM

thanks for the offer, but it might be awhile before I would have the opportunity to test in your kitchen.


You can buy potato starch flour from Bob's Red Mill.


I'm at 5,000 feet! I'm humbly offering the use of my small kitchen and collection of baking things to Woody! In addition also my service as assistant (dishwasher, pan prep person, ingredients weigh person, etc) for free!!!


For potato rolls I actually like to use those dried potato flakes (instant mashed potato stuff). You might be able to grind those in ur food processor to get potato flour... just a thought.



I've seen it at health food stores and King Arthur carries it. I've used it to make potato bread. Rose has a recipe calling for it in the Bread Bible. You can use it in place of boiled mashed potato in bread recipes.


I never heard of potato flour. I hope this isn't something I'm going to need to look for one day...I've never seen it in the stores.


terri, potato starch is just the starch component of potato so it might be slightly different with potato flour but my guess is it would work. not a dumb question at all. the two are very similar but potato starch is 100% starch.


hope this isn't a really dumb question--could i use potato flour instead of potato starch? (or would that be another set of experiments? :) )


I'm at 5 stories. even lower LOL


we'll have to start a fund to send woody to various altitudes as he lives in the land of lakes and i'm just 7 stories above sea level!!!


I vote yes to the high altitude baking test in Colorado! Will be most interested in that one :). When I make butter cakes, it's still a hit and miss - always taste good but the texture is not perfect.


Jeannette in reply to comment from Bill
03/18/2010 02:10 PM

I agree, Bill, most Brits DO call dessert 'pudding' but cake is cake! We do have lots of recipes for hot, stodgy type puddings such as Spotted Dick (!) and we tend to keep the term 'dessert' for cold dishes, such as trifle, ice-cream etc. Same language, different country!


I'm not from the UK but I have many friends from England, and they all refer to Dessert as "Pudding" in general.


More great stuff!

So when is Woody going to re-do all these tests at high altitude? We should take a trip to the Alps and try them out there. ;)

Actually, my intention the next time I'm in Colorado is to do some baking, so somewhere in these adjustments no doubt lies the perfect combination for high-altitude baking, too.


it was my editor kyle cathie who is now a publisher! she said cakes and dessert are referred to as pudding! (she's from the north--maybe it was just a regional thing)


I don't know where you've heard that bit of information about cakes in the UK being referred to as 'pudding', Rose, but I beg to differ! As you know, because we've met, I am in the UK and I have NEVER referred to a cake as pudding nor have I heard it being referred to as that, a cake is cake and pudding is pudding!


hanaa, you're right! we need to test that.

to sum it up: if a recipe calls for cake flour and you have only bleached ap sub 15% potato starch.

if you have only unbleached flour is that also an improvement. stay tuned. good addition to our conclusions! my guess is yes but the proof is always in the 'pudding.' (did you all know that in the UK cakes are referred to as pudding? couldn't be more appropriate here!


I've used potato starch before when baking from Warren Brown's "CakeLove". He, however, uses UNbleached flour + potato starch. Not sure if Woody's up for another test... :o) It would be interesting to look at the difference between Bl AP flour + potato starch vs UnBl AP flour + potato starch.


Yahoo! Another use for that bottomless bag of potato starch.



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