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#622938 - Sat May 07 2011 09:20 AM Self Raising Flour
agony Online   content

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Loc: Western Canada
I'll admit, right off, that I haven't given a lot of thought to self raising flour. I knew it existed, of course; I've seen it in the grocery store and seen allowances made for it in recipes. But I figured that it was like pancake mix or cake mix - something for those who did not cook often, or for when you don't have access to your whole kitchen (when camping, for example).

The other day, though, I was watching a video on traditional methods of baking American biscuits, and the elderly woman in the video, obviously a competent and experienced cook, was using self raising flour.

Is it, then a real thing, used by real cooks? Is it a regional thing? The video was very Southern, and they didn't even bother to tell us they were using self raising flour - I had to figure it out by the fact that no leavening was added to the very light and fluffy biscuits.

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#622962 - Sat May 07 2011 10:24 AM Re: Self Raising Flour [Re: agony]
flopsymopsy Offline
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Registered: Sat May 17 2008
Posts: 3637
Loc: Northampton England UK      
We have self-raising here - in fact for baking, there are two main types, plain flour and self-raising. Self-raising flour has leavening agents added already, and as they're spread evenly throughout the flour it gives a more consistent result. That's what we would use, as a general rule, for cakes. Plain flour is like your all-purpose flour.

Strange that you should ask this today, Agony - I spent some time yesterday tracking down what "cake flour" was for an American recipe. But by the time I found out I didn't want blueberry pancakes any more, lol.
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#622980 - Sat May 07 2011 11:59 AM Re: Self Raising Flour [Re: flopsymopsy]
Lochalsh Offline
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Registered: Wed Jan 13 2010
Posts: 130
Loc: USA
In the U.S., Southern cooks--the real biscuit makers :)--often use this product when time is of the essence. The leavening agent is already in the mix:

http://bisquickrecipes.blogspot.com/

It's good for pancakes and dumplings as well as biscuits. Do you have it in Canada and Jolly Olde?

(Interesting AE/BE tidbit: We say "self-rising" rather than "self-raising.")







Edited by Lochalsh (Sat May 07 2011 12:01 PM)

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#623034 - Sat May 07 2011 02:44 PM Re: Self Raising Flour [Re: Lochalsh]
agony Online   content

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Loc: Western Canada
So do you get as good a product?

My general feeling about time and effort saving products in cooking is that they tend to give a worse result. Maybe in this case, that feeling is not justified, though.

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#623043 - Sat May 07 2011 03:09 PM Re: Self Raising Flour [Re: agony]
lesley153 Offline
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Registered: Fri Sep 07 2007
Posts: 734
Loc: Bedford England UK           
I use wholemeal (wholewheat) self-raising (self-rising) flour because it's quicker than measuring out the bicarb (baking soda) or baking powder, and I've been perfectly happy with the results.

Fanny Cradock remarked that self-raising flour couldn't raise a pussy-cat's tail. I think it can. I wonder what she was thinking! It's not often that you need more leavening than is in there already. Sometimes you need less. I have a favourite fruitcake recipe that calls for half plain, half self-raising.

And anyway, I'd rather buy two bags of flour, than a bag of flour and two tubs of raising agents.
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#623058 - Sat May 07 2011 03:55 PM Re: Self Raising Flour [Re: lesley153]
agony Online   content

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Well, thanks, this has been most enlightening. I'm going to have to give it a try and see what I think.

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#623060 - Sat May 07 2011 04:01 PM Re: Self Raising Flour [Re: agony]
flopsymopsy Offline
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Registered: Sat May 17 2008
Posts: 3637
Loc: Northampton England UK      
My mother always used self-raising flour for cakes - and while she wasn't a good cook in other ways, her sponge cakes were wonderful and could not be beaten. Especially the chocolate ones with buttercream which she made especially for me. grin

Oh and we're not talking a newfangled flour here, self-raising has been part of baking in the UK for decades.
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#623111 - Sat May 07 2011 05:04 PM Re: Self Raising Flour [Re: flopsymopsy]
Lochalsh Offline
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Registered: Wed Jan 13 2010
Posts: 130
Loc: USA
I normally use the self-rising flour unless the recipe demands otherwise, and I don't detect any difference from ordinary flour plus separate leavening agents. Then again, I don't call myself a baker; I'd always rather be doing something nifty with vegetables. I will take deliveries, though. smile

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#623117 - Sat May 07 2011 05:21 PM Re: Self Raising Flour [Re: flopsymopsy]
auntie1 Offline
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Registered: Mon Dec 12 2005
Posts: 412
Loc: South Kingsville VIC Australia
For as long as I can remember I and my mother before me, always kept both plain and self-raising white flour. If I ever run out of self-raising, I add the rising agents to plain flour, but I need to consult one of my oldest cookbooks for the right proportions.
I also have Gluten-Free flours (plain and self-raising) in case my coeliac brother will be sharing the food.
To sub-divide the "plain" flours further, I'm now choosing Baker's Flour (Strong Flour or 00) for bread or pizza, and Cake Flour,(soft, lower protein), because I find the results noticeably better.
Oh, and the small containers of wholemeal, potato flour, rice flour, cornflour (not the wheaten variety).............
I now realise why there is no space in my pantry cupboard.

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#623135 - Sat May 07 2011 07:11 PM Re: Self Raising Flour [Re: auntie1]
MotherGoose Offline
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Registered: Mon Apr 22 2002
Posts: 4660
Loc: Western Australia
Quote:
For as long as I can remember I and my mother before me, always kept both plain and self-raising white flour. If I ever run out of self-raising, I add the rising agents to plain flour, but I need to consult one of my oldest cookbooks for the right proportions.


Ditto. In Australia, most people I know have both kinds of flour in their kitchen. My mother and grandmother always did.

When I lived in America and could not get self-raising flour, I used to make my own. The recipe I used was:

Mix 1 cup (8 oz, 250 grams) plain flour with 2 level teaspoons of baking powder.

If I may clarify, however, that Bisquick is not the same thing as self-raising flour. Bisquick also contains salt and vegetable shortening. I really miss Bisquick. We used to take it camping because it had the shortening already in it and did not require refrigeration.
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#623137 - Sat May 07 2011 07:57 PM Re: Self Raising Flour [Re: MotherGoose]
Lochalsh Offline
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Registered: Wed Jan 13 2010
Posts: 130
Loc: USA
Thanks for the clarification on Bisquick, MotherGoose. I was operating completely on memory and didn't recall all its ingredients. It is handy, isn't it?

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#623146 - Sun May 08 2011 12:45 AM Re: Self Raising Flour [Re: Lochalsh]
ren33 Offline
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Registered: Thu Sep 30 1999
Posts: 12092
Loc: Fanling
  Hong Kong      
We get Bisquick here. Great for scones. Is it not available in Australia now MG?
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#623157 - Sun May 08 2011 01:53 AM Re: Self Raising Flour [Re: ren33]
MotherGoose Offline
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Registered: Mon Apr 22 2002
Posts: 4660
Loc: Western Australia
It was available for a very brief time at the Coles chain of supermarkets but they didn't stock it for very long. I can only assume that it didn't sell very well as Australians would not be familiar with it or understand what it was or how to use it. The company did not promote it or supply recipes.

When we were on holiday in Brunei, I found it in the supermarket up there, so I bought a couple of boxes home with me, but Customs confiscated it. Playing dumb, I asked them why I couldn't bring it into the country when Coles sold it (of course, by then, they no longer stocked it). The explanation I was given was that Coles had an importer's license and I didn't.
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#623186 - Sun May 08 2011 07:57 AM Re: Self Raising Flour [Re: MotherGoose]
agony Online   content

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Registered: Sat Mar 29 2003
Posts: 13221
Loc: Western Canada
I find that it doesn't keep all that well, anyway, so stocking up doesn't work too well. Or, rather, it keeps, but like pancake mix, it seems to attract bugs. (This might be because I live in a generally very unbuggy part of the world, so we tend to be careless in our storage methods - just set the opened box on the shelf.)

Between work and home, I'd say I bake pretty much every day. Because of this, I'm set up so that mixes and conveniences aren't really worth the extra money - all the ingredients and tools are right to hand, so baking from scratch is not any harder than using a mix. I'm thinking the self raising flour would be great for campfire bannock, though.

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#623197 - Sun May 08 2011 09:07 AM Re: Self Raising Flour [Re: agony]
guitargoddess Offline
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Registered: Mon Jul 09 2007
Posts: 37249
Loc: Ottawa Ontario Canada         
I've never used self-rising flour.. I don't see the point in buying another bag of flour when I have a 10kg bag of plain flour and plenty of baking soda in the pantry.

But it's not the same as Bisquick or pancake mix, it's still just regular flour that you have to add all your other ingredients too, just except the leavening agent. I believe it may have salt in it too.
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#623227 - Sun May 08 2011 11:41 AM Re: Self Raising Flour [Re: guitargoddess]
lesley153 Offline
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Registered: Fri Sep 07 2007
Posts: 734
Loc: Bedford England UK           
I've spotted the odd DIY recipe that calls for a pinch of salt, but the two bags of SR flour in my cupboard - one wholemeal, and one gluten-free - both contain bicarb, and monocalcium phosphate, nothing else. The only salt would be from the sodium bicarbonate.

(The acid monocalcium phosphate reacts with the alkaline bicarb to produce the carbon dioxide that makes the food rise.)
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I appreciate people who are civil, whether they mean it or not. I think: Be civil. Do not cherish your opinion over my feelings. There's a vanity to candor that isn't really worth it. Be kind. ~ Richard Greenberg

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Moderator:  ren33, SilverMoonsong