Why use self-rising flour?

Discussion in 'Baker Banter' started by Teeth Brusher, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. Teeth Brusher

    Teeth Brusher Well-Known Member

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    I’ve been seeing some recipes that call for self-rising flour. I read about the history of this product but am unsure why it is ever used in modern kitchens. Can’t you just use regular flour, salt, and baking soda to yield the same result?

    Is there ever a situation when the proper combination of flour/salt/baking soda cannot be used in place of self-rising flour?
     
    Teeth Brusher, Mar 11, 2018
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  2. Teeth Brusher

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Self rising flour is extremely popular in some parts of Europe, especially in the UK. By contrast it’s very difficult to find in the US. In the southern states a low protein, self rising flour marketed as White Lily, is popular for biscuits. So it’s more readily available in the south. But throughout most of the country, stores do not stock self rising flour.

    Bakers certainly do make the substitution of all purpose (plain) flour. But substitution of all purpose (plain) flour for self rising flour can be problematic as its impossible to know the amount of chemical leavening that was blended into the self rising flour.

    A general rule is self rising flour contains 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder per cup of flour. That’s in the range for baking standards. But it’s not a given that any one particular package of self rising flour in fact contains that specific amount of chemical leavening per cup.

    When you mix your own leavening into the flower you know for sure that you put one and a half teaspoons of baking powder in the mixing bowl.

    Another issue is some mills add salt. Not knowing the amount of salt in the package makes it impossible to adjust the salt accordingly.

    Then there’s the issue of type of chemical leavening. Baking powder and baking soda produce different textures.

    For instance I never use baking powder in my cookies. Ever. Baking powder produces a puffy, smooth exterior surface with a cake like interior texture. I want my cake to be cakey, but I don’t want my cookies cakey.

    And in my cakes I prefer to use a combination of baking powder and baking soda. With self rising flour you cannot adjust the baking powder down to allow for the additional use of baking soda.

    So for my baking style, self rising flour is not suited for my pantry.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Mar 11, 2018
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  3. Teeth Brusher

    Teeth Brusher Well-Known Member

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    Oh that’s really interesting! When I looked online to find out how to make your own self-rising flour, I assumed those proportions of flour/salt/baking powder were kind of a steadfast rule.

    I learned something new about baking powder today! I didn’t know powder made the texture of cookies more soft. I only ever read stuff about baking soda leaving a bit of an acidic taste. So educational! Thank you so much for your help. I’m really learning so much!
     
    Teeth Brusher, Mar 11, 2018
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  4. Teeth Brusher

    AuntJamelle Well-Known Member

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    I also assumed the amounts cited in DIY self rising flour were just the way it was - should have known better! We actually have easy access to it here - northern Indiana - I've never had a problem finding it on the shelves. Self Rising Cornmeal too! But I don't buy it because I hate having yet another bag of flour sitting in my freezer - prefer to make my own! So I've always DIY'ed it when recipes call for it - although I haven't run into it too often because I tend to gravitate towards all from scratch type things mostly...
     
    AuntJamelle, Mar 16, 2018
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  5. Teeth Brusher

    Norcalbaker59 Well-Known Member

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    Heaven help me...I have tons of flour and just purchased 15 lbs more today. Flour is an obsession.
     
    Norcalbaker59, Mar 17, 2018
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