Self-raising flour is the hero of easy baking. Unless you really don’t know what it is, in which case it can really mess things up. And we can’t think of a better way to learn all about self-raising flour than making your own at home.
What is self-raising flour
Self-raising flour is simply all-purpose or plain flour with a leavening agent added so that you don’t need to add your own when baking to get a nice rise. More precisely, it’s all-purpose flour with a little baking powder and salt.
It was invented in 19th-century England to allow sailors to bake better while away at sea. It was later patented in the US, which created a whole new market for baking mixes. What those companies don’t want you to know, of course, is that many of these products are cheap and easy to make yourself.
What is self-raising flour used for and difference with regular flour
Because of the added baking powder and salt, self-raising flour isn’t as versatile as all-purpose flours. It should only be used in recipes that call for it, as otherwise it may end up over-raising. If you must use it in a recipe that calls for regular flour, then compensate by reducing the added salt and leavening agents.
Self-raising flour has a lower protein content, which makes it particularly well suited to recipes that benefit from being light and tender, like biscuits and quick breads.
How to make self-raising flour at home
It’s incredibly simple to make your own self-raising flour at home. Simply mix the following ingredients together:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ tbsps baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
How to store self-raising flour
The addition of baking powder means self-raising flour has a shorter shelf-life than regular flour. Bear that in mind before making a massive batch of the stuff.
That said, it should still last up to a year if stored properly. That means keeping it in an airtight container and storing it in a cool, dry and dark place.
Other flours you can use
You can also make self-raising flour from other types of flour if you’d rather not use all-purpose white flour for whatever reason. Try adding baking powder and salt to any of the following:
- Wholewheat flour for more nutritional value.
- Spelt flour, which is more water-soluble, so you’ll need to cut down on the liquid content of your recipe.
- Amaranth flour for a gluten-free source of fibre, vitamins and minerals.
- Bean flour for a gluten-free and protein rich alternative.
- Quinoa flour for another gluten-free, protein rich alternative, but with extra nutty flavour.
- Nut flours, for a versatile flour with even more nutty flavour.
- Oat flour, which rises poorly, so you’ll need to add some extra baking powder.
- Rice flour, which is gluten-free but you’ll need to let batters and doughs made with it sit for a little while in order for the rice flour to properly absorb fats.
- Coconut flour, which is high in fats and low in starch, so you’ll need to adjust recipes to use less of it, as well as more eggs and liquid to bind it together.
Recipes to use self-raising flour
So now that you’ve learnt how to make your own self-raising flour, how about some recipes to use it in?
Finally, if you fancy a slightly unusual but deliciously moist cake, then try this lime and olive oil coconut cake on for size.