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unbleached cake flour vs. bleached

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Ok so I go to restaurant depot and purchase 50 pounds of cake flour for about 12.00
yes it is bleached. They do not sell unbleached. Only place I know of to buy unbleached is to go to Harris teeter and buy King Arthur unbleached cake flour 4.00 for 2 pounds. This is 8x the cost of the flour I use. For the first time EVER. EVER in 20 years of baking - I had a customer tell me he did not like the taste of my cake and it was probably because of the bromated flour here in the USA. (He is from Brazil, claims all flour there us unbromated a.k.a unbleached). Can anyone else out there tell a difference? Do you use bleached or unbleached flour? (and before it comes up - if your using a boxed mix you are using bleached flour).
post #2 of 4
The bleaching process weakens the proteins in the flour. In part this is why the protein level of cake flour, about 8% is so low. Regular all-purpose flour has about 9-%11% depending on the brand. King Arthur has two cake flours, one is the cake flour blend, made from unbleached all-purpose flour and cornstarch. This combination more or less simulates the protein content of cake flour. The Queen Guinevere is bleached cake flour, made from a soft winter wheat, just like Softasilk flour and Swan Down and comes in 50lbs bags according to the King Arthur website.

You could use a combination of unbleached flour and cornstarch or potato starch to mimic the effect if you absolutely want to use unbleached flour. The other option I could think of is incorporating unbleached self-rising flour (has salt and baking powder added) like the new King Arthur or White Lily which have about 8.5% protein.

I hope this helps and that I did not deviate too much from your question.
post #3 of 4
I can tell the difference with my fingers as well as by taste because I bake more bread nowadays than cake.

In the 1980's there was a local bakeshop that made creamy-yellow coloured vanilla layer cake to die for, and their employees were sworn to secrecy. All I got from a housemate who worked there was that they used unbleached flour and a little lemon juice. The juice tenderizes the gluten if you are careful about folding the flour in at the end.

I use the British Victoria sandwich recipes with the addition of a lemon's worth of juice per four eggs. As the unbleached flour is not self-rising, I use 1 teaspoon of baking powder per cup of flour, salted butter, NO additional salt.
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies. Both answers are interesting and I shall have to try baking off 2 cakes 1 with unbleached flour and 1 with bleached and see if I can see enough of a difference to justify 8x the price for flour. I am intrigued with the lemon juice reaction you mentioned Baking Irene.

dzh115 thanks for the info. I would be scared to start mixing up my own flour when I commonly make 5 tier wedding cakes for clients. That would be a bit scary. Thanks for the science on it though I love learning the science behind baking.

I can tell a difference in bread as it totally screws up some of my bread recipes texture wise if the flour is bleached. But I've never made cake with anything other than standard (bleached) cake flour. This was the first I've come across it being brought up.
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