Tag Archives: cake flour

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

Flour As Used in Baking

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

Flour PhotoFlour is usually the key ingredient in baking and much of pastry.  It is important to use the right flour for the desired outcome.  While flour can be made from various edible grains, for the purposes of this discussion I am going to stick with four types of wheat flour; all purpose, cake , bread  and pastry flour.  While bread baking can employ myriad other flours, these four are the basis of cakes and pastry.

What differentiates them is the protein count in each of them.  The higher the protein count, the stronger the flour.  You will see by the chart below, that bread flour is the strongest which makes it ideal for yeast breads that call for a strong flour to support the  expandsion provided by the yeast.  While bread can be made with all purpose flour, bread flour will almost always result in a higher rising, lighter loaf with a better texture.  On the other end of the spectrum is cake flour, which is very low in protein and has virtually none of the elasticity found in all purpose and bread flour.

Protein Counts for Flour:  Most flour is unsifted as used in current recipes.  It is best to stir it in the container, then measure.  Better yet, weigh it.  See Measuring for Baking http://pastrieslikeapro.com/2013/08/weights-and-measurements-in-baking/

                                Grams of                  Weight per       Weight per
Type of flour      Protein per cup            Cup, sifted      Cup, unsifted
Bread Flour             14 to 15        115 grams or 4 oz      140 grams or 5 oz.
All purpose flour     11 to 13        115 grams or 4 oz      140 grams or 5 oz.
Pastry Flour             9  to 10        115 grams or 4 oz.     140 grams or 5 oz.
Cake Flour                 6 to 8   100 grams or 3 1/2 oz      114 grams or 4 oz.

To Make Cake Flour:  Per one cup of all purpose flour, remove two tablespoons and replace with 2 tablespoons of corn starch.  Mix well.  This will lower the gluten content and make a softer flour.

To Make Pastry Flour:  Combine 2/3 cup all purpose flour and 1/3 cup cake flour to make 1 cup of pastry flour.

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.  The main reason is I can’t control the amount of baking powder and salt in it.  It can easily be made by combining 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt for 1 cup.  Whisk together completely and use in the amount called for.

All purpose flour is a mixture of hard and soft wheat and comes bleached and unbleached.  It is used for breads, biscuits, quick breads, cakes and cookies.  Because the kernel and bran are stripped from the wheat when milled, the U.S. government requires iron, and four B vitamins (thiamin, niacin, riboflavin and folic acid) to be added to the flour to equal or exceed those found in whole wheat flour that is milled without stripping the vitamins.

Cake flour is milled from soft wheat and is always bleached.  It is very fine and silky in texture.  It is used for cakes and, in combination with all purpose flour, makes pastry flour.

Pastry flour falls between all purpose and cake flours.  We don’t get much pastry flour in our area so we make our own.  I use pastry flour for pie crusts and laminated doughs such as puff pastry.

Bread flour is made from hard wheat.  It is unbleached.

Bleaching flour can occur naturally if the flour is aged long enough or the flour can be chemically bleached.  Although I use unbleached flours, there is a problem if I am going to leave pastry dough in the refrigerator for a couple of days before using it.  If using unbleached flour, the pastry dough becomes gray.  There is not a problem with the taste or performance, just an off -putting color.  Bleached flour doesn’t become gray.

Pillsbury and Gold Medal are now made by the same company and the flours are virtually identical.  King Arthur flours are stronger which is why some people swear by the King Arthur Bread Flour.  Because it is stronger than other bread flours, it will support more expansion leading to higher loaves of bread.

In the south, they have a flour, White Lilly, which is a soft flour that I am told, makes the best biscuits in the world.   However, you wouldn’t use it for bread.   It is difficult to find outside of the south.