« baking tips and primers

A Bakers Dozen

Yeast Proofing

To “proof” yeast, first dissolve the sugar (about 1 tablespoon for each 2 cups of liquid) or other sweetener in warm water (about 95°F) and then add your yeast. Wait several minutes for it to dissolve and begin to “work,” or develop tiny bubbles. If it doesn’t show signs of life, discard it and try another batch. Because yeast doesn’t like salt, add it after the yeast is “proofed.”

A Better Measure

Because flour settles and compacts in storage, fluff it up before you measure. Then, gently sprinkle it into your measuring cup and scrape the excess off with the back of a knife. This will ensure a 4 ounce cup of flour rather than the 5 ounces you would have if you scooped it out with your cup.

Rest When You “Knead” It!

After 3 or 4 minutes of kneading dough, let it rest for a few minutes. This relaxes the dough and makes the remaining kneading easier.

Liquid Assets

Instead of the water your recipe calls for, try juices, bouillon, or water you’ve cooked vegetables in. Instead of milk, try buttermilk, yogurt or sour cream. It can add a whole new flavor and improve nutrition.

Sweeteners

Even though you don’t need it when making bread, a little sugar can bring out flavor, just as salt can. For added moisture, try honey or regular or dark unsulphured molasses.

Oil for Longevity

If you don’t mind a few extra calories (12 to 15) per slice (a slice of bread without fat has only 60 to 65 calories!), add a couple of tablespoons of butter or vegetable oil to your dough, and your bread will stay fresher for a longer period.

Storing King Arthur Flour

If you use your flour fairly quickly, store it in a cool, dry cupboard and stick a couple of bay leaves in the bag to discourage any visitors. If you use your flour more slowly, especially your whole wheat, put it in a lock-type plastic bag and store it in your freezer.

Nutrition

For a heartier taste and better nutrition, try using 1/3 King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour with 2/3 King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour in your cookies, cakes, brownies, muffins, pies and pastries; or use all King Arthur 100% White Whole Wheat Flour in your cookies, brownies, and muffins...it’s sweeter and 100% whole wheat!

Dry Assets

Try substituting a little dried fruit, vegetables, cheese, nuts, grains, seeds or herbs and spices for some of the flour in your recipes. Merely add it into the cup before you measure your flour. It will add a whole new dimension to your baking!

King Arthur “Cake” Flour

Put 2 tablespoons of cornstarch into your measuring cup. Fill the remainder of the cup with good King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour. Blend. Presto! You have cake flour with the unbleached goodness of King Arthur.

King Arthur “Self-Rising” Flour

Add 1 tablespoon of salt and 5 tablespoons of double acting baking powder to 8 cups of King Arthur Flour. Blend, and store what you don’t use in an airtight container. (Be sure to label your container.)

Flexible Flour

The amount of moisture already in flour varies depending on the temperature and the moisture in the air. Thus, in recipes calling for flexible amounts of flour, always start with the least amount and add more gradually to achieve the desired consistency.

Tenderizing for Pastries and Pie Doughs

Add one teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice as part of your liquid for each cup of King Arthur Flour in pastry and pie dough recipes. This won’t affect the flavor but will result in more tender baked products.