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self rising flour issue (?)
Posted: 03 June 2012 11:33 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi Everyone,

I’ve been trying scratch recipes and as always, some work, some don’t.  The past few I’ve tried with self-rising flour have had a crumb more like a muffin rather than fine like a cake.  One was a red velvet cake with all self-rising flour and the other was the Planet Cake vanilla cupcake recipe with part self-rising, part all purpose flour.  So the question is—is it the self-rising flour causing this issue or are these not the best recipes?  Has anyone else had this problem? 

Looking forward to your comments! :D

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Posted: 03 June 2012 12:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I just used self rising flour for the first time. My crumb was perfect and the cake was tender. However, I felt, the cake didn’t rise as much as I anticipated.  But, my crumb was good.

Do you think think you might have over-mixed your batter once the flour was added?

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Posted: 03 June 2012 12:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Well I’m not sure, I’m going to make the Planet Cake cupcakes again, just to see what happens.  I creamed the butter, sugar and flavors, added the eggs, weighed and sifted the flours and folded the flour and milk in alternately.  It’s entirely possible I overmixed it though.  I’ll try it again.

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Posted: 03 June 2012 12:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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It sounds like you did everything right. I did mine the same way.

As I said, this is my first experience with self rising flour. My recipe was from Australia. Perhaps I misunderstood the recipe.

I, too, will try again.

Good luck.

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Posted: 03 June 2012 11:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Hi, FG & Nutmeg!

I find self-rising flour recipes perplexing.  I have several I want to try, but I am mystified into paralysis.  I don’t understand how a recipe can call for “self-rising flour,” when all of the companies’ SRF are slightly different.  Even looking online of how to “make your own,” I’ve seen at least 5 different ways.  All this says to me is “hey, this cake calls for random leavening, and you’ll get rather random results.” 

That said, it seems like lots of Euro recipes use it, so maybe they have a strong consistency there as to self-rising flour.  Or maybe it all works out “close enough for jazz,” so the idea is however the cake turns out must be how it’s supposed to be. 

But I don’t know.  I’ll eventually get to them on my list, becuase there are some things I’d really like to make, but for now, they’re below things I feel a bit more certain about.

—ak

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Posted: 03 June 2012 11:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I did a little research and found this article by Shirley Corriher. I think next time I bake the cake which called for self-rising flour, I will substitute AP flour and baking powder based on her formula:

For Great Cakes, Get the Ratios Right
by Shirley Corriher
Have you ever wondered how a baker can create a cake recipe from scratch and know that it will work? Unlike a savory chef, who can often use intuition to design a successful dish, a baker must work within defined parameters to produce a cake that will rise, set, and taste the way she wants. Experienced cake bakers would never dream of trying to bake a cake without first “doing the math” to make sure that the ingredients are in balance. Having the right proportions of flour, eggs, sugar, and fat makes all the difference.

Flour and eggs for structure, fat and sugar for tenderness

In cakes, the protein ingredients, which are the flour and eggs, are the major structure-builders. They’re essentially what holds the cake together. Fat and sugar do the opposite; they actually wreck or soften the cake’s structure, providing tenderness and moisture.

If you have too much of the structure-building flour and eggs, the cake will be tough and dry. If you have too much of the moistening, softening fats and sugars, the cake might not set. It could be a soupy mess or so tender that it falls apart.

Bakers have formulas that balance these ingredients so their cakes have the strength to hold together but are still tender and moist. These formulas don’t have to be followed dead on, but if you stray by more than about 20 percent, you may have problems.

There are two sets of formulas: pound-cake (or lean-cake) formulas, which have less sugar than flour; and “high-ratio” formulas, which contain more sugar. The general rule is that high-ratio cakes require shortening, whose added emulsifiers help hold the cake together. You can, however, make successful high-ratio cakes with butter if you aerate the butter by creaming it and if you add emulsifiers in the form of egg yolks. Some bakers even make cakes with olive oil, which contains natural emulsifiers (mono- and diglycerides).

Here are the three formulas for the more popular, sweeter, high-ratio cakes:

Sugar = Flour

The sugar should weigh the same as, or slightly more than, the flour. Remember that this is weight, not volume. A cup of sugar weighs about 7 ounces, and a cup of all-purpose flour weighs about 4-1/2 ounces. So, if we’re building a recipe with 1 cup sugar, we’ll need about 1-1/2 cups flour (about 6-3/4 ounces).

The eggs should weigh about the same as, or slightly more than, the fat. One large egg (out of its shell) weighs about 1-3/4 ounces. If our developing recipe contains 4 ounces butter (or shortening), we could use two whole eggs (3-1/2 ounces). This is a little under, but remember that these rules are flexible, and we’re still within 20%.

Eggs = Butter

But eggs have two parts: whites, which dry out baked goods, and yolks, which make textures smooth and velvety. A yolk from a large egg weighs about 2/3 ounce. One way to balance the eggs with the fat and to get a smoother cake is to add extra yolks. You could use one egg plus three yolks for a total of about 3-3/4 ounces.

The liquid (including the eggs) should weigh the same as, or more than, the sugar. Our recipe now has 7 ounces sugar and 3-1/2 or 3-3/4 ounces eggs. To get the total amount of liquid to weigh more than the sugar, we could add 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of a liquid, like milk or buttermilk.

Eggs + Liquid = Sugar

Proper leavening is also critical. If a recipe is overleavened, the bubbles will get too big, float to the top, and?pop! There goes your leavening, and here comes a heavy, dense cake. One teaspoon of baking powder for one cup of flour is the perfect amount of leavening for most cake recipes. For baking soda (which is used if the recipe has a considerable amount of acidic ingredients), use 1/4 teaspoon soda for each cup of flour. Finally, don’t forget a little salt, about 1/2 teaspoon for a small cake like this. It’s a major flavor enhancer.

Once you have a working recipe, you can test it and start making adjustments to taste. I like baked goods very moist, so I would have started with one egg and three yolks. If I decided I wanted a moister cake, I could bump up the sugar, or I could replace some or all of the butter with oil. Oil coats flour proteins better than other fats and will make a more tender, moister product.

From Fine Cooking 42 , pp. 78


http://www.finecooking.com/articles/ratios-for-great-cakes.aspx

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Posted: 04 June 2012 10:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Thanks, FG!  I will go with that, too.  At least it’s not just an isolated thing, but in context with someone who looks like they know what they’re talking about!  I’ll have to look at Rose’s butter cake recipes and see if there’s a pattern there, too!

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Posted: 04 June 2012 11:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Good idea Anne.

This article was written by the author of Bakewise which is well-respected, from what I have read, in the baking community.

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Posted: 04 June 2012 11:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Oh, FG, that’s very cool! Yes, I hear that book is excellent!  I didn’t realize that was the author.  I feel very comfortable now with the whole thing!  Many, many thanks!!!!

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Posted: 04 June 2012 11:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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You are very welcome! I think I will use this formula next time I bake that Australian recipe.

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Posted: 05 June 2012 06:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I’m in Australia and I never rely on store bought self-raising flour. It’s too unpredictable. You can never be sure how fresh it is - if it’s old it doesn’t rise, if it’s been stored in the right conditions, brand variations etc etc etc. Much better mixing your own - and the amounts mentioned in the article above are generally what I go by.

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Posted: 05 June 2012 11:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Hi PatriciaCK, welcome!

I made a cake from Sydney’s Bourbon Street Bakery book. The recipe called for self-rising flour. My cake did not rise as anticipated.

Is self rising flour a common ingredient in Australia? Several, but not all, the recipes in that book call for it’s use.

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Posted: 05 June 2012 12:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Thanks, Patricia!  It’s good to know someone who deals with this “normally” has similar concerns and knows a workaround!

So, may I ask:  If a recipe calls for 1 c. self-rising flour and 1c. all purpose flour, you would use 2 c. AP flour but only 1t. baking powder for that recipe, right?  Similarly, if it calls for 2c. self-rising flour and no AP flour, then you would use 2c. AP flour + 2t baking powder.  Is that right??

Thank you so much!

—ak

And welcome!!!

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Posted: 05 June 2012 01:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Flour Girl - yes self-raising flour is used extensively in Australia (and we call AP flour “plain”). Try mixing your own and see if the cake works again. I think it’s the “Bourke” St Bakery book you have - it’s usually excellent (and I love that bakery - you should see the hoards of people who line up on the weekend for their delicious bread/cakes etc).

You probably know this already (but just in case you don’t), another issue in using recipes from Australia (and other places too), is that cup/spoon measurements are different. I’m not sure if the Bourke St Bakery recipe uses cups/spoons but you should check that aspect too. Weigh your ingredients if you can.


Anne in NC - you are spot on. You are essentially only replacing the flour with the premixed leavening agent. You don’t want to add anything more unless the recipes specifies it. At least that’s what I do anyway with no issues.

Don’t give up on Australian recipes - we have some amazing bakers/chefs and great recipes too!


Thanks for the welcomes! I’m usually a lurker here.

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Posted: 05 June 2012 02:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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PatriciaCK - 05 June 2012 04:33 PM

Flour Girl - yes self-raising flour is used extensively in Australia (and we call AP flour “plain”). Try mixing your own and see if the cake works again. I think it’s the “Bourke” St Bakery book you have - it’s usually excellent (and I love that bakery - you should see the hoards of people who line up on the weekend for their delicious bread/cakes etc).

You probably know this already (but just in case you don’t), another issue in using recipes from Australia (and other places too), is that cup/spoon measurements are different. I’m not sure if the Bourke St Bakery recipe uses cups/spoons but you should check that aspect too. Weigh your ingredients if you can.

Don’t give up on Australian recipes - we have some amazing bakers/chefs and great recipes too!


Thanks for the welcomes! I’m usually a lurker here.

My cake, the Banana Carmel, came out delicious, amazing, but it didn’t rise as much as much as I thought it would. I do scale my ingredients. The only thing unfamiliar to me was the self-rising flour.  Next time I’ll replace it with AP flour and baking powder.

I won’t give up; there are a lot of recipes in that book I plan to try. From pictures, I can see why the bakery is a landmark.

Thank you for your help.

I’m glad you joined us!

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Posted: 05 June 2012 02:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Glad you de-lurked!!!!

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