The best way to ensure you whip up the delicious cake of your dreams is by sticking to the ingredients list – no matter how weird or interesting it is. Whether this is banana bread, sweet treats, or a sponge cake.
However, there isn’t one baker who has gone off course once in a while and spiced up a particular recipe to their requirements.
For instance, you may have run out of vanilla essence and haven’t replaced it yet, or you whipped up a magnificent traditional cake and haven’t got around to stocking up your supplies.
What happens if you want to bake a cake but don’t have the required ingredients, such as flour, and are only left with bread flour – can you use this?
There are few rules when it comes to baking, the possibilities are typically pretty endless. Therefore, you may be wondering, can you use bread flour for cake?
With this in mind, this guide will explore everything you need about using bread flour for cake.
What Is The Difference Between Cake Flour And Bread Flour?
The most versatile type of flour is all purpose flour. This is chiefly due to the fact that it contains a protein content that lies in the middle range when compared to other flours – these are either higher or lower.
Thus, cake flour and bread flour typically differ in terms of protein content. Proteins (such as gliadin and glutenin) produce gluten once combined with water.
The more protein found, the more gluten development. Conversely, the less protein content, the less gluten development.
Generally, bread flour contains 11-15% protein – this is the highest among various flours and contains a higher protein level compared to cake flour — making it suitable for baked goods that need more structure, such as denser cakes and bread dough.
Conversely, cake flour has one of the lowest protein content. This is around 7-9% – ideal for an airy and lightweight texture and lighter cakes with a fluffy texture.
Cake flour is made from soft wheat, whereas bread flour is made with hard wheat. When comparing these flours, soft wheat has the lower protein content.
As a result, it produces cakes that are much lighter in texture than bread.
Can You Use Bread Flour To Make Cake?
While you can use bread flour to make cakes, this isn’t always the best option since it may not provide you with the desired texture.
As previously mentioned, these two flours have different protein contents – the higher the protein content, the more gluten will be produced. This is what gives the bread a denser texture.
As such, from this reason alone, you may already understand why adding bread flour into your cake recipe may not result in the best combination of textures.
Therefore, the most important thing to keep in mind when deliberating what flour to use is that the higher protein content, the more gluten will be produced in your baked goods, thus, a chewier texture.
Thus, your chosen recipe will influence the suitability of a particular flour, as well as the end result of the product.
What Happens When You Use Bread Flour In Cakes?
Taking into account everything that has already been mentioned, adding bread flour into your cakes may not seem like the best option, however, you can still use it.
If you use bread flour, you will still receive a cake at the end of your baking process. However, it may not contain the taste or texture you were going for or expecting, since it contains too much gluten development.
Bread flour will create an end product that is not as soft as what you expected your cake-like treats to contain. Plus, it will result in a chewy and dense product.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean it is a bad thing, either. Here, your main focus should be on the end result you wish to achieve.
Therefore, if you don’t have plain flour, then it’s not the end of the world. Here, you can use bread flour, although it is going to be an experiment.
The end result may be something that doesn’t even resemble a cake or baked goods. Although it could taste amazing – you never know what you get until you try.
Why Is Bread Flour Not Suitable For Cakes?
Typically, cakes require flour that has been milled to a much finer grade than what is achieved with bread flour. Thus, the finer the flour is milled, the less protein content it will contain.
As a result, your cakes will be much more light and have a texture that is less dense – this is a desirable trait when making cakes.
If you have run out of regular flour and don’t have any means of getting any more, then this isn’t the end of the world. Here, if your only option is bread flour, you can use it in a cake as a cake flour substitute.
However, you should keep in mind that the end result may not be the crumbly or light texture you were expecting.
If you do use bread flour as a substitute, in order to avoid a heavier cake texture, make sure you aren’t overworking the mixture when mixing your batter – since this enhances gluten production.
When mixing, ensure you’re being as light as possible – only enough so you are incorporating all the ingredients.
At the end of the day, you don’t have to worry about using bread flour in your cakes, since, if all else fails, you’ll still be provided with some edible cakes – albeit, a bit tough.
Depending on the cake recipe, you can find ones that incorporate this type of flour better than others to make a cake with bread flour.
Baking cakes is fun! If you have run out of plain flour and the only other option in your pantry is bread flour, don’t worry, this isn’t the end of the world. Bread flour and cake flour can be used interchangeably.
Here, you can, in fact, use bread flour to make your baked goods. While you may not receive the end result you were expecting, you will still have a somewhat edible cake at the end of it.
Hopefully, this guide has informed you on everything you need to know about whether you can use bread flour for cake.