all purpose flour
Posted: 12 July 2011 09:49 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hello all,

I’m an Australian, and growing up I believed there were two types of flour : plain and Self Raising (this is what the shops sell here.) Ten years back I started experimenting with breads, and found a new type of flour ‘strong’ flour, which I had to really look out at the time, though now it is more readily available in supermarkets here. In just the last few months ‘00’ flour has started appearing as well. Recently I started trying to reproduce some american cake recipes that call for ‘all purpose flour’. My results have been of mixed success, and I was wondering if the flour has something to do with this. I understand that one of the most important characteristics of a flour is it’s protein level. The flours I have in my pantry at present are (all Lighthouse brand) ‘cake biscuit and pastry’ flour [AKA plain flour] containing 8.7g protein per 100g, ‘pasta TIPO ‘00’’ flour containing 10g of protein per 100g, and ‘bread and pizza’ flour containing 12g of protein per 100g. Which would you think is the closest match for All Purpose flour? Is there another factor beyond protein that I should be looking to match?

thanks very much,
Jane

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Posted: 13 July 2011 05:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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msjane - 13 July 2011 12:49 AM

The flours I have in my pantry at present are (all Lighthouse brand) ‘cake biscuit and pastry’ flour [AKA plain flour] containing 8.7g protein per 100g, ‘pasta TIPO ‘00’’ flour containing 10g of protein per 100g, and ‘bread and pizza’ flour containing 12g of protein per 100g. Which would you think is the closest match for All Purpose flour?

-Taking into account only the protein level, the “cake and biscuit pastry flour”, with 8.7% protein, is closest to U.S. cake flour.  It’s also pretty close to U.S. pastry flour for pie crusts.

-Your Italian 00 flour, with 10% protein, is closest to U.S. all-purpose for making cakes (again only in terms of the protein content).  By the way, even though the high protein flour says pizza on the label, the 00 flour is the one that makes wonderful no-knead pizza crust, recipe in the Bread Bible.

Is there another factor beyond protein that I should be looking to match?

Yup.  U.S. cake and bleached AP are both bleached, which roughens up the little flour particles and makes them perform well in batters with softened butter.  Sponge-type cakes or batters made with oil or melted butter don’t necessarily need bleached flour, and breads are much better with unbleached flour, but cakes with softened butter need bleached flour.  Not sure if bleached flours are available there, so you may have to make some alterations.  One method is to heat treat the flour to mimic the effects of bleaching.  Search over on the blog for “Kate Flour” for the details.  For other options using potato starch and a leavening adjustment, search over on the blog for “Power of Flour”, I think there are four parts in all to that series of articles.

Good luck!

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Posted: 14 July 2011 12:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks so much. will look at the references you give.
cheers,
Jane

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Posted: 28 September 2011 04:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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thanks Julie, I have now got a thermopen and have made three batches of ‘kate’ flour, and three successful US recipe cakes! Another (US) recipe I have calls for Self Raising flour… would I be right in assuming that default SR flour in the US would be bleached also? I wonder what preheating the flour would do to the raising agent… hmmmm…. also, what protien percentage would you expect sr flour to have?

thanks again

Jane

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Posted: 28 September 2011 11:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Perhaps go on line and check for information on a US brand of self rising flour.  It is a staple of southern cooking, and it isn’t even sold here in the Northeast, where I live, so I have never used it.  I think it is probably a flour with added baking powder and salt, and that it is likely to be something like 9-10% protein and bleached.  It is often used for biscuits.

You can add the appropriate amounts of leavening and salt and cut it with cornstarch to get the right protein content.  You will only need to heat treat it if the recipe uses a large quantity of softened butter.  If you do heat treat it, heat treat the flour only before adding the rest of the add-ins.

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