Tag Archives: cake flour

The Frustrating Facts about Measuring Flour

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

flour for The Frustrating Facts of Measuring FlourA question in a food group I belong to about measuring flour by weight has sent me on a quest to find out how much a cup of flour weighs. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer, no one answer fits all.  And yet, correctly measuring flour is essential for the best outcome of baked goods.

The problem with measuring flour by volume is flour can be aerated differently. It can be sifted, stirred and fluffed, all of which yield a different weight.

What makes recipes particularly frustrating is that everyone seems to have their own way of measuring flour. And they are all correct because it depends upon how each person measures  flour. The reason for stirring the flour is that, although it is pre-sifted, it becomes compacted in the bags as it is packed and shipped. However, how much it is stirred can alter the outcome. Continue reading

American Butter vs. European Butter

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Baked Puff Pastry for American Butter vs. European Butter for Laminated DoughsButter used to be butter.  Cream was churned and separated into butter and buttermilk.  While it is still made that way, where in the world it comes from makes a difference, both in taste and its ability to make laminated doughs rise dramatically.  The puff pastry above started out as a 3/8 inch rectangle and rose to a dramatic 3 inches.

For this test, I used Land O Lakes American butter and Kerry Gold Irish butter.  I couldn’t find Plugra in my area.  Both of the butters were unsalted.Butters used for American Butter vs. European Butter Continue reading

Additional Baking Tips

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Photos of items for More Baking TipsAdditional Baking Tips are a few more things I have found to enhance your baking.  If you spend enough time doing anything, I think it is inevitable that newer, better or faster ways will be found without sacrificing quality.

Much of the success of my bakery was due to the fact that I was always on the lookout for anything that would make the product faster, easier or better without compromising the integrity. If one of my employees found a better way to do something, I couldn’t be happier.

While these items are in my cupboard, there are others just as good.  I am not particularly endorsing any of them.

Here are  additional baking tips I have discovered that I think might help you. Continue reading

Baking Tips for the Upcoming Holidays

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Photo for Baking Tips for the Upcoming HolidaysI feel like the internet when they can’t find something – “Well, this is embarrassing…..”  Well that’s me this week.  I promised you the Pina Colada cake but it is TV week so you are getting baking tips from my segment.  While I will be demo-ing only four of these, there are a whole lot more.  I  may have posted some of these baking tips before, but my TV audience hasn’t seen them.

So please forgive my lapse of memory and look for the cake next week. And without further adieu, here is the list of baking tips. 

To Make Cake Flour –When cake flour is called for in a recipe and none is to be found in the pantry, remove 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour per cup and substitute 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Whisk together to combine completely. Use as called for.

To Make Self Rising Flour – Sometimes a recipe calls for self rising flour. I don’t stock it in my kitchen and I bake a lot. It can easily be made by combining 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Whisk together completely and use in the amount called for.

Measuring Flour – There are dry measures and liquid measures. Dry measures are meant to be filled to the very top for the correct amount. Liquid measures usually have a lip on them and they are marked with measurements. They are not usually filled to the top. The lip aids in pouring. Unfortunately, there are many ways to measure flour. In a professional bakery scales are used as the only true measure. Four ounces is always four ounces. However, many households don’t have kitchen scales so another method has to be found. However, with scales costing as little as $20.00 everyone should have one.  If you get a new baking book, check their index for the method they use. The most frequently accepted method is to stir the flour in its canister or bag, dip the dry measure cup in overfilling it and with the flat side of a knife or spatula, sweep off the excess. Whatever you do, do not tap the cup to level it or tamp it down. Too much flour will make for a heavy, leaden outcome at best, a failure at worst.

Parchment Paper – As a professional baker for over 25 years, I was very happy when I finally saw parchment paper on grocery the shelf. It is indispensable in a bakery. We used it to line all the pans so there is no need to grease and butter the baking sheets or cake pans. Simply tear off enough to cover a cookie sheet. If lining cake pans, no matter what shape, draw around the bottom of the pan on the parchment paper and cut out. Line the inside of the pan. It makes a world of difference in baking.

To Prevent Over browning of Cookies: Items made with brown sugar, honey, molasses or cornsyrup brown very quickly in the oven. Cookies, because they are small and relatively thin, can over brown or burn before they are finished. To prevent this, double pan each baking sheet. Simply put one cookie sheet on top of another and bake according to the directions. The double panning slows the heat to the bottom and although they usually take a few minutes longer to bake, they will be perfect when finished.

To Make Buttermilk or Sour Milk – To make a substitute for buttermilk or sour milk called for in a recipe, remove 1 tablespoon milk and add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of whole or 2% milk. It will probably curdle but that is fine.

Toasted Nuts – A great flavor boost when using nuts is to toast them. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, spread the nuts out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 7 to 12 minutes depending upon the nut. Be careful not to burn them. Toasted nuts make a world of difference in a baked product especially.

Cookie Add InsWhen making chocolate chip cookies, or any cookie with add ins, save about 1/3 cup chips out of the batter. When you get to the bottom of the bowl where there aren’t so many chips, stir them in.

Overwhipped Cream If you overwhip your cream, you can bring it back by stopping the machine as soon as you notice the cream is overwhipped and adding a bit more cream. Ok, so what is ”a bit”. It depends upon how much you started with and how overwhipped it is. Add the cream, mix on low. If you have turned it into butter, nothing will bring it back.

Lining a Pan with FoilTurn the pan upside down and form the foil over the upside down pan. Remove the foil gently in order to preserve the shape, turn the pan right side up and place the foil liner in the pan.

A Tale of One Cake Layer (Yellow Velvet Cake)

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Comparing two layers of cake for A Tale of One Cake LayerAn interesting thing happened on the way to the Pina Colada cake (which is next weeks blog).

I was working on too many things at once when I was working on this cake.  At the end of the day I went to release the cake and ended up cutting across one side of it because I wasn’t focusing on what I was doing.  My husband offered the opinion that if we turned it a certain way, it probably wouldn’t matter.  I was very tempted because I was tired.  I had learned not to made decisions when tired, so I put it off for a day.

That proved to be a lucky decision.  When I looked closely at the cake, the texture seemed to be a bit coarse.  While it probably wouldn’t matter to most people, I am always trying to make my work better.  I decided to switch the all purpose flour for cake flour – but by weight.  So the 1 3/4 cups of all purpose flour became 2 cups of cake flour since they both weighed 250 grams or 9 ounces.  It proved to be a good idea. Continue reading