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KAF Unbleached Cake Flour
Posted: 14 February 2010 03:51 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Guess which is which?  I didn’t use cake strips because I forgot.  And, if the color of the crumbs look strange, it’s because I dropped a bit of food coloring in the batter so that I wouldn’t confuse one cake with the other.  I needn’t have bothered.  grin  The actual height of the edges of the cake are about the same, 1 1/8 - 1 1/4, but the one with bleached flour domed quite a bit, whereas the unbleached is flat.  I wonder if I had used cake strips, the unbleached would have sunk?

http://www.boundvortex.com/images/comparison.jpg

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Posted: 14 February 2010 04:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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And the texture was awful…kinda mushy.  Bleh.

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Posted: 14 February 2010 09:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Wow, I’m enjoying following this project!  So the unbleached must have a higher protein content to produce the doming, is that your thought as well? 

And the texture of the unbleached is mushy, is that right? 

How does the flavor compare?

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Posted: 14 February 2010 01:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Julie - 14 February 2010 01:02 PM

So the unbleached must have a higher protein content to produce the doming, is that your thought as well?

Julie, it was the bleached that had the dome, which one would expect without the cake strips.  The unbleached was perfectly flat.  Yes, my first thought was “weak structure”.  Could the unbleached have lower protein content?  I can’t find on their web site what the protein content is of this flour.  Would extra mixing time compensate for this?

Another observation:  there were a lot more bubbles formed on the top of the cake of the unbleached vs the bleached.  Could these bubbles be escaping carbon dioxide?

And the texture of the unbleached is mushy, is that right?

That’s the only way I could describe it; sorta like it didn’t have any crumb at all.  As for the flavor, well, I’m afraid the opposite of the placebo effect is kicking in, the nocebo.  This is why they have double-blind studies in real life, so that our prejudices can’t affect our perceptions.  My first thought on biting into it was the odor and flavor of raw flour.  I’m going to have to let some others taste these things without any hint from me what the difference is and see what they say. All I know is that I kept munching on the bleached cake flour cake thinking “let me test just a little bit more…”.

BTW, I measured all the ingredients to the nearest gram and used a timer for the mixing times.  The oven temperature was spot on 350, based on two separate oven thermometers and I didn’t touch the dial between bakings.  I made 2/3 of the regular recipe and used 9x2” pans.  They both baked in exactly 29 minutes.  This was the All Occasion Downy Yellow Butter Cake.  That said, it’s possible this is experimental error and that it’s pure coincidence that the cake affected was the one we were suspicious of.  It will be interesting to see if anyone experiences the same problem.

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Posted: 14 February 2010 03:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I sent my photo to King Arthur’s and, amazingly, got a reply within about an hour (on Sunday!):

Our unbleached cake flour is not a substitute for bleached cake flour. So the results you have are correct. We advertise
this cake flour to produce moist cakes.

A flour blend that produces a medium-fine texture cake, moist and flavorful, with absolutely no added chemicals.

Our King Arthur Queen Guinevere Cake Flour is to be used in recipes calling for bleached cake flour and will produce cakes just as you have pictured.

I had a friend sample the two cakes, and, to my surprise, he actually liked the cake with unbleached flour.  He likes dense cakes and he thought the cake was moister than the one with bleached flour.

I do think the reply I received from King Arthur’s is wrong, though.  Their advertising does imply that the unbleached flour is a replacement for bleached cake flour.  From their web page:

King Arthur has combined the all-natural benefits of unbleached flour with the performance characteristics needed for high-quality cakes. The result? A flour blend that produces a medium-fine texture cake, moist and flavorful, with absolutely no added chemicals.

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Posted: 14 February 2010 04:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Great test Charles!  I hope that you’ll post something on the main blog so that Rose will see your results too. I know there were already several questions on the main blog about this flour.

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Posted: 14 February 2010 06:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I’m a fan of the KAF unbleached flour, and although I agree that the KAF website says you can substitute the new unbleached cake flour for bleached cake flour (http://www.kingarthurflour.com/flours/cake-flour.html) it also states the cake will have a medium fine crumb.  Additionally, Rose states on page 437 of RHC that bleached flour is necessary for cakes made with unmelted butter (it roughens the surface of flour grains, keeps butter in suspension, and improves gelatinization).  Actually she says if you use unbleached, the cakes will dip in the center and will have unpleasant flavor and texture.  She’s one smart lady…she should write cookbooks.  wink  I have never tried the unbleached cake flour in one of Rose’s recipes, but I have used it with great success in a chocolate cake recipe on KAF website, which calls for oil.  http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/favorite-fudge-birthday-cake-recipe  If y.ou are interested in using the unbleached flour, try a cake like this and see what you think.  For Rose’s recipes, I always stick with bleached.

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Posted: 14 February 2010 06:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Matthew - 14 February 2010 08:35 PM

I hope that you’ll post something on the main blog so that Rose will see your results too. I know there were already several questions on the main blog about this flour.

Matthew:  I only see a commenting capability on the main blog.  Where would I post the picture?

Thanks

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Posted: 14 February 2010 06:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Gia - 14 February 2010 10:03 PM

Actually she says if you use unbleached, the cakes will dip in the center and will have unpleasant flavor and texture.

Gia, you may have missed it, but the idea for this test came from Cooks Illustrated saying this unbleached flour produced identical results to bleached.  I probably would never have tried it without their endorsement.  It would be interesting to make a further test and see how well this worked with oil cakes and as part of a Genoise.

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Posted: 14 February 2010 08:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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So the mushy texture and the lower height would both be consistent with lower protein content, but could the protein really be lower than cake flour?  Very interesting.  It almost seems like the unbleached somehow isn’t incorporating into the batter, resulting in less gluten formation and an uncooked flavor (in addition to the butter issue). 

Charles, if you wanted to post it to a recent unbleached flour blog post, you could use this one: http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/2010/01/a_great_mistake.html .  You can just paste your link to the photos into your comment.

Thanks so much for sharing this with us, I’m loving it!

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Posted: 14 February 2010 09:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Charles, if you wanted to post it to a recent unbleached flour blog post, you could use this one: http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/2010/01/a_great_mistake.html .  You can just paste your link to the photos into your comment.

Ok, I did so, thank you.

Julie - 15 February 2010 12:47 AM

So the mushy texture and the lower height would both be consistent with lower protein content, but could the protein really be lower than cake flour?  Very interesting.  It almost seems like the unbleached somehow isn’t incorporating into the batter, resulting in less gluten formation and an uncooked flavor (in addition to the butter issue).

Note that my friend thought the cake tasted fine, so maybe my sensations were psychosomatic.  I’m going to take the remnants into work tomorrow and seek other opinions.  I can’t keep nibbling on these cakes because I need to keep my figure.  wink

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Posted: 15 February 2010 02:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I have a STRONG feeling KA unb cake flour is merelly unb ap plus a considerable amount of corn starch, so indeed it may be worth making your own “KA unb cake flour” shall that be your flour of choice.

A genoise or other foam cakes not using baking powder are much more forgiving with flour because the structure relies mostly on whipped eggs. 

For the downy yellow, I think the research has alreay been done by Kate K (re: Kate Flour), she concludes heat treating unb flour produces a better cake than one using corn starch.

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Posted: 15 February 2010 11:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I sampled the unbleached cake again today and it still seems mushy.  And the top of the cake seems very damp, almost wet.  I think my friend who said it reminded him of pound cake is crazy.

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Posted: 22 February 2010 09:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I tried making Rose’s white velvet cake with KA cake flour and it was a disaster. First of all I double the recipe and I had asked before about doubleing them and people said just do it= well the baking powder doubled was way too much; i could see bubbles rise and fall, the texture was like corn meal, a huge sinkhole in the middle and MY HUSBAND WOULDN’T EVEN EAT IT~~~. I’ve make KA recipes before from their site and they were fine. Moral= use what’s written down. Truthfully, I didn’t even notice the ‘unbleached’ part on the box in huge letters. It had to be hands down the worst cake I’ve ever made. I ask again, can most of her recipes be successfully doubled, is the rule of thumb 1 tsp. baking powder to 1 cup flour?.I don’t make single cakes and need to be able to make these recipes work.

Colleen

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Posted: 22 February 2010 10:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Colleen, the baking powder depends more on the pan size than on the batch size.  What size pans were you using? 

If your pan sizes were correct, then I suspect that most of your problems were from the unbleached flour.  You can use cake flour, or bleached AP (if you substitute by weight), but Rose says that unbleached doesn’t work.

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Posted: 23 February 2010 09:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I used 9 x 2’s. I have never had a problem like this before and I find it absolutely amazing how the type of flour can make or break a recipe. I always use cake flour (bleached, from a restaurant supplier from my son’s restaurant). This I did at home and I had ordered some things from KA and thought I would try their cake flour. I use their AP for my other baking.

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