Thursday, March 25, 2010

Q & A -- Answers and Tips, part 1 -- flour substitute tricks, slicing, and storage

Ask The Bread Stop! I will do my best to answer all questions from readers in a timely manner! 

Q: Self-rising flour - a necessity? Or do you have a substitution available? I have a very limited storage space, and I don't think I'd use self-rising flour very much.

A:  No, it is not necessary to take up precious cupboard room with another type of flour. Self-rising (SR) flour is simply all-purpose (AP) flour with the baking powder and salt already added. You can create your own SR flour by taking the amount of AP flour, then add 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt per cup of flour. 

Some recipes will also call for bread flour, which is a protein-enriched AP flour that has a little more oomph for fluffier bread. You can also create this by buying gluten flour, sometimes called gluten additive, and adding 1 teaspoon per cup of AP flour in the recipe. 

Other recipes call for cake flour, which will yield incredibly light and fluffy cakes. Rather than buy another type of flour, simply replace 2 tablespoons of AP flour per cup with cornstarch. 

Whatever your choice, it's perfectly fine to use these substitutes, or to purchase the proper flours. They will all work fine. It's really a matter of space and convenience. Just don't confuse your flours! I've had cookies turn out salty because I accidentally grabbed the SR flour! 

Q: Can you give me some advice on slicing bread thin enough for daily sandwhiches?  Or is it just practice? 

A: I use a serrated long knife that works like a mini saw. Use a cutting board, and space how thick you want the bread slice. Hold on to the loaf with your non-cutting hand, and start working down the loaf. It takes some practice, but soon you'll be slicing perfectly! Also, it's a good idea to only slice off the amount of bread that you want immediately, as the bread will stay fresh longer if it is unsliced.

Q: What's the best way to store baked bread? 

A: Each bread varies. The no-knead bread stores well in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap. However, it is better to store most breads in a bread box or other airtight container, kept at room temperature. The breads featured in this blog are very perishable, and should be used within a few days of baking! 

Have a question??? Feel free to email me at gwenwalls at gmail dot com, or just leave a comment!
March 25, 2010 / by / 0 Comments

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