Microwaving Flour

Decorating By eve81 Updated 27 Sep 2010 , 11:38am by Evoir

eve81 Posted 24 Sep 2010 , 7:43am
post #1 of 18

I'm sure this has been mentioned in the past, but here's some info for you (especially non-US bakers that cant get bleached cake flour).

I was reading an article from a fantastic blog online and the lady there, Kate, did an experiment with flour (00 and plain flour). She microwaved it to mimic the bleaching effect and then replaced 2 T of the flour with cornflour for every cup she needed for her recipe. She claimed the results give you a cake worthy of any baked with low protein cake flour. She calls it Kate Flour (cute!)
OMG she's right!!! I baked a cake last night and even used some of the batter to make cupcakes. I'm sitting here eating one right now and its the best cupcake i've ever made. The crumb is perfect icon_smile.gif

If anyone is interested in more details I'll be happy to share.

17 replies
Evoir Posted 24 Sep 2010 , 7:53am
post #2 of 18

I'd like more details, if you are happy to share! I would have thought adding cornflour would make the biggest difference to texture (like say in a shortbread biscuit compared to a sugar cookie)...not too sure about what effect heating flour in a microwave would have (??) so I am curious icon_smile.gif


Bluehue Posted 24 Sep 2010 , 8:20am
post #3 of 18

Sounds interesting - i would like to know more also - please.


eve81 Posted 24 Sep 2010 , 8:32am
post #4 of 18

Hey Evoir
This is the link to the final results page for Kate's experiment

I've read the entire process where she came to these conclusions and it was very interesting. Basically she microwaves unbleached flour on a plate around 2cm deep until it reaches 130-135C (can be 3-6 minutes depending on the protein levels per 100g, I had to microwave for 6 minutes to get the flour quite hot and mine was AP 10mg protein/100g - I didnt have a thermometer).
This is supposed to mimic the bleaching process which normally takes place with cake flour in the US.

I didnt re-hydrate in the oven like she suggested because I had been pre-heating the oven so I let it sit for a while then sifted it, made the cornflour replacement, and made the vanilla buttermilk cake from smitten kitchen. It is perfect! I didnt even have xantham gum (which she also recommends at the end of her findings) but I might get some to try it too.

I always hated seeing Cake Flour in a recipe because I knew that AP just didnt match up, but now I'm going to try them all!!!! icon_smile.gif

eve81 Posted 24 Sep 2010 , 8:34am
post #5 of 18

Hope you find this useful Bluehue.
BTW - I love your signature. I smile every time I see it icon_smile.gif

Bluehue Posted 24 Sep 2010 , 9:08am
post #6 of 18

Thank you eve81 for posting the link - kind of you...off to read now.

re my signiture line - lolll
A man who knows his heels and how good they look is a man with a good eye ..... and a large wallet. icon_wink.gificon_lol.gif

Thankyou again.

Bluehue. icon_smile.gif

ETA - Evoir - do you use cake flour in your recipes where possible?

what_a_cake Posted 24 Sep 2010 , 9:21am
post #7 of 18


Evoir Posted 25 Sep 2010 , 12:15pm
post #8 of 18

Hi again girls icon_smile.gif

Thanks for that link Eve! (BTW, you're the first other Eve I have met on Cake Central icon_smile.gif ) I will look into it again, and see if I can do the experiments myself. The cornflour just reminded me of baking sponge cakes, where you do add cornflour (maize based, not wheat) and it provides the most divine light texture. I think the flour I use (a finer, lower protein cake flour) may be better in general to the AP flour (or what we call plain flour here) in terms of protein levels. Hmmm.

Bluehue - hey hon...yes, I do use a superfine cake flour for baking all my cakes, cupcakes, cookies etc. Then I buy bread flour (high protein) for things like bread (duh!) and sourdough, pizza bases etc. (and rye flour, spelt etc etc...I am quite fond of baking, LOL) I get my cake flour from a wholesale food distributer in 25kg bags now, LOL...sometimes I pick up an extra 10kg from a specialist food place nearer to me if I am in a hurry. I have found it makes a big difference using a good cake flour for my business stuff. I just get really reliable results. And its generally cheaper per kg.

I was going to pm you, actually Bluehue, just to give you a heads-up about a good supplier of cake stuff I came across in Perth last week via an internet search. The are wholesalers only so you need an ABN. Really excellent pricing!! Especially for cake boards, cutters and sprinkles/cachoux etc. They are called 'Statewide Food Distributors'....thought I'd let you know just in case you hadn't heard of them! icon_wink.gif

Bluehue Posted 25 Sep 2010 , 12:31pm
post #9 of 18

Yes, i use the cake floer also - i find it makes alot of differance.

Oh re the link - i have been using two other W/S's so very happy to see this one - thankyou so very much.

Would you believe it - been looking everywhere for Pink in these cases and nobody seems to have any stock left... then voula - i click on and there they are...they look great when after baking you slip into another say white case...or visa versa.
Different to your normal cupcases....have you used them?


Evoir - thankyou again - greatly appreciated.
Lovely to *chat* again - hope ll is well. icon_smile.gif


bobwonderbuns Posted 25 Sep 2010 , 12:39pm
post #10 of 18

Okay forgive me but I think I'm missing something. Here in the states, if we don't have cake flour, we use 1 cup all purpose flour and subtract 2 TBSP flour, then sift. So I'm wondering what's the point of microwaving the flour?

eve81 Posted 25 Sep 2010 , 12:49pm
post #11 of 18
Originally Posted by bobwonderbuns

Okay forgive me but I think I'm missing something. Here in the states, if we don't have cake flour, we use 1 cup all purpose flour and subtract 2 TBSP flour, then sift. So I'm wondering what's the point of microwaving the flour?

I'm not completely sure about the science in it really. I do know that I've used the AP flour here with the cornflour substitution, and although it helps the texture of the cake I've never gotten the "crumb" that I got by microwaving the flour first.

If I get a chance some evening this week I'll do a little baking and make an 8" round with AP and cornflour, then one microwaved and with cornflour and try to take pics of it cut. The difference is incredible! icon_smile.gif

eve81 Posted 25 Sep 2010 , 1:00pm
post #12 of 18
Originally Posted by Evoir

Thanks for that link Eve! (BTW, you're the first other Eve I have met on Cake Central icon_smile.gif )

I'm actually Aoibheann which is an Irish gaelic name and is pronounced Eve-een, so I find it much easier online and in texts etc to shorten it to Eve thumbs_up.gif

Plus my family call me Eves icon_rolleyes.gif

auzzi Posted 25 Sep 2010 , 1:46pm
post #13 of 18

Did you know:
1. a University of SYdney {AU} study in DEC2004 agreed that heat treatment resulted in changes to the starch properties of flour so that it parallels the properties of chlorinated cake flour. BUT When it's over heated, the starch becomes dextrinized ie it looses it's viscosity and strength. It performs worse ..

2. Heating the flour does not change the properties of the gluten. Heat affects the properties of the starch molecules - the ability to absorb liquid, fat and sugar.

Removing 1/8 cup flour, ie 12.5% of total amount, and replacing it with a gluten-free starch [potato or corn], effectively lowers it's protein level. Depends what you start with, but it ends up around 7-8%

3. As for xanthan gum, it is used in gluten free baking to provide the elasticity and structure of gluten in wheat-based baking. You are replacing the gluten "properties" that you just took out!

For normal GF baking it's recommended - 1/2 teaspoon per cup gluten-free flour [I use 3/4 ts per 250g]

As for Kate's recommendation of 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum, I wouldn't ..

4. Every country grows/produces different types of wheat .. AU flour is not like US UK or EU flour .. for all that they are flour, they are different ..

Did you know that loose flour spontaneously combusts ?? applying heat to loose flour ?

eve81 Posted 25 Sep 2010 , 1:59pm
post #14 of 18

Thanks for the info Auzzi.
I'll forgo the xanthan gum icon_smile.gif (one less thing to buy, always good!)

You do have to be careful not to "toast" or overheat the flour. Mine worked perfectly thankfully.

amerrierworld Posted 25 Sep 2010 , 10:28pm
post #15 of 18

I'm pleased that you've had good results with microwaved flour, eve81 icon_smile.gif Just to clarify a point raised earlier in this thread -

bobwonderbuns wondered: "Okay forgive me but I think I'm missing something. Here in the states, if we don't have cake flour, we use 1 cup all purpose flour and subtract 2 TBSP flour, then sift. So I'm wondering what's the point of microwaving the flour?"

In the States, AP flour is generally bleached. Here in the UK, AP flour is unbleached. The bleaching of flour makes the difference - if I was in the States using bleached AP flour, then I wouldn't worry about microwaving. Cornflour/cornstarch substitution will do fine. However, if you are starting with a flour that is unbleached, then microwaving will help to simulate the beneficial effects of bleaching on recipes that call for bleached AP or cake flour.

You can read further about this in my blog post: http://amerrierworld.com/2007/10/30/more-questions-of-flour/

HTH, Kate.

eve81 Posted 25 Sep 2010 , 11:06pm
post #16 of 18

Hi Kate!
Thanks for coming on here to explain the process! lol

I hope you didnt mind me posting the link myself. I was so excited to be able to bake a cake recipe with cake flour that I had to share with the cake nuts on this site. Your blog is great and I'm grateful to you for your research icon_smile.gif

playingwithsugar Posted 25 Sep 2010 , 11:13pm
post #17 of 18

That formula is an old-fashioned recipe for turning all-purpose flour into cake flour, which has a lower content of the protein that turns into gluten when mixed or kneaded.

We have previously discussed this here on CC, but it's always nice to bring such subjects up again once in a while, for the benefit of the newbies.

Thanks for sharing this with us -

Theresa icon_smile.gif

Evoir Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 11:38am
post #18 of 18

Hey again Bluehue...I am glad you have found use of the wholesaler tip! I have only used the brown paper cups, but those pink ones are fab icon_smile.gif

That place has so much cheap stuff, esp if you can call in personally to collect your order. I wish I could have someone shop for me there and send it via Australia Post to me way over in the east, because the company only use courier services icon_sad.gif In other words, I am jealous!

Auzzi - great post! The flammability of flour is a very good point.

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