Changes are afoot!

What a hectic couple of days it has been. I have decided to have a play about on my website and blog by changing the layout and settings (not with the agreement of my husband). I wanted to make it more concentrated on the one site instead of splitting between the two. I felt that the work I had on the website has been a repeat of what I had on the blog. Also running the two sites has been a lot of work and I really need to concentrate on my recipe book writing. After explaining to my husband he agreed and helped me out a few times yesterday when I became slightly muddled up with what I was trying to do. I had a friend help me out the other day and she has spurred me on to change the layout etc. There are still a few things I am working on but it is starting to come together.




I have removed most of my pages from my website and as of yet I haven’t decide what I am going to do specifically but I know I want it to be different to what I had previously. As I have removed the work I had done I am intending to add it to my blog which will become the main page of my work. I am going to re-add the “recipe of the week ” idea to the blog as well as the ingredients. I am not really happy with the recipe page yet on my blog but that is what I am working on today. You can still find my recipes on my blog posts and in Yummly and Pinterest but as I have removed them from my website (which I don’t know if that is a good thing or not) – only time will tell. Getting to grip with WordPress and trying to find a plugin which will work and show the recipe image with the recipe title is proving difficult. If anyone has any ideas please let me know.

In the mean time, today I am adding my first ingredient, flour, – my thoughts and ideas about it. Eventually this will be added to the menu on my blog with a drop down list.

FLOUR

There are many forms of flour used in baking, from plain to strong white and wholemeal. For cake making, self raising and plain flour are the main ones used (also known as cake flour). Usually self raising flour is used for cakes but there are instances when plain flour is more suited. Self raising flour is really just plain flour with a raising agent added but when plain flour with baking powder added is used in cake making the resultant texture of the sponge is more sturdy and closer in texture which makes an ideal cake for carving and shaping. Madeira cake is made with plain flour and baking powder added for this reason. If I use plain flour in a cake recipe because I haven’t any self raising flour left then I usually use 8oz flour to 1tsp of baking powder. A recipe will say if plain flour or self raising flour are to be used.

One very important tip is never to add baking powder to self raising flour thinking that the extra leavening agent will make the cake rise even more as this is not true. In some cases, too much raising agent, the cake will over rise, as larger than normal air bubbles are created which are not strong enough to hold up the structure of the cake and this causes the cake to collapse in on itself. The resultant surface if the cake consists of large air bubbles and a sunken cake, rather unsightly to say the least. Also the flavour of the cake will change and have a metallic aftertaste which is noticeable if the other flavour ingredients do not mask it. Sometimes if you are lucky the cake will look okay but the taste will still be there and unless there are strong flavoured ingredients to mask the aftertaste of the baking powder the cake will be ruined.



I do not sieve my flour into the recipes because I use the all-in-one method usually. Sieving the flour in this method would defeat the object of the method as everything is mixed together in one bowl. The only time I sieve flour is when I make a génoise sponge and I have to be delicate with the folding to ensure the air is not knocked out of the mixture.

These flours are great for cake making due to the softer texture of the flour (also known as cake flour).This is due to the removal of the husks, some of the proteins so there is less gluten present which results in a softer springier sponge. These are the flours which are easier to make into gluten free flours due to smaller amount of gluten which is present to begin with.

Flour is an excellent source of energy for the body as it is mainly contains carbohydrates with some micronutrients thrown in for good measure. There is not an awful lot of fibre present in flour used in cake making.

Baking today is going to be a Lemon Meringue Pie, which I am making for dinner along with some packed lunch treats for the children. I will share the recipe tomorrow as I am not sticking to the normal recipe here. I have a few things to use up in the kitchen which I have decided would make a good version of a lemon meringue pie.

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