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Flour -Back to Basics
Friday, 9 September 2011 | posted by Simply bakes

Hello Everyone :) I am really sorry as i have not been updating my blog for quite a long time. The reason of course, is because of my mum. She hereby disallow me to continue on my baking endeavour until my End of Years are over. I understand that she wishes for me to do well academically, but somehow i feel really disappointed that she is restricting me too much from doing the things i feel strongly about. She is always trying to discourage me from thinking about owning my own patisserie when i grow up and think of the more realistic side of things. Well, i don't blame her for thinking this way because my standard now is way too far off from being a professional and i totally understand that she is just thinking for my future. I will try my best to make her proud. :)

Today, i will be blogging about some of the basics. Today, the topic is FLOUR. Basics are very important for all bakers out there, no matter how skilled you are. No matter what you do, do not forget the basics because it is important that you understand the structure of the ingredients you are using and why different recipes call for different types of flour. So for those who are wondering why each flour is used, i shall be here to clear your doubts. :)

Flour is the essential of all baked goods as it is the one which supports the body of a batter. It is mostly the bulk of the batter and contributes to the texture and feel of the end product. The main differentiation of the different types of flour is the amount of protein in them. When the protein inside them comes in contact with heat and water, it forms gluten, which is the one responsible to the strength and elasticity of the finished product.

Cake Flour 
Cake flour is a super fine type of flour and it contains the least amount of protein in it. About 6-8% protein content. In chinese, it is also known as 低筋粉. Thus, if you want to produce a cake with very fine, moist and tender crumbs, cake flour is used. When you use a fork to cut through sponge cakes or Gateau, it cuts through easily and it is very delicate. Due to the low amount of gluten, it will be soft and light, not strong, stubborn or elasticity.

All Purpose Flour.
All Purpose Flour, also known as AP flour is the most neutral of all flours and mostly found in a baker's pantry. It countains about 10%-12% of protein. AP flour is mostly used for Cookies, Cakes and Pastries. Very commonly used and found. A good chocolate chip cookie is made out of all purpose flour:)

Bread Flour. 
Bread flour has a very high protein content of 12%-14% and it is made out of hard wheat flour. As the name suggests, it is very good for making breads. This is because it has a very high amount of protein content. Therefore, the gluten in it is able to enable breads to rise and hold its shape.

Self Raising Flour 
SR flour contains a protein content of 8%-9%. Compared to All Purpose Flour, It contains baking powder and salt. The baking powder will allow the baked good to rise and be lighter in texture. SR flour is commonly used for cookies and cakes. However, Self Raising flour loses its ability to allow baked goods to rise as effectively over a long period of time as the baking powder loses some of its strength. This concept also applies to yeast. Therefore, instead of spending money buying SR flour which costs abit more than AP flour, you can substitute SR flour with 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt per cup (130 grams) of all-purpose flour. 

Whenever you want to add flour into wet ingredients, remember to sift the flour into the batter. This is prevent any lumps from forming and also, it incorporates air into the batter, allowing it to be lighter, more aerated, fluffier and less dense.

When measuring the amount if flour needed, always use the dip and scoop method. Which is dip your measuring cup into the container, scoop up the flour and remove excess flour by leveling is with the back of a knife. This is very important because too much flour will cause the baked good to be much to dense.

If a recipe calls for 1 cup of sifted flour, it is not measuring one cup of flour before sifting. Your first sift flour onto a piece of parchment paper before measuring out one cup of flour.

Tips for using flour:
1) You can use All Purpose flour to coat dried fruits like raisins before adding them into the batter. So for example if you are making cupcakes, the raisins will not sink down and gather all at the bottom of the pan when baked. Instead, it is able to be scattered all over the batter and ensure an even distribution of raisins.
2)Always sprinkle some flour on your working area before kneading bread dough or rolling out pastries like tarts or pies. This is to ensure that the dough will not stick to your work bench and enable a smooth surface when baking. It makes work much easier. Go easy on the sprinkling of flour though:)

With Love, Simply Bakes


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I am a 16 year old living in Singapore. This blog is to document my entire baking endeavor and to share with you guys out there recipes and my baking experience. Feel free to ask me any questions, just click 'comment' below each post. Looking forward to the holidays!

Love, SimplyBakes

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