Angela Day demystifies flour and helps you choose the right flour for baking.
What flour is that?
* Cake flour:
This is very fine and ideally suited for light and finely textured goods, such as rolls, buns and doughnuts, pastries, cakes, and layer cakes.
* Self-raising flour:
This flour is composed of cake flour and baking powder. It is ideally suited for the production of quick-and-easy baked goods such as pancakes, muffins, soda bread, scones and rusks.
* Bran-Rich Self-Raising Flour: This flour is coarser than cake flour and contains bran and baking powder. Ideal for fibre-rich versions of quick-and-easy baked goods, such as muffins, soda breads, scones and rusks.
* Brown and white bread flour: Not as refined as cake flour, and rich in gluten. Excellent for making breads and bakes that are chewier in texture.
* Digestive Bran: Digestive bran is not a flour, but bran that has been processed. It is ideal for increasing the fibre content of baked goods, such as bread and rolls, muffins and biscuits.
* Flour information provided by Sasko Flour
EASY HEALTH BREAD
Makes 1 loaf
500ml bran-enriched self-raising flour
500ml cake flour
250ml digestive bran
10ml bicarbonate of soda
125ml chopped pecan nuts
250ml dried cranberries
125ml runny honey
Combine the flours, bran, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a bowl and mix. Add the nuts and cranberries.
Make a well in the centre and add the buttermilk and honey. Mix well.
Spoon mixture into a base-lined and well-greased 12x30cm loaf pan. Bake at 180°C for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the loaf comes out clean. If the loaf starts to get too brown, cover with a piece of foil.
Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out.
Delicious served with lashings of butter or cheese.
* Dried cranberries can be replaced with raisins or any other dried fruit.
PISTACHIO AND ROSEWATER CAKE
Makes 1 cake
250ml castor sugar
10ml grated lime rind
5ml vanilla essence
375ml self-raising flour
60ml ground almonds
30ml lime juice
50g shelled pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
5ml lime rind
125ml lime juice
150ml castor sugar
10ml rose water
Cream the butter and castor sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the rind and vanilla.
Add the flour, almonds and lime juice and mix to form a thick, dropping consistency.
Spoon the mixture into a base-lined and well-greased 20cm square pan. Sprinkle over the nuts. Bake at 180°C for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and pour over the prepared syrup. When the cake is completely cold, remove from the pan and serve.
SYRUP: Combine the lime rind, juice, water and sugar in a small pot and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the rosewater.
EASY CHEESY CROISSANTS
750ml cake flour
25ml baking powder
500ml grated cheddar cheese
125ml chopped fresh herbs of your choice
beaten egg for glazing
Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the cheese and herbs.
Combine the egg and buttermilk and add to the dry ingredients, mixing to form a dough that is soft but not sticky.
Turn on to a lightly floured surface and knead gently. Divide the dough into two portions.
Roll each portion into a 26cm disc. Cut each disc into 8 wedges. Starting at the wide side, roll up the triangle to form a crescent shape.
Place on a baking tray. Brush with beaten egg and bake at 200°C for 20 minutes until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and serve warm with butter.
PESTO BREAD ROLLS
Makes 1 large loaf or 16 rolls
625ml white-bread flour
375ml bran-enriched self-raising flour
10g sachet of instant yeast
60ml olive oil
500-600ml warm water
125ml shredded basil leaves
125ml grated Parmesan cheese
50g lightly toasted pine nuts
Combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt and mix. Add the olive oil and enough warm water to make a dough that is soft but not sticky.
Add the basil, Parmesan and pine nuts and mix gently. Turn the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead well. Place the dough in an oiled plastic bag and leave to rise until doubled in size.
Remove the dough from the bag and knead gently.
Shape the dough into one large loaf or some smaller rolls and place on a baking tray.
Cover with the oiled plastic bag and leave to rise until doubled in size.
Brush with beaten egg and bake at 180°C for 40-50 minutes for a large loaf or 20-30 minutes for rolls.
* To bake in a terracotta flour pot. Wash the pot well. Line the base and sides with baking paper and then drop the dough into the pot. Once the bread has baked, remove it from the pot and let it cool completely. If you want to serve it in the pot, put it back with or without the paper. If you leave it to cool in the pot, the bread becomes soft and soggy. - The Star