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Thread: Recipes

  1. #2141
    Picture Perfect SnowflakeGirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoneGrrrl View Post
    Bucky, sift THEN measure, or your cake will come out too heavy.
    Thanks for the great tips, PhoneGrrrl. I wonder if this sifting thing is why the blueberry muffins I made the other day came out like scones? They were good, but the texture was not muffin-y enough. They were delicious warm and with butter, but wanting truth in advertising, I started calling them "Scuffins."
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    Miz Smarty Britches queenb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoneGrrrl View Post
    All-purpose flour is good for cookies, in my experience. I use unbleached, as I don't like the idea of ozone bleaching flour. Don't use bread flour for cookies--only bread recipes that call for bread flour. Of course, I say that, and there's likely some freaky cookie recipe out there that calls for bread flour. It'll say if it needs bread flour, though.
    .
    You know, until recently there was no such thig as flour made specifically for bread! I don't know if it's something about those new bread machines that makes bread flour necessary, but when I do make bread, I make it the old fashioned way, without special flour, and it does just fine.
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  3. #2143
    Here's your sign JAFO'S PRINCESS's Avatar
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    Any time I make any type of cake or muffins I add an egg. It makes it moister and fluffy. (I learned that trick from a wedding cake baker who was also a friend's mom! )
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  4. #2144
    Premium Member DesertRose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnowflakeGirl View Post
    Thanks for the great tips, PhoneGrrrl. I wonder if this sifting thing is why the blueberry muffins I made the other day came out like scones? They were good, but the texture was not muffin-y enough. They were delicious warm and with butter, but wanting truth in advertising, I started calling them "Scuffins."
    Another tip with muffins is to not mix the batter too much. You just have to integrate the flour to the batter with a minimum of turning. It makes the muffins more muffin-y.

    DesertRose I've been wanting to get to Montreal for a very long time, not only for the food, wine and culture, but for your annual ComedyFest! I love Just For Laughs and recently saw it live here before Xmas. I'll look for the magazine!
    Sounds lovely, DesertRose! I've never been to Montreal, but would like to go some time. Plus, I love to visit great culinary destinations. For example, we're going to go to San Francisco later this year, and we're already setting aside a "food fund" for the restaurants we want to visit.
    Here is an idea, why don't we hold the next FORTcon in Montreal? John?

  5. #2145
    FORT Fogey lambikins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bucky View Post
    Hi, I'm confessing here. At my age, I want to start baking more things from scratch, but I can't remember what the guidelines are about sifting the flour, and what the best kind of flour is to use for cakes and cookies.

    Do you sift the flour first and then measure it, or do you measure it first and then sift it with the other dry ingredients? I made some Christmas cookies and they turned out way too flour-y, if that's a word?

    Also, what kind of flour does one use for cakes and cookies? I was in the flour aisle and was totally lost looking at the various kinds. Who knew there were so many? There is all-purpose, bleached, unbleached, enriched (is there un-enriched?), pre-sifted, cake, bread, etc., etc...

    Thanks in advance!
    You've gotten some great advice here, Bucky; I'm going to add what my experiences have been.

    First, regarding the "sifting" question: Nowadays, you are NOT supposed to sift All-Purpose flour for recipes. Prior to the 1960's, flour was milled with less specifications and you could get all types of sizes of flour particles in each bag. Today, with all the computers and high-tec whiz bang mills, if you buy a high quality flour, you NEVER sift.

    When you are making a baking recipe (not cake), you first stir the flour in the bag with a spoon. Then, you take your measuring device, like a tablespoon, and spoon it into your measuring cup. You continue this process until the cup is full, leveling it off with a knife until the flour is flush with the cups rim. You NEVER tap the cup to compress the flour and also, you NEVER measure flour or dried goods in anything other than Dry Measureing Cups, the type with NO SPOUT. Dry and Wet measuring cups are are calibrated differently.

    If you are making a "regular" cake, say an applesauce or yellow cake, you can certainly use All-Purpose Flour, since there's usually so much moisture in the ingredients, like oil, butter, eggs or applesauce. However, if you are making an Angel Food Cake or a fine White Cake, then it's recommended to use Cake Flour, which is even more refined than All-Purpose. The same measuring procedure that I wrote above, applies. Stir the flour, measure, don't tamp, don't pack down, level off.

    DesertRose's advice on the muffins was 100% correct! With muffins and quick breads, such as banana, you stir BY HAND, never a mixer, and you only stir the ingredients long enough to make them moist. There should be bits and pieces of flour that aren't mixed in. Using a mixer or over-beating by hand will make the muffins tough and cause them to sink. Simply spoon the batter into the muffin tins or bread pan, and do NOT tamp down the batter. You need the holes in the batter to make them "fluffy and light."

    I've also discovered that different flours "bake up" differently, some with very inconsistent results. I finally settled on King Arthur Flour because the results were consistent, time after time after time. The worst flour I ever used was General Mills; I'd bake 5 batches of cookies and then the 6th would be a complete failure...and it was the SAME recipe. King Arthur used to be Mail Order ONLY, but now it's for sale all over the place.

    Lastly, flour should never be stored in the freezer or refrigerator, as it absorbs too much moisture and prevents the absorbtion of the liquids in your recipe, resulting in a "flour-y" taste. It should be stored in a cool place, like a pantry or cupboard away from the stove, and thrown out after 6 months, because the grains in the flour turn rancid and also dehydrate, resulting in more flour-y taste.

    Here's all the information that you'll ever need to flour!

    TYPES OF FLOURS


    In the process of baking, wheat flours are the main ingredient in most products. Wheat has two main growing cycles, Spring Wheat or Winter Wheat. These cycles, along with the region and soil content produce soft and hard wheat, or wheat with a high starch content or high gluten content. The high amount of, or lack of gluten protein is what gives wheat flour its baking qualities.

    All-Purpose Flour:
    Developed for the home baker. A general all-purpose flour useful for cookies, muffins, rolls and some breads. The flour is usually made out of hard red winter wheat and/or soft winter wheat. The flour is usually bleached, malted and enriched. Typically this flour contains a protein level between 9.0% to 11.0%.


    Bread Flour:
    A flour that typically has a higher protein content than all-purpose flour capable of producing breads and rolls of excellent quality. The flour is usually made with a greater percentage of hard red winter or hard red spring wheat which have higher gluten content giving the bread dough the elastic quality necessary for greater product volume. Protein levels vary from 10.5%-12.0%. The flour is usually malted, enriched and can be unbleached or bleached. Common applications include breads, pizza crusts and specialty baked goods.

    High Gluten Flour:
    The highest gluten content of all of the wheat flours used for baking. This flour comes from Hard Winter or Spring Wheat, and has a gluten content from 12-13%. This flour is used for dough needing extra strength and elasticity such as pizza, focaccia, mullet-grain breads and Kaiser rolls.


    Whole Wheat Flour:
    Also called graham flour is flour milled form the whole grain, it contains all of the bran and germ from the wheat berry. Most whole wheat are made out a hard red wheat, but hard white wheat (a white wheat berry is "whiter in appearance" than a red wheat berry) is gaining in popularity due to its lighter appearance and naturally sweeter taste. It is used for breads, rolls and some pastries. Because it contains the germ and bran, it retains vital nutrients. It needs to be used fresh, and stored properly as it gets rancid quickly due to the high fat content from the wheat germ. Typical protein levels range from 11.5%-14.0% and most whole wheat flours are enriched.

    Self-Rising Flour:
    Self-rising flour is typically all-purpose flour (flour made from hard red winter or soft red winter wheat) blended with baking soda and salt. The flour is predominantly used for scratch biscuits, pancakes and cookies. Protein levels run from 9.5%-11.5% and the flour is enriched. This type of flour cannot have a very high protein level other wise baked end-products will not have a light and fluffy texture and will not "relax" during the baking or cooking process.


    Cake Flour:
    Usually bleached, and of soft texture and smooth feel. It is milled from soft winter wheat. It has a low protein or gluten content, and produces cakes with a tender crumb. Protein content is typically 8.5%-10% and the flour is enriched.


    Pastry Flour:
    This flour can be bleached or unbleached. Used for cookies and pastries. It too comes from soft winter wheat, and is very starchy. It has a low protein content, and produces pies and pastries with a flaky or tender consistency. Protein content is typically 8.5%-10% and the flour is enriched.


    Vital Wheat Gluten:
    Flour milled from the pure gluten derived from washing the wheat flour to remove the starch. The gluten that remains is dried, ground into a powder and used to strengthen flours lacking in gluten, such as rye or other non-wheat flours.

    Other types of Flours: Non-Wheat

    Rye Flour:
    Flour ground from the cereal grass grain rye (Gramineae). It is grown in the northern part of the United States, Canada, Eastern Europe and Russia. It has a very low gluten content (less than 2%) and is usually blended with wheat flour to produce a lighter loaf. In artisan baking, rye flour is fermented and makes very acceptable loaves. The flat breads of Scandinavia are produced from rye flours.

    Oat Flour:
    Flour ground from another cereal grass (Gramineae).
    It is used in combination with wheat flours to produce tasty breads with excellent keeping qualities, and the bran from oat flour has been found to lower cholesterol.

    Soy Flour:
    Flour derived from the soybean seeds (Leguminosae)
    Soy flour has very little starch, but is extremely high in protein.It is considered a complete protein for the human diet. It is used only as supplement to breads to increase the nutritional protein as it is low in gluten.

    http://www.flour.com/
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  6. #2146
    Miz Smarty Britches queenb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lambikins View Post
    You've gotten some great advice here, Bucky; I'm going to add what my experiences have been.

    Lastly, flour should never be stored in the freezer or refrigerator, as it absorbs too much moisture and prevents the absorbtion of the liquids in your recipe, resulting in a "flour-y" taste.
    There is a way to keep it in the fridge....I put mine in a gallon sized Ziploc and force all the excess air out, then add a second bag, and I've never had any problem making it perform as expected even if I don't get to the bottom of the bag for six months or more! . I hate throwing away pound after pound of flour because there's only one of me here, and I'm usually cooking for two only once a week. I don't always use flour either so it would add up to quite a bit wasted. I know flour is cheap, but so am I. :p

    Somehow, lambikins, after your post I am left with the sudden urge to make some bread...I have rye, WW, Oat and regular flour hanging out around here...
    Last edited by queenb; 02-24-2006 at 06:13 AM.
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  7. #2147
    FORT Fogey lambikins's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by queenb View Post
    There is a way to keep it in the fridge....I put mine in a gallon sized Ziploc and force all the excess air out, then add a second bag, and I've never had any problem making it perform as expected even if I don't get to the bottom of the bag for six months or more! . I hate throwing away pound after pound of flour because there's only one of me here, and I'm usually cooking for two only once a week. I don't always use flour either so it would add up to quite a bit wasted. I know flour is cheap, but so am I. :p

    Somehow, lambikins, after your post I am left with the sudden urge to make some bread...I have rye, WW, Oat and regular flour hanging out around here...
    So-o-o, how's that bread comin' along, queenb? Behold the power of Subliminal Messages: "Flour-Flour-Flour-Bread-Bread-Bread..."

    You make an excellent point about the flour storage and how to get around the absorbtion problem! The problem is that advice on cooking lags far-far behind technology; Ziploc bags weren't invented when Gran's and Mom's started teaching their kidlets to bake and passed down information is rarely updated to incorporate such wonderous inventions as the Ziploc. Even reading 2006 baking magazines, they'll say: "Never store flour in the refrig or freezer" and these are the people who should know about vapor locks. THANKS for the great advice; you've just saved me a ton of money on my car insurance...oops!...wrong ad....a ton of money on tossed out flour!

    Question to you, queenb: I've read and been taught to have all dry ingredients at "room temperature"; do you allow your flour to sit 'out' for a while, when you use it (say 10-15 minutes) or do you find there's not a problem with using cold flour?
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  8. #2148
    Miz Smarty Britches queenb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lambikins View Post
    Question to you, queenb: I've read and been taught to have all dry ingredients at "room temperature"; do you allow your flour to sit 'out' for a while, when you use it (say 10-15 minutes) or do you find there's not a problem with using cold flour?
    I'm not off until Monday, so 'bread day' will have to be then!
    I actually never gave much thought to the "room temp" thing, so I guess it's a lucky for me thing that I happen to always measure out m dry stuff first, then get out everything else, and not in any big hurry either! ou know, when you make bread you usually have the milk-scalding step first, with cakes and cookies its the cream butter and sugar deal. I also do all the pan preperation and so forth after I get all the ingredients out. So say yes, it shoud be up to a normal temperature by that time.

    One thing I hate-hate-hate! I started making bread when I was in high school, and did it all the time because my Dad loved it so much, and I found this cool recipe/grid of which ingredients to switch out and in which amounts if you wanted to make different styles of bread, plus it was easy to make up your own new combination yet have it come out great. Well, after not making much bread for quite a while, that old thing is apparently gone forever, unless one of you out there has something like it. If you do and post it here, I would be ever so grateful!
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  9. #2149
    FORT Fogey misskitty's Avatar
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    QueenB Why are you up at 3 and 4 AM talking about flour and bread? Can't you sleep? I'm gonna get worried
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  10. #2150
    Miz Smarty Britches queenb's Avatar
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    Thanks for the concern, misskitty, but now that I'm back to work this is my dinner hour! I'm the resident vampire around here, who sleeps 9 AM to 5 PM, unless I'm on vacation or something. I work weekends too, so I do end up online at some really weird times of day!
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