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Baking science folks! Effects of hi-ratio cake flour?!

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
This is a new one. I got a 50lb bag of Velvetex cake flour from a restaurant supplier. (Boy, did I underestimate the size, but that's another story!)

Having never heard of the brand (and also because it was so cheap, I wondered if it's a crappy brand), I googled it and find that it's hi-ratio. "Good for high sugar, high fat baking."

Is anyone out there familiar with this brand, or with hi-ratio cake flour in general? I baked a cake yesterday with unexpected results, so I wonder if my cake flour had anything to do with it.

Or would anyone care to offer some theories as to how it MIGHT affect my recipes, if nothing else? With such a huge bag of flour, it would be nice to know what I bought and how it will behave - cuz it's gonna be making a LOT of cakes.

Thank you!
Sherri

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post #2 of 25
Post your recipe.
I would say the results you got is from the hi-ratio cake flour, especially if you have used the recipe with other cake flour and got different results. I got my hands on some too and I couldn't believe the rise when I used it. My cupcakes over flowed out of the pan. I had to put in less batter.
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post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
It was Rebecca Rather's White on White buttermilk, if you're familiar with it. I can post it in a bit if not.

It was the first time I made the recipe - but crazy rising was my issue, too. It was rising by the time I made my second buttermilk addition!
Sherri

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post #4 of 25
I've only used Velvetex for years. It's excellent.
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post #5 of 25
I have never heard of hi-ratio flour but it sounds interesting, where can it be purchased? I live in Ohio and will most definately look for it.
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post #6 of 25
oh wow the things you learn from cc!! This is interesting
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post #7 of 25
What exactly is hi-ratio flour? I understand hi-ratio shortening (with the emulsifiers) but I've never heard of hi-ratio flour.
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post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobwonderbuns

What exactly is hi-ratio flour? I understand hi-ratio shortening (with the emulsifiers) but I've never heard of hi-ratio flour.



Uhhhhh, yeah, I really don't know! I just know that I had to go out and buy a big ol' ginormous tub to put my bag of it in. Of course, I threw the bag away, so I don't know what it said... icon_redface.gif

And gildee, I don't know what to tell you about where to get it. I got it from a local restaurant supplier, so maybe you could find it at a bakery supplier or restaurant supplier?

And LindaF144a, here's the recipe I used, Rebecca Rather's White on White Buttermilk cake:

Cake:
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/3 cups sugar
3 large egg whites
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Creaming method, then adding eggs and vanilla, then alternating dry with wet ingredients. So nothing weird there. My buttermilk was on the cold side, though.

I had never made the recipe before, so I'm not sure what would have normally happened. I've been going over it in my head all day to try to think what went wrong.
Sherri

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Sherri

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post #9 of 25
I've made this recipe and found it to be too dense for my liking. The flavor is divine, though.
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post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

I've only used Velvetex for years. It's excellent.



Leah,
I don't mean to ask for a recipe. But when using the high-ratio cake flour did you do anything to tweak the recipe for better results? I always get such a light cupcake when I use the high-ration cake flour. It overflows in one big mushroom, is crumbly and falls apart.

I can use a high-ratio cake flour, but i use a local brand. It is one of the last flour mills here in my area. I would love to say that I use local products, but cannot figure out how to control the beast of high-ratio cake flour besides less batter and I don't like the look of that cupcake either.
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post #11 of 25
So would hi-ratio flour be a direct substitution for the flour in the recipe? Or would you have to change the amounts? And in a recipe that calls for both AP and cake flour, which would you sub with hi-ratio. Or is it really not this simple and more scientific than all this?
post #12 of 25
My experience has been that there is a huge difference between hi-ratio cake flour and regular cake flour. Thus the reason why I asked Leah the question I did. IMO, you can substitute it, but you will get different results depending on the recipe.
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post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
Just to give an update... I did try this recipe again (with hi-ratio cake flour) with a few changes in an attempt to slow down the near-explosive rise.

Basically, I just used everything straight from the fridge (eggs, butter, buttermilk) rather than bringing them to room temp as I normally would. I even went so far as chiling my mixing bowl and paddle. Also, I did the dry/wet combining as quickly as I dared.

My results were MUCH better. Unfortunately, I skimped a little too much on the mixing, because I had some ill-mixed batter at the bottom. So then my pans weren't quite as full as I would have liked (and my cakes not as tall). I think I sacrificed some structure with my short mixing too, because I had some top edge shrinkage as they cooled. (Is this actually a contributor to shrinkage? Am I correct in thinking I didn't develop the gluten enough to give it the structure to withstand cooling?)

But I slowed the rise so that the cakes didn't explode out of the pans! They rose pretty levelly, actually. So the cake had good texture, flavor, and moistness. It seemed more fragile than WASC cakes, though - more prone to breakage while maneuvering it from pan to rack to cake board. Next time I'll take a minute for one last good bowl scrapedown and extend my mix time by a hair, and I think it will be perfect.

Just thought this might be helpful... icon_smile.gif

(Edited to fix a few typos...!)
Sherri

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Sherri

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post #14 of 25
Missed this thead the first time. As to the original question here is why it would impact your recipe.

Hi-ratio flour is used in cakes that have a high ratio of sugar and liquid to flour. Hi ratio flour is able to absorb more water, and thus it is able to absorb more sugar.

One way you can tell the impact of hi-ratio flour is that it can still produce thick case batters with high amounts of liquid and sugar. The batter would otherwise be thin and liquidy if the same amount of non-hi ratio flour was used.

In terms of the final product hi ratio cake recipes produce cakes that are light, moist and have a tender crumb. In addition they also have a higher volume which would explain the rise you saw in your original recipe.
post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gatorcake

Missed this thead the first time. As to the original question here is why it would impact your recipe.

Hi-ratio flour is used in cakes that have a high ratio of sugar and liquid to flour. Hi ratio flour is able to absorb more water, and thus it is able to absorb more sugar.

One way you can tell the impact of hi-ratio flour is that it can still produce thick case batters with high amounts of liquid and sugar. The batter would otherwise be thin and liquidy if the same amount of non-hi ratio flour was used.

In terms of the final product hi ratio cake recipes produce cakes that are light, moist and have a tender crumb. In addition they also have a higher volume which would explain the rise you saw in your original recipe.



That's interesting... Are you aware if recipes are written or adapted specifically for hi-ratio flour? The one I posted doesn't seem to have particularly high ratio of sugar or liquids to flour - but I don't have that science knowledge. I did notice my batter was quite thick, though.

Is hi-ratio cake flour better suited to a different mixing method than traditional creaming? Are higher liquid and sugar amounts better to use? Or would it be better to just cut back on the flour?

This has SO gotten my scientific brain working overtime. I MUST go out and get a baking science book or three. I've heard The Joy of Baking is pretty good - anyone else have other recommendations? Then again, is the topic of hi-ratio cake flours even covered?

Thanks to everyone for your input!
Sherri

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Sherri

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