My so-called ‘kate-flour‘ has miraculously transformed my entire experience of baking from The Cake Bible this last week. Witness my Golden Luxury Butter Cake, formerly known as a soggy, dense lump of play-dough.
However, it appeared that Dove’s Farm speciality pasta flour was key to this success … and also that some people were having difficulty sourcing this in their local supermarkets. Rose asked me if the microwaving/cornflour method might work for plain flour too. If so, this would make it virtually universally possible to create ‘kate-flour’ in place of ‘cake-flour’.
Unfortunately, my baking results yesterday didn’t suggest that plain flour would work. Substituting plain flour for pasta flour in the ‘kate-flour’ treatment hailed a return to sogginess. It was disappointing, but at least we knew …
Or did we …?
Thinking things through once again in the early hours of this morning (my 6 month old doesn’t yet ‘sleep through’), I remembered that the whole point of microwaving was to reduce the moisture content of the flour being treated to about 1% to 5%. This apparently makes the starch less impervious to water and allows it to gelatinize and swell. What if I had simply failed to reduce the moisture content of the plain flour sufficiently? If my plain flour had a higher starting moisture content than my pasta flour, wouldn’t it then require a longer treatment time in the microwave to reduce the moisture content to within the desired levels?
First thing this morning, I rushed out to buy some more McDougall’s plain flour. I weighed out 10 oz, spread this on a pyrex plate and blasted it on high in the microwave for 3 bouts of 2 minutes each, stirring the flour in between. I then substituted 2 tablespoons per cup of microwaved flour with 2 tablespoons of cornflour, and used this mix to bake yet another Sour Cream Yellow Butter Cake.
The soggy, dense lump I made yesterday with plain flour that had been microwaved for a total of only 3 minutes is on the right. The soft, melting creation I baked this morning with plain flour that had been microwaved for a total of 6 minutes is above, on the left.