Originally Posted by LindaF144a
[b]Actually, there is a difference and there is hi-ratio cake flour[/b]. I use it in my shop, it does raise higher than the cake flour you buy in the store. I also take measures in my recipes to control the flour. I'm unwilling to post publicly how I do that.
When I tested the hi-ratio flour against the one available for the home market there was a huge difference. Also where the wheat is grown will make a difference in how it reacts. It is worth it to do some independent research (Internet and books on flour) rather than rely totally on the sales rep. They will say anything to get the sale.
But at the very least your sales rep should be willing to give you a sample to try. I got a 50lb bag to test. Then again my neighbor is the general manager of one of the last remaining flour mills in the area and I got to get some directly from the mill and not the middle man. But it's worth asking. The worse they can say is no.
This is a marketing gimmick. All bleached cakes flours (I have come across one that claims it is hi ratio that is unbleached--so bleached naturally as opposed to chemically) are designed for high ratio cakes. The chlorination process makes it possible for the batter to contain more sugar/water than flour. However not all cake flours are equal.
With the protein range allowed for a flour to qualify as cake flour one may have a higher protein content than another. They may have different chlorination processes. They could also have different ash and moisture contents as well as varying particle sizes. No two cake flour brands are the same and thus will account for difference in performance. Because one brand of cake flour produces higher cakes does not mean one cake flour is high ratio and the other is not.
To claim that a cake flour is "high ratio" implies there are cake flours that are not for high ratio cakes. . That a given brand may perform better does not mean that other bleached cake flours are unsuitable for high ratio cakes. They may produce results a particular baker prefers (imo higher is not always better) and that is fine.
However adding "high ratio" does not mark a difference within cake flour as a type of flour. Indeed in all the discussions of how flours are differentiated you will not find a discussion of needing "special" cake flours for high ratio cakes. Indeed all discussions of cake flour as an ingredient in cakes discuss how cake flour generally (not a specific hi ratio type) is required for high ratio cakes.
Why label them that way? To get people to buy them--something that is not uncommon in packaging particularly when there are no laws governing how flour bags are labeled---at least I could not find any.