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Cake Flour, All-Purpose Flour, & Any Brand Flour: Does it make a difference to the finish product?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hello Everyone,

I am alway at awe as to which flour to use. When I read up on a recipe, it request one of these (flour, all-purpose, or cake flour) and I wonder does it make an significant difference in the taste or for that matter the texture. 

 

As a novice baker, I never knew that there was such a thing called cake flour because at a local supermarket or a department store (ex: Target, Walmart, etc).  I usually see flour bags (Philsbury, Heckers, etc.).  At times, I do see people emphasising the use of "cake flour" only, as oppose, to all-purpose flour to incorporate in a cake recipe.  Now, I've googled "Cake Flour" and I see all the usual floursyou find in the supermarket so what am I missing?

 

What's the difference?  Frankly, I can't tell.  The cake comes out as a cake.  Also, if there is such a thing called "Cake Flour" where do one buy it because at a local supermarket I do not see it? 

 

Can some please share some light to this mystery of mine. 

 

Thank you kindly.

 

Susie

post #2 of 4

The main difference is the amount of protein in the flour.  Cake or pastry flour has the least protein, bread flour has the most and all-purpose is in the middle.

 

The amount of protein will affect the texture of the final product.  More protein will generally be chewier or tougher, think french bread or sourdough.  Less protein will produce a weaker softer texture, think cake texture.

 

You can tell the type by looking at the nutritional information on the package.  Roughly 9% or less is pastry, 11% is all purpose, and 14% is bread.

 

Cake flour is also called pastry flour, maybe try looking for that.

 

Bread flour also tends to absorb slightly more water, cake flour slightly less.

 

A substitute for cake flour is 1 cup all purpose plus 2 tbsp. cornstarch.

 

 

You may also see unbleached flour.  This is flour that hasn't been bleached and may have a slight orange tint.  Some people find that bleached flour has a chemical aftertaste, this is especially noticeable in things like bread.  If it doesn't say unbleached it will be bleached.  You may want to try it and decide if you notice a difference.

 

Self rising flour is flour with salt a baking powder already blended into the flour.

post #3 of 4

This web site, http://www.kingarthurflour.com/flours/ , will answer a lot of your questions.

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

This was clearly a tremendous help.  Cleared my understanding on the difference with flour.  chef.gif

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