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When a Cake or Pastry recipe does not specify a type of flour, what do


Aloha Steve
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A great looking Banana Chocolate Chip Upside-Down Cake was just posted in the "Your Daily Sweets....." discussion. The poster kindly included the link to the recipe. The recipe called for flour but did not specify what type. Therefore my questions:

When a Cake or Pastry recipe does not specify a type of flour, what do you use ?

Is there a rule of thumb to follow ?

edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

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All Purpose Flour (King Arthur in this house)

I agree. When nothing is specified, use AP.

Steve Lebowitz

Doer of All Things

Steven Howard Confections

Slicing a warm slab of bacon is a lot like giving a ferret a shave. No matter how careful you are, somebody's going to get hurt - Alton Brown, "Good Eats"

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I would say it depends on the types of flour available to you and the origin of the recipe. For instance, I've found - and heard others say - that many American recipes that call for all-purpose flour work better with cake or pastry flour here in Canada. I use pastry flour for many of my pastry applications (and all-purpose for the remainder), and bread flour or a mix of bread flour and all-purpose flour for breads. I've started to get the impression that flour specificity is much greater in Europe, and the technical side of my brain is a little jealous.

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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I've found - and heard others say - that many American recipes that call for all-purpose flour work better with cake or pastry flour here in Canada.

Really? That's interesting. I've never thought to try anything other than all-purpose (unless otherwise specified). I've always assumed that flours named the same would be the same across the border.

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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For home-use recipes my go-to flour is unbleached, no additive all purpose white. Certainly when testing a new recipe, I use a.p. unless specified. Sifted for cakes and pastries, but otherwise not.

Karen Dar Woon

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I've found - and heard others say - that many American recipes that call for all-purpose flour work better with cake or pastry flour here in Canada.

Really? That's interesting. I've never thought to try anything other than all-purpose (unless otherwise specified). I've always assumed that flours named the same would be the same across the border.

I agree with Mkayahara. When I was baking from a cookbook by two Canadian authors, I encountered failure after failure. One day, as I gazed at a gooey puddle in my KitchenAid bowl, which the authors said should have been a firm dough, I realized that their flour must simply have more protein in it to absorb water. In this situation, I was using all-purpose flour, when a bread flour probably would have been better.

Not all brands of all-purpose flours have the same amt of protein, although they're in the ballpark. King Arthur AP, for example, has slightly more protein (around 1% more) than Gold Medal AP. White Lily AP flour, a Southern flour, has even less protein, and is sometimes considered a pastry flour despite its label.

If a recipe only says flour, I use AP flour, preferably Gold Medal AP, which results in more tender baked goods than King Arthur AP. I use King Arthur bread flour for breads, though.

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Aloha Steve, the writer of the recipe is in Paris so would probably have different flour available to you though he does mention somewhere his American alternatives to many of the things he uses.

I personally assumed (UK) plain flour as the recipe included both baking powder and baking soda .

I'm not sure of the standard baking flours available in the US but in the UK you would generally use either self raising flour or plain flour. Self raising being flour with baking power added (i think).

Plain flour that I used worked fine for this recipe.

For any general cake recipe's I would probably assume plain flour for baking unless otherwise stated.

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