The first result of my new cookbooks, specifically the baking science textbook– hooray! As the mouthful of a title suggests, these were the cinnamon cardamom muffins I’ve made many a time, but with the added excitement of using cake flour instead of pastry flour, and using the one-stage mixing method– all dry ingredients blended, then all liquid ingredients blended, just until moistened– instead of creaming the butter and sugar first. I was going to do creamed, but since I absent-mindedly sifted together the sugar and flour first, obviously I couldn’t then cream the sugar with the butter and so was forced to do one-stage. Since the method says “all liquid ingredients”, I melted the butter first, of course. The result:
As you can see, it, uh, browned quite a bit on the bottom. Next time I’ll put the other muffin pan beneath it to even out the browning speed. And maybe less butter. Since cake flour is bleached (for various reasons), it came out rather white (which I’m not used to), despite the fact that I’m using a yellow cake recipe. I kinda like the glossy look, and the inside was pretty good too:
Not to state the obvious, but it’s quite cake-y. Lighter, sweeter (a bit much for me, actually), softer, and more moist than when I’ve made it with whole wheat pastry flour. The difference was instantly noticeable, the latter being more dense, dry, and therefore a bit more crumbly. Still good, I’m only speaking comparatively.
I’m curious to see how much the mixing method affects things, like doing pastry flour one-stage, and cake flour creamed. Not to mention cookies. The only way I can get cookie dough to not spread and blob together is with oats, which thicken the dough, and likely absorb a fair amount of moisture. (Also, I don’t use as much sugar, so there’s not as much melting going on.) Without going into the science, cake flour cookies should retain their shape well, rather than flattening. And of course, the texture should be pretty cake-y, as well. I like cake-ier cookies better than crumbly ones, anyhow.
Of course, one can’t get too carried away, as cake flour costs about twice as much per unit as the others, at $3-4 for a two-pound box. (Most five-pound bags of flour cost $4-5, depending on how fancy or picky you are.) Not to mention, experimenting with all-purpose and bread flours, and white vs. whole wheat flours. I still would like to get the hang of bread, or at the very least, working with yeast.
So much experimenting. We shall see.