Saturday, December 7, 2013

All Purpose Flour - Simple White Cake Experiment

In my quest to continually improve the quality and flavour of my food I have been looking into flour. It's easy to buy all-purpose flour or bread flour but cake and pastry flour is harder to come by. First of all, what is the difference between them? Gluten is the protein in wheat and different flours have varying amounts. Basically it's like this:

Cake & Pastry Flour - about 8% protein
All Purpose Flour - about 10% protein
Bread Flour - about 12% protein

To turn All Purpose Flour into Bread Flour add Vital Wheat Gluten. For a two cup ciabatta replace less than 1/4 cup flour with Vital Wheat Gluten. I'm not sure what % that ends up with but the bread is much better so it's enough.

To Turn All Purpose Flour into Cake & Pastry Flour add Corn Flour. Corn Flour is the starch from corn without protein so it reduces the overall protein content. Again I used less than 1/4 cup, maybe 1/8 cup corn flour exchanged for wheat flour. Fern thought this was a crazy idea but when he tasted the cake he said it was better. It had softer texture and a hint of the sweetness of corn. In fact it was a little crumbly so I'd use a little less corn flour next time. Here's the adjusted recipe :

Simple White Cake

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 3/8 cup wheat flour (hint: 8 ounces in a cup)
1/8 cup corn flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt

Cream butter then cream sugar into butter.  Beat in eggs, vanilla, flour, salt, milk and baking powder. Line pan with parchment. Pour into 9x9 or loaf pan and bake at 350ºF 30-40 minutes.

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