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Category ... Baking Science

A Merrier World Indeed...

May 21, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose in Announcements

with people like Kate Coldrick in it! (Though I've yet to meet another Kate like this one!)

Those of you who are not familiar with the problem of bleached cake flour being unavailable in many of the countries around the world, particularly the British Commonwealth, might enjoy putting the word "kate flour" in the search box of this blog.

I encourage everyone to follow this link to Kate's blog where she continues the saga of her success in spinning unbleached flour into heat-treated flour. It is through her extraordinary determination and inspired work that this flour is now available to the consumer! Hats off to Kate.

The Power of Flour, Part Three: Génoise

Oct 23, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose in Baking Science

As a result of the experimentation we performed, featured in previous postings of "The Power of Flour," we found that we preferred potato starch to cornstarch when converting both bleached and all-purpose flour to simulate cake flour. Woody and I were then curious to see what would happen if we substituted equal weight potato starch for the cornstarch component in a classic génoise.

The baking time and height of the cakes were identical. The cornstarch version had a slightly tighter and more velvety crumb. The potato starch version had a slight potato flavor which was masked by the syrup. (Note if making génoise with more clarified butter and less syrup the potato flavor might not be masked as effectively.) Conclusion: For a classic yellow génoise we prefer the 50 grams cornstarch but equal weight potato starch is an acceptable close substitute. By volume, instead of 1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon cornstarch use 1/4 cup plus 2-1/2 teaspoons potato starch. (However, for flavor and texture we prefer 100% Wondra flour to either combination, except when using decorative fluted tube pans as the finished height is slightly lower when using the Wondra.)

Génoise-cornstarch-vs-potato-starch.jpg

COMPARISON SLICES OF CORNSTARCH VS. POTATOSTARCH

Génoise-cornstarch.jpg

CORNSTARCH AND CAKE FLOUR

Génoise-potatostarch.jpg

POTATO STARCH AND CAKE FLOUR

The Power of Flour, Part Two of Two

Apr 24, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose in Baking Science

The purpose of all these tests for Part 1 and Part 2 of "The Power of Flour" was to determine the optimum level of baking powder when using my two-stage method of mixing cakes to be baked in 9 by 2 inch high pans.

The 'control' cake for Part 1 was the "Downy All-Occasion Yellow Cake" from the Cake Bible which uses cake flour and all egg yolks, adapted from (2) 1-1/2 inch high pans to (1) 2 inch high pan.

The goal in Part 1 was to achieve the best texture and flavor if using bleached or unbleached all-purpose flour instead of cake flour.

In order to adjust for a higher 2-inch pan, we used 2/3 the batter that would be used for (2) 1-1/2 inch high pans and we decreased the baking powder from what would have been 2-5/8 teaspoons for 2/3 the batter to 2-1/2 teaspoons as higher pans need a stronger structure.

The goal in this Part 2 was to achieve a level cake layer for use as a two-layer cake, if replacing the egg yolks with either all egg whites or whole eggs. In order to accomplish this goal we needed to see what adjustments of baking powder--if any--are necessary when replacing the egg yolks with either egg whites or whole eggs.

Note: All Ingredients except for the baking powder and salt were weighed. (Eggs, and the yolks in proportion to the whites, vary widely from egg to egg so weighing is necessary for trust-worthy, consistent results.)

Type of Flour: Cake
Replacing the 4 egg yolks with 3 egg whites: baking powder increased from 2-1/2 teaspoons to 3-1/4 teaspoons.

Replacing the 4 egg yolks with 2 whole eggs: baking powder increased from 2-1/2 teaspoons to 3-1/2 teaspoons.

Type of Flour: Bleached All-purpose

Replacing the 4 egg yolks with 3 egg whites: baking powder increased from 2-1/2 teaspoons to 3 teaspoons.

Replacing the 4 egg yolks with 2 whole eggs: baking powder increased from 2-1/2 teaspoons to 3-1/4 teaspoons.

Type of Flour: Unbleached All-purpose
Replacing the 4 egg yolks with 3 egg whites: baking powder increased from 2-1/2 teaspoons to 2-5/8 teaspoons.

Replacing the 4 egg yolks with 2 whole eggs: baking powder increased from 2-1/2 teaspoons to 3-1/2 teaspoons.

Notes:

We were surprised to find that though using all egg whites makes the structure stronger, using whole eggs makes it stronger still.

These results are predicated on weight of the major ingredients. If using volume for the eggs, be sure to measure them as the proportion of yolk to white varies from egg to egg.

If using egg whites that have been frozen, be sure to stir the thawed whites well with a fork to combine evenly.

A 2-inch high pan makes a very nice single layer cake. If making just one layer you may want to decrease the baking powder by 1/4 teaspoon to give it a slight dome. If making a two layer cake everything should just be doubled.

Final Conclusions for Part 1 and Part 2:

Egg yolks give cake a fuller flavor, egg whites give cake a softer texture.

Egg whites will need more leavening than yolks (exact amount depending on the cake).

Whole eggs will need more leavening than whites (exact amount depending on the cake)

Cake flour and bleached all-purpose flour result in the best flavor and texture in cake.

If using unbleached all-purpose flour, the best flavor comes from replacing 15% of the flour with potato starch. The most level cake comes from using egg yolks or whole eggs.

E10 F SLICE SHOT cake flour 2.5 tsp powder 2 21 10.jpg

CAKE FLOUR WITH EGG YOLKS & 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

E11-M-SLICE-Cake-Flour-3.25-baking-powder.jpg

CAKE FLOUR WITH EGG WHITES & 3-1/4 teaspoons baking powder

E12-H-SLICE-Cake-flour-3.50-baking-powder.jpg

CAKE FLOUR WITH WHOLE EGGS & 3-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

E10 E SLICE SHOT bleached 2.5 tsp 2 21 10.jpg

BLEACHED ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR WITH EGG YOLKS & 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

E11-J-SLICE-BLEACHED-3.00-baking-powder.jpg

BLEACHED ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR WITH EGG WHITES & 3 teaspoons baking powder

E12-F-SLICE-BLEACHED-3.25-baking-powder.jpg

BLEACHED ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR WITH WHOLE EGGS & 3-1/4 teaspoons baking powder

E10-N-SLICE-UNbleached-+-Potato-Starch-2.jpg

UNBLEACHED ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR/15% POTATO STARCH WITH EGG YOLKS & 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

E10 D SLICE SHOT UNbleached 2.5 powder 2 21 10.jpg

UNBLEACHED ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR WITH EGG YOLKS & 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

E11-D-SLICE-UNbleached-2.62-baking-powder.jpg

UNBLEACHED ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR WITH EGG WHITES & 2-5/8 teaspoons baking powder

E12-G-SLICE-UNbleached-3.50-baking-powder.jpg

UNBLEACHED ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR WITH WHOLE EGGS & 3-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

E12-SLICE-UNbleached-w-Potato-Starch 3.jpg

UNBLEACHED ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR/15% POTATO STARCH WITH WHOLE EGGS & 3-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

The Power of Flour, Part One of Two

Mar 06, 2010 | From the kitchen of Rose in Baking Science

For years I have been saying how important it is to use bleached flour in cake baking and I still prefer it, but after making the fortuitous mistake of using unbleached flour in a cake baked in a tube pan, and discovering that the pan's center tube kept it from falling, I have revisited the subject and made some very interesting and ground breaking discoveries.

Woody and I have conducted numerous tests using bleached cake flour, bleached all-purpose flour, and unbleached all-purpose flour in a solid (unmelted) butter layer cake using my one bowl mixing method and the All-Occasion Downy Yellow Cake from the Cake Bible. (We used two-thirds the recipe, first using two-thirds the baking powder (2-5/8 teaspoons). Then we decreased the baking powder to 2-1/2 teaspoons because we were using a 2" high pan instead of the 1-1/2" high pans in the Cake Bible (and higher pans need proportionately less baking powder). We found that when using bleached or unbleached all-purpose flour instead of cake flour, we got more tenderness (and in the case of unbleached flour improved flavor) by replacing 15% of the flour with potato starch which comes closer to cake flour than cornstarch.The overall appearance, however, with the bleached all-purpose flour is slightly lower either in height or in the center.

Our Conclusions
1. bleached cake flour is suitable for cakes where a very tender texture is desired.
2. 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.
3. bleached all-purpose flour is preferable for cakes that benefit from more structure.
4. bleached flour results in the best flavor.
5. bleached flour results in the best volume.
6. bleached flour results in the most tender and velvety texture.
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7. unbleached flour results in less volume.
8. unbleached flour results in a coarser, chewier texture.
9. unbleached flour results in a cornbread-like flavor.
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10. cornstarch substitution for part of the flour for bleached or unbleached all-purpose flour is less effective to improve structure than decreasing leavening, and alters the flavor.
11. potato starch substitution for part of the flour for bleached or unbleached all-purpose flour is even more effective than cornstarch as it softens the crumb. For the unbleached flour it also improves the flavor by lessening the cornbread-like quality.

Continue reading "The Power of Flour, Part One of Two" »

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