Single Acting Baking Powder Problem with Cake,and more


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I am trying to perfect a French Almond Cake. In homage to my ancestry, I am trying to use German or Alsace single acting baking powder. Twice now my cake has sunk a lot in the middle third of the nine inch round cake, late in the bake. Cakes tastes good, and has a good crumb...except in that middle, and it is ok. The second time, I took extra precautions, such as preheating pan a bit, all ingredients at room temperature, not ever mix batter, and get it in oven quickly. Should I just, give up and return to double acting baking powder?
Also, is the call for yogurt in the recipe a recent thing, or a traditional alternative to butter?
Thank you, brad
 
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Here is a pic.
IMG_20210221_112614360.jpg
 
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Not sure if it is the contemporary norm, but it is still available in home size sachets, about 3 tspn. But I thought some folks must be using it, if it still being produced and sold. Therefore, I thought I would buys some and try it. My problem, may be something else, as well?
But sometime in the past single acting baking powder may have been the only bp available. The outer 3 inches or so bakes just fine. If I were to guess...the inside portion of the 9 inch round is degassing before the cake can set, because it does rise first just like the outer portion. Thanks, brad
 
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Not sure if it is the contemporary norm, but it is still available in home size sachets, about 3 tspn. But I thought some folks must be using it, if it still being produced and sold. Therefore, I thought I would buys some and try it. My problem, may be something else, as well?
But sometime in the past single acting baking powder may have been the only bp available. The outer 3 inches or so bakes just fine. If I were to guess...the inside portion of the 9 inch round is degassing before the cake can set, because it does rise first just like the outer portion. Thanks, brad

i’ve been a baker for 20 years. I’ve taken baking classes with master bakers who trained in France. I’ve taken classes in Italy. I have a extensive collection of cake recipes from top pastry chefs dating back some 23 years.

First classic cake doesn’t use chemical leavening.

Contemporary cake uses double acting.

The other thing is the concept of creating something “authentic” is really misleading.

1. French flour is a different variety

2. French flour is milled differently from other flours, so it performs differently

3. if you’re in the US, American flours are usually bleached, European flours are not. So this also changes performance.

4. if you are using a French recipe, European eggs are graded differently; I European an Egg is much larger than American large eggs. European eggs are not refrigerated because they are not washed. So the flavor of the egg is different.

5. European milk is different than American milk because of the breed of cow and grazing. Their yogurts are far superior than our yogurts.

6. I don’t know if your recipe has any butter in it, but French butter is far superior than any other butter. Their butter is cultured and there’s nothing else like it. American butter is flavorless.
 
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I agree with just about everything you mentioned. We always keep cultured Normandy butter on hand. As to yogurt, I make my own "French" yogurt, so while it may be a bit inferior to France yogurt, it is far superior to anything I can get in USA. It is high fat. No butter in recipe I am working with, as it calls for oil.
My great great...when arrived to america in 1750s used the foamy dregs cider making for cakes . I thought that interesting, and practical, and cheap.
So, still curious about why single acting bp still sold?
The scientist in says, don't expect different results doing the same thing. Next French "style" almond cake will be with double acting baking powder. Brad
 
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I agree with just about everything you mentioned. We always keep cultured Normandy butter on hand. As to yogurt, I make my own "French" yogurt, so while it may be a bit inferior to France yogurt, it is far superior to anything I can get in USA. It is high fat. No butter in recipe I am working with, as it calls for oil.
My great great...when arrived to america in 1750s used the foamy dregs cider making for cakes . I thought that interesting, and practical, and cheap.
So, still curious about why single acting bp still sold?
The scientist in says, don't expect different results doing the same thing. Next French "style" almond cake will be with double acting baking powder. Brad

Are you sure it is single acting? Does it contain monocalcium phosphate. Such baking powder is often mistaken for a single acting baking powder, but it is in fact a double acting baking powder.

When the monocalcium phosphate comes in contact with liquid at room temperature, two-thirds of the CO2 will release within two minutes of mixing. It will then go dormant because mixing creates the biproduct dicalcium phosphate. When it is heated 140°F (60°C) it will reactivate the baking powder.
 
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The desription of this product, indicates single action. It is what I used. Thx
 

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The desription of this product, indicates single action. It is what I used. Thx

I looked up the acid in that brand; it contains sodium pyrophosphate. Normally that is paired with monocalcium phosphate. So yes, it is single acting. I noticed the thickener in that baking powder is flour instead of cornstarch. One of the other members here had purchased some baking powder that also had flour in it and she had issues with they baking powder not dissolving properly. Cornstarch is the more common thickener in baking powder. i’ve never used a baking powder with flour in it. So that could be another an issue.

is the recipe American or French?
 
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I looked up the acid in that brand; it contains sodium pyrophosphate. Normally that is paired with monocalcium phosphate. So yes, it is single acting. I noticed the thickener in that baking powder is flour instead of cornstarch. One of the other members here had purchased some baking powder that also had flour in it and she had issues with they baking powder not dissolving properly. Cornstarch is the more common thickener in baking powder. i’ve never used a baking powder with flour in it. So that could be another an issue.

is the recipe American or French?
I took the recipe I used from an American adaptation. I am considering using Mimi Thorisson's version next time. I have made some nice meals from her French Country Cookbook. Once in a while I take the leap and use German or French recipes. I do have a nice digital scale that does both metric and imperial.
For sure, I am no Alton Brown, nor a trained chef. So I appreciate any help, recommendations, and solutions, whenever offered. But I am fearless in the kitchen, none the less. thank you, Brad
 
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I took the recipe I used from an American adaptation. I am considering using Mimi Thorisson's version next time. I have made some nice meals from her French Country Cookbook. Once in a while I take the leap and use German or French recipes. I do have a nice digital scale that does both metric and imperial.
For sure, I am no Alton Brown, nor a trained chef. So I appreciate any help, recommendations, and solutions, whenever offered. But I am fearless in the kitchen, none the less. thank you, Brad

Your cakes looks quite good overall. Nothing to be ashamed of in the least. Even the most experienced of us run into problems in the kitchen.

If you use a Mimi Thorisson recipe keep these differences in mind.

Flour:
France Is categorized by ash. Ash simplified is the remaining mineral content in the flour when sample has been burned.

Most flour in the world is milled by separating the wheat kernel; bran, endosperm, and germ are then milled separately. These are referred to as streams. The endosperm is pure starch. The center of the endosperm is considered has no residue of the bran. So that is a separate stream.

The separate stream are then blended to create different types of flours. The more percentage of the kernel that is added back determines the flour. That percentage is called extraction rate. 100% extraction of the kernel is whole wheat flour; 75% extraction of the kernel is all purpose flour; 45% extraction of the kernel is a cake flour.

The French do not mill their flour this way. The French mill the entire wheat kernel. They then sieve out the bran and germ to create the different types of flours. So their flours are embedded with more bits of bran and germ. This gives the flour more nutritional value, rich color, higher ash content, and better performance in bread and most pastry making than flour that is milled by separating the kernels. Somethings like an angel food cake cannot be made with these flours.

it is illegal in all European Union countries, Canada, Australia, and most Asian countries to bleach flour.

In the US we label flour by its use, all purpose, bread, cake. French flour is labeled by the percentage of ash content. Type 45 indicates 45% ash. The higher the ash content, the higher the protein content.

Type 45: equivalent to pastry flour

Type 55: equivalent to all purpose

Type 65: the first in a line of what we call bread flour French really really passionate about bread, so they have
several wheat “bread“ flours

Types 80: high gluten bread flour

Type 110: Another type of bread flour that has unique blend bran and germ so it performs bit handles more like an all purpose flour, but has some of the nutritional value, colors and aromas of a whole wheat flour.

Eggs:
I mentioned eggs are graded differently in Europe. The large egg in Europe is equivalent to a medium in the US and Canada.

Average America large egg shell weighs 8 grams. I note the weight of the shell because knowing the average weight of the shell will help you in reducing waste if you bake by weight.



For American large eggs

A 58g -59 g egg in shell will yield 50g of raw egg

A 61g - 62g egg in the shell will yield 53g of raw egg
The yolk weighs about 38% of the large raw egg

Eggs must meet a MINIMUM size to be included in a grade side. So any egg in the US between 56.7g - 63.7g is graded as a large egg.

United States
SizeMinimum mass per egg
Jumbo70.9 g2.5 oz
Extra-Large (XL)63.8 g2.25 oz.
Large (L)56.7 g2 oz.
Medium (M)49.6 g1.75 oz.
Small (S)42.5 g1.5 oz.
Peewee35.4 g1.25 oz.
Canada
SizeMinimum mass per egg
Jumbo70 g
Extra Large63 g
Large56 g
Medium49 g
Europe
SizeMinimum mass per egg
Extra large (XL)73 g
Large (L)63 g
Medium (M)53 g
Small (S)Less than 53 g

Imperial vs US weight:

Most people are not aware that an oz in Imperial is not the same as in the US. You’re using a recipe from Europe that is using Imperial, then know that American weight is not the equivalent.

US 1 Tablespoons = 14.78 mL

closest to 100mL in US TBSP is 6 3/4 TBSP (99.76mL) or 7 TBSP (103.46mL) and not 8 TBSP (118.2mL0

US 1 oz = 29.57mL
UK 1 oz = 28.41mL
US N/A
UK 1 gill = 5 oz = 142.07mL

US 1 cup = 8 oz = 236mL
UK N/A

US 1 pint = 16 oz = 473.18mL
UK 1 pint = 20 oz = 568.28mL


US 1 quart = 32 oz = 946.36mL
UK 1 quart = 40 oz = 1.137L

US 1 gallon = 128 oz = 3.785L
UK 1 gallon = 160 oz = 4.546L
 
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Who needs Alton Brown, eh. I am working toward being better with my food science, especially in the baking side of cooking. Thank you, for the information and expertise. Brad
 
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Who needs Alton Brown, eh. I am working toward being better with my food science, especially in the baking side of cooking. Thank you, for the information and expertise. Brad

you’re welcome Brad. If you have a Whole Foods or Safeway if she look for the organic flour under the store brands It will be Central Millings Beehive flour.

Whole Foods 365 Everyday Organic all purpose flour

Safeway “O” Organic

Is this flour. Which is a very good unbleached flour for pie crust. It is a good flour to use when using a European recipe. It has about 10% - 10.5% protein and 56% ash.


I forgot to mention one thing about UK flour. Domestic wheat in the UK is naturally very low in protein. They are plain flour is equivalent to our cake flour, at about 9% protein. So if you use a recipe from the UK and it calls for plain flour, you definitely want to use a very low protein flour.
 
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Fourth Time-a charm. I made my 4th Almond Cake, and made some changes. I switched to double action baking powder. I lowered baking temperature from 350F to 325F-baked longer, hoping to allow more time for the middle to set before outer got over baked, and I switch AP flour from Pilsbury to King Arthur. I was pleased with this cake. Not sure which changed did the trick? Thank you, for your suggestions and encouragement. brad
 

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Fourth Time-a charm. I made my 4th Almond Cake, and made some changes. I switched to double action baking powder. I lowered baking temperature from 350F to 325F-baked longer, hoping to allow more time for the middle to set before outer got over baked, and I switch AP flour from Pilsbury to King Arthur. I was pleased with this cake. Not sure which changed did the trick? Thank you, for your suggestions and encouragement. brad

That’s a beautiful cake. Wonderful to hear you were successful in making this cake. It really is beautiful.
 
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