Kate Flour

Update May 2012: Heat-treated flour is now being sold to home bakers in the UK!
See: Boom Boom Ain’t It Great To Be Floury.

From Cake Flour to Kate Flour

Kate flour has been created as a replacement for bleached flour in countries where the bleaching of flour is prohibited. In these places, which include the countries of Australasia and the EU, bakeries and other businesses may have the opportunity to source heat-treated flour as a viable and successful alternative to bleached flour for use in high-ratio cake recipes. The home-baker is not so lucky.

Until commercial, heat-treated flour is made available to the individual consumer for personal use, kate flour is perhaps the sole means by which home-bakers in these countries can recreate and appreciate the advantageous properties of bleached flour in their own kitchen.

The Story of Kate Flour

The creation and development of kate flour can be followed in the following blog posts from Autumn, 2007:

A Question of Flour, in which the microwaving of flour was introduced;

More Questions of Flour, in which the protein content was cut;

Water, Water Everywhere, in which the moisture content was considered;

Getting Warm, in which the thermometer made its first appearance;

… with additional refinements in Spring, 2008:

Finding the X Factor, in which xanthan gum improves the viscosity;

Colour or Crumb, where self-raising flour provided the best-yet results;

… and even further refinements in Winter, 2008:

Treatment of Choice, in which the toasting problem is resolved and the conventional oven joins the fun.

Turning Unbleached Flour into Kate Flour: 10 Steps

1. Weigh out 280g/10 oz of the flour and place it in a microwave-safe, flat-bottomed bowl.
2. Spread the flour in the bowl to give a bed depth of 18 to 20 mm.
3. Microwave the flour for 10 seconds then open the door and stir with a fork to prevent the flour from browning. Continue to microwave and stir the flour at 10-second intervals.
4. After about 3 minutes of total microwaving time use a probe thermometer to take and record a temperature reading. Repeat microwaving and stirring at 10-second intervals until you obtain a temperature reading of at least 130 degrees C.
5. Allow the flour to cool to room temperature.
6. Sieve the flour and discard any residue.
7. To re-hydrate the flour, spread it on a baking tray. Place it in a cold oven (with the oven turned off). Pour boiling water into a dish placed on the floor of the oven. Close the oven door and leave for 5 minutes. Replace the water in the bowl with boiling water and leave for a further 5 minutes.
8. For flours with a 9% or more protein content and when cake flour is required, weigh out the amount of flour needed for the recipe and substitute 1/8 of this weight with cornflour.
9. Add 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum (1/8 teaspoon for recipes using up to 5 oz flour) to the flour needed for the recipe.
10. Whisk to combine thoroughly.

Leave a comment

103 Comments

  1. Allen Cohn

     /  March 8, 2008

    Hi Kate,

    I found microwaving the flour a tricky business. Has anyone tried using an oven ?

    Many thanks,
    Allen

    Reply
    • Shiva

       /  December 14, 2009

      yes there is a wide available literature on flour heating using oven. Typically we have to evenly spread the flour on the pan (0.5 cm) with/without the aluminum film. Preheat your oven to 120 C and heat the flour for about 30 min to 2 hrs. For pancakes you can use 2 hrs and for bread use 30 min. Since it takes longer, usually people prefer microwave. However, it is important not to have flour dust while microwaving since it can cause a blast (minor). Hope this helps.

      Reply
  2. I haven’t tried using an oven … some sources (see the patents I reference) suggest that this is a possible alternative but is largely impractical because of the length of time it takes to achieve similar results. However, it appears that the speed of microwaving literally attacks the surface of the starch molecules and ruptures them. I wouldn’t have thought that this would also happen in an oven as it would be a much slower process. I guess the only way to find out is to try it!

    Reply
  3. Hazel

     /  April 2, 2008

    Hi Kate,

    I’ve just found your blog (someone linked you in a comment on Mark Bittman’s blog over at the New York Times). I’m absolutely amazed at your discoveries!

    I’ve always just substituted plain flour for cake flour, or at most a mixture of plain and corn flour, and never suspected that it would make such a difference. When a cake was particularly stodgy I blamed myself, or the recipe (usually the latter). :P

    I’m in awe of your persistence in testing and refining your kate flour method, and extremely grateful that you documented and shared it in such detail.

    I just moved from the UK to Cyprus, where the flour selection is (1) plain (wheat) flour; or (2) “village flour” made from durum wheat. No indication of protein content or anything else. I’ll definitely be making up some kate flour of my own asap!

    Reply
  4. Bernardean

     /  April 4, 2008

    Kate, I discovered your blog through Rose LB’s website which I resorted to in a fit of frustration after attempting to make her “Downy Yellow Butter Cake”. I am an American living in Mid-Sussex and have been stumbling along using my American recipes with U.K. ingredients with varying results. Your and Rose Beranbaum’s information on flours have been a real revelation and I salute your efforts to bring lightness to world cake-baking.
    A couple of questions:
    If I want to use my American recipes which call for “all-purpose flour” as opposed to cake flour or a recipe that calls for pastry flour what do I do or use here in the U.K?
    Rose LB mentions that baking powder is very different and, indeed, checking the ingredients they certainly are–does that seem to make a difference when using her recipes here with U.K. baking powder?
    And finally, is there a good online source for baking ingredients here in the U.K?
    Thanks so much for everything I’ve learned so far.

    Reply
  5. Good luck with your kate flour, Hazel :-) No-one so far (AFAIK) has tested flours in Cyprus, so I’d love to hear about your results.

    Thanks for your comments, Bernardean :-) I use Plain Flour (I like Dove’s Farm, but McDougall’s or Be-Ro are good too) for All-Purpose. If the recipe requires bleached all-purpose (cookies … pastry?), I microwave the flour but don’t cut the protein with cornflour/cornstarch. As far as baking powder goes … my cross-atlantic experiments with Rose and Woody (more about this later!) certainly suggest that something apart from differences in flour causes differences in cakes made with the same recipe. My guess is that it’s the baking powder … but the (tentatively) good news is that UK baking powder gives better results with kate flour than US baking powder.

    Reply
    • Shiva

       /  December 14, 2009

      Thanks for the wonderful post. I have following inputs
      1. Flour heating mainly came into picture to cut down the chlorine levels in the flour.
      2. If you are using chlorinated flour, heating of flour could cause detrimental effects – one that you would immediately notice is the viscosity of the batter. It would be hard to pour the batter from the mixing bowl to the cake bowl.
      3. Heating flour makes the starch more hydrophilic (water hating) and helps it bind more oil as well as stabilize the gas bubbles (just like stronger film surrounding the bubbles). This is very different from baking powder. Which basically acts to produce air cells. Since you are having better air cell stability using “kate flour” the amount of baking powder can be reduced. Try 1/2 or 1/3 of the original recipe.
      4. If you are making pudding try heating potato flour to have a cohesive paste after heating. Potato flour has different starch composition as compared to corn or wheat.

      Hope this helps.

      Reply
  6. Andrea Harris

     /  April 8, 2008

    Hi Kate. I’m so glad I found your site. I’m an American living in Tasmania, and I’ve been fighting with the flour here (what a mess!) Nothing ever bakes the way I would expect it to. I still haven’t conquered an open crumb Italian loaf…
    What is the chemical makeup of English baking powder (since it works better with Kate flour)? I import US baking powder for some uses. But if local stuff works better, I’ll use it.
    Thanks.

    Reply
  7. Hi Andrea,
    I’m pleased you’re having better results with kate flour :-) The jury’s still out on the baking powder question, but it’s probably worthwhile trying your local brand. I’m using Super Cook baking powder at the moment, but I also use Fiddes Payne. The Super Cook bp states: “Rice flour + Raising Agents – Disodium diphosphate, Sodium hydrogen carbonate”
    HTH :-)

    Reply
  8. Hazel

     /  May 9, 2008

    Hi again Kate, it’s been awhile since I posted last, but I only got round to testing my flour yesterday. I did two batches. The first batch I overcooked, it ended up 145C with a distinct smoky smell and some browner patches in the flour, so I did a second batch.

    My results:
    Mitsides Plain Flour (Cyprus)
    8 minutes at 800W
    1 cup = 123g

    Mitsides flour page: http://www.mitsidesgroup.com/main/main.asp?cm=0203

    Protein content isn’t specified on the flour packet, and my email to the producer has yet to be answered, so I didn’t add any cornflour.

    Used the flour to bake half a recipe of the wedding cake base from Baking with Julia, but substituted 1/4 cocoa powder to make it chocolate flavour. Unfortunately didn’t have time to do a side-by-side comparison with untreated flour, but I hope to do it today.

    Again, thank you for sharing this idea!

    Reply
  9. I read your previous posts with regards to the history of kate flour and it really is amazing. I got here because I was reading from Rose’s blog about cake flour and if I can successfully make my own kate flour here it would definitely help me in terms of costs of the ingredients because commercial cake flour in the supermarkets in my country are really expensive.

    Reply
  10. Sugar

     /  August 8, 2008

    Hi, And thanks a million for this awsome discovery. I am in Norway and just starting up my weddingcake business. I love Rose’s TCB and wanted to use that as my base. BUT all my cakes were dense, soggy and too sweet.

    When I read this I see some hope!!!

    However, I am not sure i understood step nine. Do you want me to make an other batch of microwaved flour and the repeat step 7-8?? Or is the 280 gr of flour enough to repeat the process twice and then mix????

    Reply
  11. Hi Sugar – I wrote the instructions based on my own experiences of microwaving flour in my own microwave. I found that it was best to microwave 10 oz at a time – any less, and the bed depth was too little (I even melted through a plastic plate once by putting too little flour on it! That’s why I use pyrex now) … any more and the bed depth was too great. If you have a bigger plate and microwave, then I’d guess you could microwave more in one go.

    You need to aim for a bed depth of about 2cms. Depending on your flour and the power of your microwave, it helps to microwave in even shorter bursts than I suggested above. I sometimes microwave for only 20 to 30 seconds at a time to avoid the flour browning. The best way is to go by the temperature on a thermometer – stop microwaving when it reaches 130 degrees C.

    I haven’t had any problems storing this flour once it has cooled, so you can make up enough for several cakes. Rather than substituting with cornflour by volume as I suggest above, it’s easier and more exact to substitute by weight. Sieve the microwaved flour to remove the lumps, then weigh it. If you started with a higher-protein flour, you’ll need to add more cornflour than if you started with a lower-protein flour. It’s best to aim for a final protein content of about 7-8% Usually, this means I add 1 0z of cornflour for every 4 oz of microwaved flour. If you have some, you could also try adding 1/4 tsp xanthan gum to every 4 oz flour. When you’ve finally got everything together in one large bowl, give it a good whisk to combine everything evenly!

    Hope that helps – and good luck with your wedding cake business!

    Reply
  12. I use proprietory gluten-free flour with xanthan gum, could I use your technique with non-gluten flour (rye; rice etc) or are they already refined?

    Reply
  13. I’ve never tried gluten-free baking, Dennis, so I really don’t know what it’s about … but I wouldn’t have thought that microwaving non-gluten flour would have any benefit for the sorts of recipes you will be using. Do let me know if you find out that I’m wrong!!

    Reply
  14. Tania

     /  October 3, 2008

    Dear Kate,a few more questions,please. After microvawing the flour ,how much do you put in the oven-what is left of 280gr.?And how much water do you pour in the tray,or it does not matter?I also baked quite a lot using Kates flour,but always encountered one problem-the cakes are extremely fragile and easely fall apart?Is it normal or is it my fault?

    Reply
  15. Hi Tania :-)
    My re-hydration technique is slightly under-refined at the moment ;-) but I usually spread all of the flour I’ve microwaved onto a large baking tray. I pour the hot water into a pyrex bowl (it makes the procedure slightly less sloppy than pouring it into a baking tray, which I originally used) on the shelf below the flour. It doesn’t really matter how much water you use, as long as there’s enough to generate some steam. I ususally re-fill the bowl a couple of times, shutting the oven door after each refill to ‘steam’ the flour as much as possible.
    re cakes falling apart – when you take them out of the oven, are you leaving the cakes for long enough (10 mins) in the pans before turning them out to cool? They can crumble easily if you try to turn them out too soon, I find. Hope that helps …

    Reply
    • Susan

       /  January 13, 2010

      Kate
      Today for the first time I attempted to ‘kate’ some plain flour. Forgive my ignorance, but if the purpose of all this is to heat-treat the flour to remove the moisture, why does it have to be re-hydrated (in step #7)? Could this step not be eliminated by natural cooling. Perhaps I am not understanding the purpose of this technique?! And so I stopped at step #6 but thought I had better enquire before I put this flour to use and my Rose recipe flops.
      Please advise! Thanks, Susan

      Reply
      • Hi Susan – my understanding of the process of heat-treatment changed over the course of my trials. Whilst I initially believed that the reduction in moisture was a primary effect, I later came to understand that it’s more of a necessary side-effect: the flour needs enough moisture content to allow it to react with the microwave field, but the major effect of heat-treatment is a ‘roughening’ or rupturing of the surface of the starch molecules. If you want to use the flour immediately after microwaving, then it’s probably worthwhile attempting to re-hydrate it in some way (eg. by steaming it in the oven!) or your cake may be very dry. If you can wait a while longer before using it, then the flour will rehydrate naturally, as you say.
        I hope that helps :-)

        Reply
        • Susan

           /  January 14, 2010

          Thank you so much Kate for your explanation. I have another to ask: I have a 1kg bag of Doves type ‘O’ organic pasta flour and wonder if this is suitable for kate flour. I don’t know if there is a difference with the type ‘OO’ you have used in your experiments or does it matter? This type ‘O’ contains durum flour and has a 12g per 100g protein content. Is it safe to kate this type of flour for cake making. Thanks much.

  16. Tania

     /  December 5, 2008

    Dear Kate,my husband recently brought bleached flour from America.I baked and experimented,but would like to share my thoughts with you.If you are interested,then e-mail please.

    Reply
  17. Hi Kate, your flour experiments have been extremely exciting to read. I have access to bleached all purpose flour (it’s actually hard to find unbleached all purpose flour where I live), but I was wondering if you knew if microwaving that would make a difference. I guess what I’m asking is can bleached all purpose flour substitute for cake flour better when microwaved? I always read about adding corn starch to all purpose flour to substitute for cake flour, but I’ve never tried that because I was afraid the cornstarch would suck up all the liquid and turn the cake dry (not sure if that actually happens, just a thought). Whenever I do sub cake flour for all purpose, I just subtract 2 tablespoons instead to match the lower protein content.

    Reply
    • Hi Steph :-)

      There are sources that suggest that the microwave-treatment of bleached flour gives improved results, but I’ve never actually tried it. I really would advise that you are cautious if you do give it a go – when Woody (Rose’s tester) microwaved some cake flour in an experiment for me, it caught fire in the microwave! I don’t know whether this was caused by the bleaching of the flour or by the extremely fine size of the flour particles, but I would certainly be careful about microwaving bleached all-purpose flour. I haven’t found that adding cornflour/cornstarch in ‘kate flour’ preparations results in a dry cake though, so I’d imagine that it will give equally good results when mixed with all-purpose flour to lower the protein. You could give it a go to see if you notice any differences.

      I hope that helps :-) .

      Reply
      • Shiva

         /  December 14, 2009

        The catching of flour on fire is a perfect example of uncontrolled power settings on the microwave. The recommendations that are given in your original blog are excellent at 80% power settings. The observing of fire could also be due to over heating of flour. According to the original patent (Gusek, 1995) the flour has to be dried to about 2% moisture (db).

        One simple way of monitoring the moisture loss of flour is by weighing. Since your original flour contains ~13% moisture and you are drying it to ~2% moisture you will be losing 12 gms for every 100gms of flour. So when you use 280gm you will be losing around 30-33gms of the original weight. However, if you go above this charring of the flour followed by fire is inevitable.

        Also, other precaution such as not using aluminum film and lead based paints in microwave have to be followed.

        Thanks Kate for giving us the “kate flour” :)

        Reply
  18. Thanks for replying Kate. I’ve seen cornflour being added to allpurpose as a substitute for cake flour all the time, but I guess i was just thinking that if I was taking away the all purpose flour to match protein then I didn’t need to add anything in. It’s just that I made chocolate chip cookies one time that said to add cornflour and they were horribly dry (it’s freaked me out ever since). Since Rose and you use the cornflour substitution, I will give it a try next time!

    Reply
  19. Laurel

     /  September 18, 2009

    Hi Kate,
    I read with interest your formulations for kate flour. I was wondering whether microwaving the flour together with a glass of water in the microwave could maintain hydration of the flour while simultaneously subjecting the flour to the microwave processes, thereby eliminating the oven step. What do you think?

    Reply
  20. Hi Laurel – If you have a large enough microwave, I think it possibly could work (I recall reading about a similar process in industrial heat-treatment of flour, but my microwave is way too small to fit in anything other than the flour itself!). Since the flour needs to cool before I can use it anyway, I don’t find the oven step too much of a problem (I let the flour rehydrate while it’s cooling), but if you wanted to try to maintain hydration whilst microwaving, it would be interesting to hear about your results :-)

    Reply
    • Shiva

       /  December 14, 2009

      As mentioned in my earlier comments, for “kate flour” to work moisture content of flour has to be reduced to ~2%. Flour will be naturally be rehydrated during cooling under room conditions. Typically moisture content is equilibrated to about ~10-11% (depending on the nature of the starch). I came across a research work from Kansas State University, who have described heating under increased moisture conditions to improve cake volume but is deleterious to cake texture. So I would not recommend using water glass in microwave along with flour.

      However, increasing the moisture content of flour does reduce color formation. Color formation in flour is my two different mechanisms firstly, due to protein and starch at low moisture and peeling of starch (formation of dicarbonyl compounds). These two reactions are not favored at high moisture (which usually favors protein hydration and gelatinization).

      In conclusion, using water in microwave is not theoritically favored :)

      But I’m curious to know your results. Hope this helps.

      Reply
  21. Hi Kate

    I made sponge cakes using Kate Flour last night and although it took wayyy too long to make Kate flour (i cheated and microwaved the flour for a minute before stirring them and yeah, they turned brown, but not too bad), it actually works! My sponge cakes are lighter! Thank you!!!

    You’re a genius!

    Steph

    Reply
  22. Hi Kate

    Thanks so much for your comment on my blog. My xanthan gum arrived last week and my instant-read themometer today, so I am very excited to get home and get microwaving!

    I no longer groan in frustration when I see “cake flour” in a recipe, and am so excited to try all the cakes that I skipped over until now.

    Will let you know how it goes!

    Best,
    Romy

    Reply
  23. Janice

     /  March 12, 2010

    Hi Kate
    Not been in touch for a while but I’ve been delighted to read of your co-operation with Rose, the queen of cakes!
    I’ve been using Kate flour for ages now and it makes lovely lovely cakes. Only problem is I can’t now get McDougalls OO flour – no-one near me is stocking it. In fact I’m not sure if they’ve stopped making it. Can I use Be-Ro Plain flour and treat it the same as OO flour….will I get the same sort of results or do I need to vary the proportion of cornflour or something?

    Hope you and the family are all keeping well. Keep up the great work.

    Best wishes

    Janice

    Reply
    • It’s lovely to hear from you again, Janice!
      I find that plain flour tends to give a coarser crumb than the finer 00 flour. Have you tried any local deli or farm shops? They sometimes stock different brands of 00 flour. Alternatively, you could try ordering it online … Melinda swears by the cake flour from Shipton Mill (it’s unbleached and v. finely milled). I haven’t tried it yet, but Sainsburys seem to have stopped selling my own favourite brand of 00 flour so I think I’ll be ordering some from Shipton Mill myself soon.
      I hope that helps … :-)

      Reply
  24. Janice

     /  March 15, 2010

    Hi Kate
    Thanks for your reply. I hadn’t thought of checking my local health shop and deli…will do so pronto. I checked with McDougalls and they said they haven’t stopped making the OO flour but that the only stores it goes to are Somerfield and Sainsburys and we don’t have either of these near to us. I looked at the Shipton Mill website – looks great, but only prob is they charge extra postage to send to the Highlands…so it would make the flour a bit of a luxury. I just wish Tesco would stock the OO again as I’ve just about finished my supply. I’ve gotten so used to having lovely sponges….thanks to you and Rose!…dreading to think what they’ll be like without Kate Flour!!
    I’ m so delighted to hear of your continuing success… you deserve it. Mcdougalls should employ you to create Kate Flour for them to market! I’d buy it!!!
    Best wishes
    Janice

    Reply
  25. Sharon

     /  March 21, 2010

    Hi Kate, thank you for the info on Kate flour, comes as a boon to folks who have no access to cake flour.

    I have a doubt… if I were to simply warm the all purpose bleached flour to the temp of 130 degrees C and do the adition of req amt of cornstarch as mentioned in the Kate Flour on a GAS STOVE and then rehydrate it in a cold oven, will it yeild the same desirable results you have achieved microwaving it?
    Kindly let me know. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi Sharon :-)

      Are you thinking about heating your flour in a gas oven or in a saucepan on top of the stove? If it’s in the oven, there’s information about this method earlier in this comment thread. Heating it in a saucepan would be a novel idea, though – it might work, but you’d need to stir it continuously as I’d imagine that it would be very easy to burn the flour by doing it this way.

      Reply
  26. Georgia

     /  March 30, 2010

    What’s all this about microwaving? I am confused.Is it or isnt safe to use microwaves?

    Reply
    • Microwaving is simply a way to alter unbleached flour so that it performs in a similar way to bleached flour. As far as I know, it is perfectly safe to use a microwave so long as you take normal safety precautions (don’t place anything metal inside the microwave, watch carefully so that the items inside the microwave don’t burn, stir to equalize the temperature etc).

      Reply
  27. Annemarie

     /  April 19, 2010

    Hi Kate
    Just wondered if you would clarify for me. I have been reading about your work for the last 2 days both from your own blog and via info from Rose’s website ( I initially went on there with a query re the US and UK versions of her book and was kindly redirected to you from another poster.) Anyways, from the above info. McDougalls 00 flour is used successfully but on another page somewhere am I correct in thinking you preferred Dove’s pasta flour? I am just wondering which info supersedes the other – I am desperate to try your Kate flour so I can try some recipes from another site I visit which call for cake flour also am I correct in thinking rehydration step is only required if you are going to use the Kate flour immediately. Any advice would be great and thank you so much for such an interesting take on baking – truly amazing!

    Reply
    • Hi Annemarie :-)

      I haven’t been able to find Dove’s pasta flour for some time, although I did find it slightly better than McDougall’s 00. My favourite was a soft-wheat Italian flour I found in Sainsbury’s, but once again, this seems to have disappeared from the shelves. Melinda likes the cake flour (unbleached) from Shipton Mill, which I’m intending to try too sometime soon. McDougall’s 00 is perfectly okay though – it certainly gives a cake with a less coarse crumb than plain flour does.

      And yep, the re-hydration step is only really worthwhile if you’re planning on using the flour immediately. Good luck – I’d love to hear how you get on :-)

      Reply
  28. AnneMarie

     /  April 27, 2010

    Hi Kate
    Jut to let you know your flour worked a treat – I now have a cake that looks and tastes the way I want it to for my friends wedding next year.  I did a White cake with White chocolate ganache and fondant – totally to die for only one person didn’t like it – my DH ate the sponge and left the rest lol
    Thanks a million x

    AnneMarie

    Reply
    • Thanks for keeping in touch, Annemarie :-) . I’m so pleased (and relieved!) the flour worked for you. You’re very brave to be making a wedding cake – the very idea of it terrifies me!

      Reply
  29. jensunnyside

     /  August 19, 2010

    I’m excited to try out your flour, but I have two questions.

    1) How long does the flour keep once made? I don’t see myself making the flour and baking in the same day. I have a one year old to entertain lol!

    2) Have you used your flour for pie crust? Any recommendations for using it in Rose’s Flaky Cream Cheese pie crust recipe?

    TIA
    Jen

    Reply
    • Hi Jen. I have a tin labelled ‘flour’ that I keep on top of my cookbook bookshelves in the kitchen. I use it to store all the leftover bits of microwaved flour from batches that I make for baking with. The flour seems to be fine for several months after microwaving, as long as you make sure it’s fully cooled before you move it to an airtight container.

      I did use the flour once for pie crust (without lowering the protein content by mixing it with cornflour), but I have to confess that I normally use a mix of extra-fine self-raising flour and plain flour now, reserving the microwaved flour for cakes. If you do use it for pie crusts, the most important thing is possibly allowing the flour to regain moisture content (either by steaming it or preparing it in advance) so your pastry isn’t dry and crumbly.

      I hope that helps :-) .

      Reply
  30. cynthia lim

     /  December 31, 2010

    recently i bought the cake bible uk version and wanted to try out the recipes however i live in the uk and realised that we do not have bleached flour. i want to try kate flour. the recipes call for both self raising sponge flour and plain flour. do i substitute the plain flour for kate flour and still include self raising flour? i am a bit confused.

    Reply
    • Hi Cynthia,
      I also have the UK version of the Cake Bible. It can be a bit tricky to convert the recipes back to the US version, but essentially it works if you total the amounts of self-raising and plain flour, then add in the amount of baking powder that the self-raising flour would have contained. The total amount of flour (SR + plain) is the amount of ‘kate’ flour that you should use. You also have to adjust the salt amount to take into account the fact that SR flour contains salt.

      Reply
    • Susan Ransome

       /  January 3, 2011

      Why would you want to convert UK (unbleached) flour to US (bleached) flour when this version (UK) of the book was written specifically for the UK market and you are resident in the UK?! Now, I am confused!

      Reply
      • Rose wrote this UK version of the Cake Bible at a time when self-raising flour in the UK was bleached. This meant that the plain flour in the UK versions of the recipes represents the flour that couldn’t be included as bleached self-raising flour as it would yield a too-high percentage of baking powder. After Rose’s UK version of the Cake Bible was published, EU regulations changed meaning that self-raising flour, as well as plain flour, could no longer be bleached in the UK, thereby rendering the UK version of the Cake Bible obsolete.

        Reply
        • Susan Ransome

           /  January 4, 2011

          Thanks Kate. For those of us with access to bleached US flour and the UK version of the cake bible, what is the suggested conversion from self raising/plain to US bleached flour?

  31. Hi Susan,

    As a general rule, the weight of flour is the same in both the UK and US versions. So, for example, if the UK version required 8 oz of SR flour and 2 1/2 oz of plain flour, then the US version would require 10 1/2 oz of cake flour. You then need to calculate how much baking powder and salt to add to the UK recipe (ie. the amount that would have been in the SR flour). In the ingredients section, Rose explains that the self-raising flour she used at the time of writing the UK version contained 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt per 3 1/2 oz flour.

    In theory, this should be a straightforward calculation. However, there are discrepancies between the results obtained this way and the actual amounts of baking powder/salt used in the US version, possibly because Rose might have discovered that the higher protein of plain flour required extra adjustments to the ratios in the UK version.

    I’ve always found it best to refer to the US version of the recipes rather than attempt to calculate and second-guess at the adjustments needed (whilst I am very fond of my UK Cake Bible, I regard it more now as a historical curiosity than as a practical resource when it comes to the recipes that rely on bleached flour for their success – fortunately, there is so much more to the book than simply these recipes!).

    Just to illustrate:

    Yellow Butter Cake (p. 28) (in which there is a mistake in my version of the UK book re baking powder): UK = 10 1/2 oz SR flour; US = 10 1/2 oz cake flour plus 1 tbsp+1tsp bp

    Golden Luxury Butter Cake (p. 40): UK = 10 1/2 oz SR flour; US = 10 1/2 oz cake flour plus 1 tbsp+1 1/2 tsp bp

    Perfect Chocolate Butter Cake (p. 47): UK = 8 1/4 oz SR flour; US = 8 1/4 oz cake flour plus 1 tbsp bp

    Perfect Pound Cake (p. 9): UK = 3 1/2 oz SR flour plus 1 3/4 oz plain flour; US = 5 1/4 oz cake flour plus 3/4 tsp bp

    All of the above also need a slight increase in salt to compensate for that in the SR flour – 1/4 to 1/2 tsp is usually all that is needed.

    I hope this is helpful …!

    Reply
    • Susan

       /  January 5, 2011

      Indeed Kate! Thank you for taking the time to explain, and to think I could have just purchased the US version instead of waiting for the UK version…

      Reply
  32. Candice Dillen

     /  March 3, 2011

    I’ve recently baked 2 cakes using Kate flour (made with McDougalls 00) and whilst they’ve both tasted great with a excellent texture they’ve both sunk in the middle once take out of the oven. I’m wondering if this is something to do with the flour or something else like oven temperature.
    I’ve also been looking at Shipton Mill cake flour – as it is seemingly already a lower protein, after heat treating would I still need to substitute some with corn flour?
    Thanks for any advice.

    Reply
    • Hi Candice – I’d guess that the sinking in the middle is most likely to be due to either your oven temperature (is it too low? – you can check with an oven thermometer) or your baking time (are you taking out your cakes too early?). Re Shipton Mill cake flour – I haven’t baked with it yet and can’t remember offhand what the protein percentage is, but I’d probably try it first without cutting the protein content with cornflour if it’s already at around the 7-8% mark. I hope that helps … :-)

      Reply
      • Candice

         /  March 4, 2011

        Thanks a lot for your reply. I’ve just bought an oven thermometer so will check to make sure. I’ve also recently bought some T45 flour called Fleur de Lys from a French delicatessan near to me. It doesnt say what the protein content is but looking forward to giving it a try. I presume I should still heat treat it and probably try it with and without cornflour. Have you ever used T45 flour – would be interesting to know if anyone has and what the results have been.

        Reply
  33. I’ve tried some French flours, but I don’t think I’ve come across the one you describe, Candice. It will be interesting to see how it performs (is it a bread flour or a ‘plain’ flour, do you know?).

    Reply
  34. ianc

     /  March 20, 2011

    Hi Kate,

    I’m planning on making my wedding cake and as a first step carried out some initial comparisons between flours etc for a genoise sponge using the recipe from Rose’s heavenly cakes (from the White Gold passion genoise). As the method for making Kate flour was also in the book, I included that as a test. Unfortunately the sponge turned out worse than a standard flour – the cake was denser and the rise lower. Two thoughts occurred to me as to why this might be: first that I omitted the hydration step before using the flour; second that using Kate flour in a genoise rather than a butter cake might explain the difference. In any case, any thoughts appreciated.

    Thanks

    Ian

    Reply
    • Hi Ian – I’m assuming that you’re comparing a genoise made with bleached AP flour to a genoise made with heat-treated, unbleached AP flour. Is that correct? Initial thoughts – did you cut the unbleached ‘kate flour’ with cornstarch or potato starch? A higher protein content would yield a coarser crumb, which heat-treating on its own would not alleviate. Otherwise, did you make sure that the flour reached the precise temperature when you heat-treated it? You need to stir it to equalise the temperature and to make sure that you’re not getting a reading from a ‘hot-spot’. If the flour was less than the desired temp., then the heat-treating would be insufficient; conversely, you can ‘overcook’ it and end up with something that is too broken up. Apart from all of this, I’m pretty convinced that Wondra flour will certainly give you the results you’re looking for (if you have access to it … if not, then I found similar results when using Carr’s sauce flour over here in the UK). Good luck on your wedding cake – I’m very impressed!

      Reply
      • ianc

         /  March 20, 2011

        Hi Kate – Thanks for answering so quickly. Hopefully the wedding cake will end up being, if not impressive, at least upright….

        I live in the UK, so the base recipe used unbleached plain flour (protein content around 10.5%) and this worked fairly well. I followed the microwaving process pretty carefully and it was definitely up to temperature but I didn’t rehydrate before using. I also didn’t cut the kate flour. In your experience does the kate flour work better for both butter and genoise-type cakes or is it better in only butter cakes?

        Thanks for the tip on Carr’s sauce flour – I have been searching for a UK wondra equivalent, so that’s a great help. I think I will end up using a butter cake rather than a genoise as the sponge. Rose B recommends not using wondra in butter cakes. Does the Carr’s flour in your experience work well in butter cakes?

        Cheers

        Ian

        Reply
  35. I’ve only used the kate flour in butter cakes – Carr’s sauce flour gives similar results to Wondra, so I’ve never felt the need to experiment with a genoise. I wouldn’t use either Wondra or Carr’s sauce flour in a butter cake, though. It’s a very different sort of thing. It depends on what sort of cake you’re looking to have for your wedding cake. There’s the traditionally-English fruit cake (my Mum’s recipe is here); the American-style butter cake, (made with kate flour – about which you can read here); the genoise, and others besides. If you have set your heart on a butter cake, then I’d suggest you compare one of Rose’s recipes using kate flour (see the link I gave, for eg.) with a standard UK Victoria sponge recipe (using regular UK SR flour, for eg. this one by Mary Berry). Sometimes it’s best to keep it simple, and our own flours are best at giving good results for our own home-grown recipes.

    Reply
  36. Tina P

     /  May 18, 2011

    Hi Kate,

    My xanthan gum has finally arrived *excited* planning on baking many delicious treats for the next week or two and I just want to confirm the xanthan gum instructions.

    Do I add 1/4 tsp of xanthan gum for every batch of kate flour?

    Or do I add 1/4 tsp of xanthan gum to a recipe in general?

    Is there a specific weight of kate flour to xanthan gum ratio that you recommend?

    Thank you soooo much for everything, I honestly don’t feel as intimidated from baking as I did before Kate flour – it has definitely sparked a new passion ;-) !

    OOOOooh I almost forgot to mention, in the local oriental shops they sell “HongKong Flour” or “bun flour” which apparently is very equivalent to cake flour, it’s bleached, finely milled and low protein content.

    The only thing is it doesn’t mention the precise percentage of protein it contains (maybe it does, but i just can’t read it LOL) – so I haven’t been tempted try it at all just yet

    but i will deff compare it to Kate flour one day and let you know – but so far Kate flour is where it’s it ! LOL

    Kind Regards,

    Tina

    Reply
    • Hi Tina – I found that you don’t need much xanthan gum to give improvements. If the amount of flour in your recipe is 5 oz or less, then just add 1/8 teaspoon. For more flour than this, add no more than 1/4 teaspoon. You could also add the xanthan to the microwaved flour as a whole – assuming you have 9 oz or so of flour after microwaving and sieving, add the xanthan to this and whisk well to combine. This can then be stored in an airtight container ready for use. Thanks for the info about the bun flour – I’ll certainly look out for this and I’d be very interested in seeing how it compares. :-)

      Reply
  37. Tina P

     /  May 25, 2011

    Thaaaaaaaank so much ! This is AWESOME !!!!

    time for some happy baking ! lol :p !!

    Tina

    Reply
  38. cherry chang

     /  June 6, 2011

    Dear Kate and Tina,
    Thank you for the recent postings. Until the above, for some unfathomable reason, I never thought to use the dumpling and bun flour I use for Chinese dumplings, etc for baking (although it does say it can be used for “high grade cake, biscuit, cookie, etc.”) though it’s very white and very fine. Don’t know about the gluten content, but dumpling flour is considered “medium-gluten”. The dough is very extensible–the dumpling skins can be rolled very thin without developing holes.
    Anyway, tried it in Rose’s Karmel Cake today. It was perfect, rising well, very light and soft—with no need to microwave or add xanthan gum. The only thing I will say is that, as with many foodstuffs manufactured in China, I don’t know (and don’t want to contemplate) what chemicals were used to produce it . However, both brands I use are manufactured to ISO9001 and HAACP standards, which should be fine. I suppose as long as one doesn’t eat it every day….
    Hope this gives you the confidence to try it.

    Cherry

    Reply
    • Thanks for this, Cherry. I’ve never come across dumpling/bun flour, but I’ll certainly keep my eyes open for it. There’s an Asian supermarket nearby that I know of, so perhaps I might find it there.

      Reply
  39. Natan

     /  October 22, 2011

    Dear Kate,

    First of all CONGRATS for your amazing discoveries! You should win some sort of science award!!!
    I have been testing your flours, the only problem though is that I live in Chile and the flours here are sooo different !
    We only have 2 types of flour: self raising and plain. All brands claim to have the same gluten percentage (6.8 – 9%), so I was wondering if I could heat-treat the plain flour and later use as bleached AP flour… probably not I’m assuming as the gluten % is already too low… ? It’s so strange to have such a low gluten % flour called plain ! Wouldn’t it be correct to classify it as in the middle of both (cake and AP flours ?)
    Your help is much appreciated!!
    Thanks a lot ! :-)
    Natan

    Reply
    • Hi Natan – thanks for your comments :-)
      It sounds as though your plain flour is more like a pastry flour, so it should be fine for biscuits, muffins, pastry, cookies, etc. Do you have anything stronger for bread …? If you can find out the gluten content for individual brands of the plain flour, then I’d suggest using those closer to 9% as pastry flour and those in the 6.8% to 8% category as cake flour. Heat-treating both should give you the equivalents of bleached flour for the purposes of recipes using bleached AP and cake flours. I hope that helps – although the proof will be in the pudding, as it were!

      Reply
      • Natan

         /  October 25, 2011

        Hi again Kate!

        Let me tell you about my news:

        1) turns out most local brands of flour have the same gluten percentage. The only “stronger” flours are those made with semola/semolina for bread making. I don’t think these would work because they’re so thick and have a different color !

        2) I agree with you, perhaps what’s being called plain here could actually be called pastry because of it’s gluten %. Also when I try to cut it with starch I think it becomes to fragile because it’s already low in gluten (as opposed to a stronger 12% flour)

        3) On the other hand, today I went to the city’s best deli shop and found several types of flour that they import from Italy. To my disappointment they were all unbleached as I assume Italy doesn’t allow flours to be bleached either. I found a very expensive, yet very famous flour called “Caputo type 00 fine flour”. Although its recommendation would be for pizza making, I’d guess this one could work well for me. It’s finely milled from soft wheat. Its gluten % is close to 12.5%.
        What if I heat-treat it and cut it with starch (let’s saty 15-20%). I think I’d have a better shot at making cake flour !

        4) Last question! I’m opening up a bakery (this is why I’m so in love with baking and cakes in general). Since most bakers here tenjd to sell very dry cakes using the same old formula, I really wanted to offer something totally new and let’s say moist and tender ! Do you think heat-treating would be commercially viable ? With all your expertise I really would like to know what you think of the whole process and how it could be implemented on daily routine of a small bakery.

        Thank you SO much Kate ! You’re simply too Nice :-)
        Natan

        Thank you SO much Kate! You’re simply too nice :-)

        went to a deli store today and researched all types of flours they had there…

        Reply
        • Dear Natan,

          heat-treatment is a very expensive business this is why the most millers stopped it. It depends on your amount of flour you want to use in your bakery. Industrial mills can deliver around 3 tonnes min with heat-treated flour. In Europe it is not allowed to bleach flour. I think that it is good because I really don’t like all the chemicals. please also try ascorbic acid to change your flour. you will see the difference.
          The most of the chemicals are dangerous if you take it in too high doses.
          Ask your local miller for the protein content of his flour.

          have fun

          the miller master

  40. Janis

     /  December 3, 2011

    Hi Kate!
    Let me quickly ask you something – since you lived your entire life eating cakes with unbleached flour, do you agree that the bleached ones (especially cake flour) have a weird taste ? I too grew up in a place in Europe where bleaching was prohibitted and just this past week my friend brought from the US many packs of cake flour for my baking experiments. After making some recipes with it I couldn’t help but notice the funny, almost chemical taste the cake left in my mouth. I was wondering if you went through the same
    Thanks! Keep up with the amazing work!
    Janis

    Reply
    • Hi Janis – I’ve noticed that cakes made with bleached flour do have a more ‘fragrant’ taste – something almost metallic. So yes, I think the taste of chemical bleaching is probably something that is less noticed by those who have grown up eating cakes made with bleached flour. In fact, I know several people who actually prefer it over the taste of unbleached flour. Heat-treatment, in my experience, doesn’t give this same taste. HTH :-)

      Reply
  41. Liz

     /  March 17, 2012

    Kate! You’re a real life-saver! First of all, I must commend you on your Kate-Flour-discovery. Baking will be less complicated for me, now that I have found the ultimate cake flour substitute.

    I have been bitten by the baking bug ever-since I had my daughter in 2009 (in an attempt to make her a special cake for her 1st Birthday), but without success. I am originally from the Philippines but migrated to the UK 10yrs ago. I have a sweet tooth and I have always loved cakes. As far as I know, most cakes in the Phils. are made from cake flour (I can tell because of it’s fluffy-goodness in every bite :P). And I have been craving for these cakes for a very long time. Anyway, I’ve stumbled across your website through links from Rose’s blog as I have been ATTEMPTING to follow her recipes.

    I have been reading and following your posts(in the last 5 days as I cannot concentrate due to the little one – well, being herself :p) and finally got a hold of Dove’s Pasta Flour! I was really chuffed to find one available in my local Morrisons and bought 3 packets straight away. It may sound greedy, but I didn’t want to run out of stock. hehe. So here I am…nuking away my carefully-weighed pasta flour and suddenly, my eyes caught the flour packet which says “28/10/2011″ WHAT???????????????? (dont tell me my pasta flour is already expired as I only bought it yesterday!)- this is what’s going on in my mind. I cannot believe it! My flour is expired!!! Sad to say, that my baking has been put on hold at the mo, because of this unfortunate event. And let’s just say that the manager from Morrisons will have a very nice conversation with me tomorrow.

    Anyway, can you please advise your 2nd best preferred flour? I have McDougall’s Supreme Sponge which works a treat..but would be lovely to use another brand?

    Many Thanks and hope you’re having a lovely weekend?

    Reply
    • Hi Liz – sorry to hear that your flour is so out of date! One of my favourite flours for cakes is Molino Spadoni’s Gran Mugnaio, which I originally found in the speciality section of Sainsbury’s, but I’ve seen it in other places since then. You could also try Shipton Mill’s cake flour – their flours are gorgeous. Hope that helps – and good luck with your baking. Do let me know how it turns out!

      Reply
  42. Liz

     /  March 17, 2012

    Many thanks for your quick reply. This brolly-weather has made me stay indoors today. Anyway, I shall keep an eye out for the brands you’ve mentioned above and update you with my baking adventures, success or no success. :D

    Reply
  43. Dasha Platt

     /  April 5, 2012

    Hi Kate,
    Thanks so much for all of your dedication and hard work! I just wanted to let you all know that I have found a place that sells heat treated cake flour (protein content of 7.2 – 8.1%) on line. They come in 16 kg bags for £21.75 (delivered). They are FWP Matthews Ltd. Here is web address: http://www.fwpmatthews.co.uk/. You need to place the order over the phone as it is not listed in their online shop. The woman I spoke to was super helpful and said that they usually despatch same day with a next day courier.
    And if there is anyone in the South Wales area who would like some of this flour, let me know as I will have some next week!

    Cheers,
    Dasha (apologies if this info has already been posted)

    Reply
    • Thank you ever so much for this info, Dasha. I’d love to get my hands on some of this flour to try it out. I found it mentioned under Cotswold flours on this page: http://www.fwpmatthews.co.uk/products/cotswold-flours/.
      Thanks again :-)

      Reply
      • Dasha Platt

         /  April 5, 2012

        Oh, yes, that’s where I found it after scouring the website – should have posted that link, too. I will be using it to try out different cakes for my son’s wedding cake and will let you know the results. As they want a white cake I will be trying Rose’s White Velvet Butter Cake and White Chocolate Whisper Cake to start, but any suggestions would be gratefully welcomed!

        Reply
  44. Nicole

     /  April 11, 2012

    Hi everyone! After reading Dasha’s suggestion about Cotswold flour’s 16kg bag of heat treated flour and Cherry Chang’s post about the Chinese bun flour I got very excited! I attempted to make Rose B’s Manhattan coconut cake using Mc Dougall’s plain 00 flour. As you can imagine the cake halves were dense and certainly not like the pictured cake in asRose’s book! I started scouring the internet for answers and came accros A merrier world. Thanks to Kate, this is the most useful forum I have found for UK bakers who are attempting to enter into this other universe of mega complicated cake baking, where each cake’s success depends on the baker’s understanding and perseverance to search out the mysterious ‘cake’ flour, Wondra or just plain bleached flour.
    As I often shop at WIng Yip Chinese supermarket (I can really recommend the one in Brent Cross; not only can you have delicious Dim Sum after you shop, but the excellent Home Sense home furinishing store is just opposite) I thought I would pursue Cherry’s suggestion and look for the bun flour. The most likely thing I found was American Rose Flour which is bagged by Wing Yip in 1.3kg bags (£1.95/kg). There is no kind of labelling stating what kind of flour it is, but I tried it out baking the Manhattan coconut cake using this for 1 half of the cake and Kate flour with added cornflour for the 2nd half. The results were both good! well risen and most importantly light and fluffy inside! What a result. My 17 yr old son says he prefers the denser proto type cake made with the plain 00 flour, but I’ll be using the heat treated Cotswold flour from now on. It is much better value than the Chinese supermarket American rose flour. Just wanted to share this with everyone, in case they have easy access to such an ethnic shop.

    Nicole

    Reply
    • Thanks, Nicole – it’s great to know that there are alternatives to bleached cake flour out there in the UK now. And I’m pleased you find A Merrier World so useful – thanks for telling me :-)

      Reply
  45. Dianne Brims

     /  June 15, 2012

    I thought I was the only person who was obsessed with being able to cook with bleached cake flour, having tried it (via very expensive import from US), hello fellow traveller! I am a compulsive baker and believe the bundt pound cake is America’s gift to the world! I love US cakes and you just don’t get the result with the “cake flour” on supermarket shelves.It is not bleached and in any case the protein content is still too high. I am in the process of buying a bag of the “available for commercial use only” chlorinated flour here in AUS via my usual supplier of bulk flours ( I bake for a local cafe so usually buy in these quantities) however I am still not certain I will actually receive it as I have received 2 phonecalls already from the flour company. I just don’t get it. If all the commercial cakes have it in them then why is it not available to anyone who wants to use it?Doesn’t make sense. Anyway, being obsessed with getting what I want when it comes to baking I have persuaded the shop to order it in for me.Even so, I still think what they make here has a protein count that is a bit high.
    I am excited to know there are other people as obsessive as me about cake science.I knew about Kate Flour but was never keen on doing it which is when I imported some. Expensive but fantastic Nick Malgieri lemon pound cakes were the result. I admire your tenacity Kate.
    Cheers from Downunder (I have no-one to talk cake to, I live in a small town)
    Di Brims

    Reply
    • Hi Di – thanks for saying hello! It’s always lovely to hear from fellow obsessives ;-)
      If you do actually manage to get hold of some of your Aus cake flour, you could try cutting the protein content with cornflour (or any other starch of your choice) to see if that helps.

      Reply
  46. Charlotte

     /  June 15, 2012

    Oh Kate! You are a marvel!
    I have spent the last hour happily reading through all the kate-flour posts and comments and feel as though you’ve turned on the light in a very gloomy oven. Additional plaudits seeing as you’ve managed all this with tiny child and home kitchen.
    I found your site after another blog I follow recommended the Cake Bible, which I dutifully looked up on Amazon UK and *crucially* I also read the reviews. A helpful reviewer mentioned your experiments in achieving the perfect cake-flour UK substitute and here we are.
    What a good job you’ve done. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Charlotte – the whole microwaving thing has been a bit of a whirlwind, hairbrained escapade! I’m looking forward to seeing these heat-treated flours being made commercially available now for home bakers.

      Reply
  47. Hi Kate,

    Did you know that Swan’s cake flour is sold at “The Stateside Candy Company” (http://www.americansweets.co.uk)?

    Cheers,
    Joanna

    Reply
  48. steepedinchocolate

     /  May 10, 2013

    Hey Kate, just wanted to let you know abt my findings and ask you a few really puzzling questions !! : ) , first off, I did try making the Kate flour and I did manage to get my flour upto a temperature of 130 degrees , however it took me much longer than expected !! Zany least half an hour of stirring every 10 seconds , I tried it making it 2 times in the past one week and I just could not manage to get it to 130!! , after 40 minutes of standing in front of the microwave stirring every 10 seconds, I gave up ! It reached a temperature of 112 . Just a few particulars I am using a Panasonic microwave with 1000W and a therms pen for measuring… It also is fan operated, could that be a reason ? Also the 2 batches of flour that I have now, is it possible to try microwaving them again ? If I were to try again? Or should I start with a new batch ? So sorry for all the questions !!! And much thanks in advance : )

    Reply
    • Hi – thanks for getting in touch. I haven’t ever used a microwave with a fan, so I don’t know how that would affect the results. One thing that does occur to me though – are you stirring vigorously between blasts? If so, perhaps the flour is cooling more, which would account for the longer time it’s taking to reach the right temperature. Reheating the same flour again should be okay but make sure it isn’t too dried out or toasted after is previous turn in the microwave. Hope that helps :-)

      Reply
  49. marg

     /  August 28, 2013

    can you use this method to make steamed chinese buns? will this turn them white?

    Reply
  50. Tonia

     /  October 4, 2013

    Hi Kate,

    Im wondering if I can heat treated my flour in larger batches and then just store it as I would normal flour (can you suggest a good way?), would it keep, and for how long?

    Also, the gum that you say to add at the end of the process, is it entirely necessary? I’m finding it a little difficult to find it!

    Reply
  51. Tonia

     /  October 5, 2013

    Hi Kate,

    Just a few quick questions:

    1) Can I make multiple batches of this heat treated flour and store as I usually would? How long would it last without losing its heat treated properties?

    2) In RLB’s book ‘Rose’s Heavenly Cakes’ her version of your method suggests that if you live in a dry environment you should continue with the rehydrating of the flour with the stepsabove in the oven. Would you consider Australian weather to be dry? We are coming up to summer but Im wondering if I skip this rehydration step how much it will effect the flour?

    Reply
    • Hi Tonia – thanks for getting in touch. Sorry about the delay in my response …
      Okay, here’s what I think (not necessarily correctly though – these are just my thoughts!) – Yes, you can make multiple batches of heat treated flour. I’ve done that myself and stored it for just as long as I’ve ever stored untreated flour. My guess would be that the flour is unlikely to lose its heat-treated properties because firstly, they are structural changes and secondly, the heat treatment speeds up the natural aging process anyway.
      Rehydration – I generally do this only if the flour feels/looks very dried out after being microwaved. In my experience, it’s more likely to need some sort of rehydration if the heat-treatment temp has been reached quickly (the flour is also more likely to be toasted too).
      Xanthan gum – no, it’s not strictly necessary. It’s just something that you might like to give a go if you manage to find some …
      Hope that helps. Good luck!

      Reply
  52. Tonia

     /  October 7, 2013

    Hi Kate,

    Thanks so much for the reply :) I found the gum so will be using it. I’m wondering if when bleached cake flour is stated can I heat treat unbleached cake flour and not need to add anything else? The brand avaliable here is called lighthouse flour if you can look it up and tell me if it’s appropriate I would so appreciate it!

    Thank you in advance :)

    Reply
  53. Tonia

     /  October 9, 2013

    Hi Kate,

    Sorry to ask another few questions but after reading through some of RLB’s blogs I just want to clarify some points;

    1. Should I be using normal all purpose unbleached flour (heat treated of course) when a recipe calls for bleached all purpose flour?

    2. When is it necessary to use pasta 00 flour? I have seen that mentioned by you on a few postings and just want to clarify when it’s preferable to general all purpose flour?

    3. Just in regards to my last question about cake flour – can I heat treat unbleached cake flour (Lighthouse brand) and use it in a recipe (after being heat treated) that calls for bleached cake flour?

    Thank you so much in advance!!

    Reply
  54. Thank you so much for sharing this, I tried it and my cake was WOW! I now have made a large batch of the flour (it took quite some time) and use it for every recipe calling for cake flour. I am baking a lot more now because my cakes turn out so good.

    It is very generous of you to share this information, and as a cake enthusiast who is FINALLY able to make the white velvet cake, I run out blessing I send your way everytime I bake.

    Wishing you everything you wish for yourself!

    Reply
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