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Test Kitchen tips: Flour substitutions

December 10, 2011 |  8:00 am


With the holidays quickly approaching, the amount of baking that happens in my kitchen will increase considerably. As prepared as I am I will inevitably find myself missing the correct type of flour called for in a recipe. Does this happen to you? Don't panic, while the real deal is always best there are substitutions for most common flours.

The reason recipes call for various flours is to achieve the correct texture and structure. Cake, pastry, all-purpose and bread flour are basic flours used in most recipes. Each one has a different percentage of protein. Cake has the least and helps achieve a fine-texture while bread has the most and makes it easier to develop the gluten needed in bread making.

Next time you are making a sponge cake and run short on cake flour don't make up the difference with another flour, you are sure to be disappointed when that timer goes off and you open the oven door. There some quick substitutions that I picked up from "The Joy of Baking" site that might help until your next run to the store. You can find them after the jump.

If you have any kitchen tips or questions you'd like us to explore, leave a comment below or email us at noelle.carter@latimes.com.


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  • For 1 cup all-purpose flour you can substitute 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour.
  • For 1 cup bread flour you can substitute 1 cup all-purpose flour and work the dough longer to develop the proper amount of gluten.
  • For 1 cup cake flour you can substitute 3/4 cup all-purpose flour and 2 tablespoons cornstarch.
  • For 2 cups pastry flour you can substitute 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour and 2/3 cup cake flour.
  • For self-rising flour you can substitute 1 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Before you kick up a cloud of flour running off to the store before it closes, take a breath, follow these substitutions and enjoy your holiday baking!