Cooking with Avoir Chaud

The official food blog of Tastemade partner, Chef Avoir Chaud.

I will start off by saying this blog will be very lengthy and may bounce all over the place, mainly because I am excited and a little nervous about typing my first really detailed blog of fear of backlash of comments from angry readers who may not agree with my blog, but I digress.

Orange Petite Cakes
Before I start this blog, I will share with you the little knowledge that I have about common types of flours used in baking, importance of your oven temps, why you should use self rising flour, and why you shouldn't cake flour substitute (homemade).
It is important to understand the differences in the type of flour you use and how it will affect your baking.  On the upcoming blog The Magical World of Baking (Part 2), I will explain the magic of bread baking, yeast types and proper liquid temps.

When baking your recipe will call for specific type of flour that can be easily found unless you’re baking a good that requires a special type of flour.  There are many types of flour, but the most common types are:

All-purpose flour
Self-rising flour
Cake Flour
Pastry Flour (can be extremely difficult to find & can be ordered online)

These types of flour can also be found in bleached and unbleached variations.  Unbleached flour has to mature for a very long period of time in order for it to soften.  This process can take months at a factory that uses a machine to move the flour around.  If the flour isn’t moved around, bugs can form in the flour. 

Bleached flours are bleached with a chemical powder, which lightens the color of the flour and it also speeds the maturing process up, forcing the flour soften quickly. They are also used for appearance when baking something that requires to be dyed with food coloring, making the colors pop even more.  Although, it may have to use a lot of coloring depending on what you're making due to the yellow tinge from the eggs.  I will discuss more about this in another blog.

Higher end brands of unbleached will be expensive, mainly because of how much it cost to keep the machines running to stir the flour over the required amount of time it takes to soften. 

Flour contains proteins…  The proteins in the flour are natural and when liquid hits the flour and then mixed, gluten is then formed.  When you begin to mix the dough or batter, the gluten strands becomes stronger and tougher creating an almost solid structure that are perfect for breads and certain types of cakes.  When baking a cake with all-purpose flour, you have to be very careful of over mixing the cake batter.  Over mixing the cake batter can make the crumb of your cake extremely tough and it will cause your cake to dry out.

Protein count highest to lowest
Bread Flour
All-purpose flour & self-rising Flour (Please read the details about these two flours below.)
Pastry Flour
Cake Flour

Bread Flour: This flour has the highest protein count and it's gluten count is usually 13 to 14 percent gluten content.  It's perfect for making breads, pizza crusts and pretty much any type of bread that contains yeast.  When you’re making yeast bread with this flour, your final outcome will be amazing if the dough is kneaded properly.  When the dough is kneaded, the gluten strands of the dough because stronger and finer.  This will make your bread rise correctly and the crusty exterior will be perfect.

All-purpose flour: The protein count is medium and is on average at 12 percent gluten content.  This flour is perfect for breads, cookies, pie crust, and some cakes.  All-purpose flour has a slightly lower protein count than bread flour.  If you have a bread recipe that calls for bread flour and you don’t have any on hand, you can use all-purpose flour in place of the bread flour. You may need to knead the bread a few minutes longer  due to the missing 2 percent gluten content.  Also in my opinion baked products due come out different when you use bleached or unbleached flour.  It is best to use unbleached flour, the end result will give you a better texture and flavor.  It is better to only use bleached flour for cakes or some cookies.

 Self-rising Flour:  This flour is the same as all-purpose flour except it has baking powder and salt added to the flour.  This flour should only be used for baking things like biscuits, pound cakes and etc.  When baking with all self-rising flour, you will need to omit the salt and baking powder in the recipe.  Also you should only use unsalted butter until you are familiar with how sweet your end product turns out.  If it's too sweet, use salted butter instead.  I prefer not to use self-rising flour, when self-rising flour sits on the shelf, the baking powder becomes less "potent" and your baked products may not rise properly.  

If you have a recipe that calls self rising flour, you can make your own by simply following the recipe below, this makes 1 cup, if you need more simply double or triple etc. this recipe:

Self-rising flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt.  

Sift together all of the ingredients and voila!  The only thing you'll have to do is create the amount of self-rising flour you'll need for the recipe and use this as a substitute for self rising-flour and your recipe will turn out perfect. 

If at any point you only need 1/2 of cup extra of self-rising flour, cut the recipe in half:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Then sift together.

Pastry Flour: Pastry flour is weaker than both bread & all-purpose/self-rising flours.  It's protein count is lower and it's gluten content is on average 9 to 10 percent.  This flour is perfect for making cookies, pie crust, scones, and sometimes croissants (depending on the recipe).  This flour comes from the soft part of the wheat and visually, you can see the texture is finer than bread and all purpose flour.  When baking with pastry flour, you still have to be careful with over mixing, you still have a chance at building the gluten strands that may make your end product tough.

Cake Flour:  This is also made from soft wheat, but it is the weakest.  It's protein count is the lowest and the gluten content is normally 7 to 8 1/2 percent.  This is perfect for baking cakes and the crumb of your end cake is absolutely perfect.  I also learned from friend and Pastry Chef Jenni Field you could use cake flour to make scones or biscuits for an even lighter texture and a higher rise.  I took it a step further and made buttermilk biscuits using pastry flour, the results were amazing!  They were a mile high, light, buttery and flakey.  I couldn't stop eating them!

Why you shouldn't make your own cake flour

The worst thing in the world is making a substitute "cake flour", which is usually all-purpose flour and cornstarch.  The gluten percent is still strong from the all-purpose flour alone, your end product will have a chance of drying out the next day or it would have a dry, crumbly, corn bread texture cake.  The only chance you will have for this not to happen, if the recipe contains buttermilk, a high amount citrus or by stop mixing the batter the moment you see the four disappear.  You may need to lower the temp of your oven to allow the cake bake slower.  If a recipe suggest you should bake a cake at 325 degrees fahrenheit and you decide to make your own cake flour, lower the temp of your oven to 300 degrees fahrenheit.  The sugar content is usually high in cakes and when they are baked, they begin to brown.  The browning comes from the sugar and proteins in the cake (all dairies are high in protein count).  

I mentioned previously, some recipes may call for butter milk or some source of citrus.  These are acids and in some recipes if the amount called for is high enough; it will break down the gluten and your end cake will have a tender crumb.  If you don't have cake flour, just use all purpose flour and use a low oven temp (not to low).  Also, make sure all of your ingredients are room temp.

Although it may not be required, I found when baking cakes, it is best to have all of your ingredients at room temp.  I don't know the reason why except perhaps maybe, when you put cold eggs and milk into a creamed butter and sugar mixture (of course the butter is at room temp), the fat in the cold eggs doesn't coat the sugar grains as the butter would.  Adding cold eggs to a creamed butter and sugar mixture may cause everything to curdle a bit, causing your cake batter to look grainy and your end cake will either be too dry, or extremely oily.  Trust me, I know from experience and have ruined many pound cakes and cookies from using butter that was either too cold, or putting cold eggs into the sugar and butter mixture.  The only time you do not really need to worry about using cold eggs in a cookie recipe are mainly chocolate chip cookie recipes.  The cold eggs firms the butter up a bit and when the heat from the oven hits the cookies, the cookies won't spread out to be super fat and thin due to the batter being so cold.  Also using bleached all-purpose flour will make your cookies spread very far too, for some strange reason.  Perhaps, maybe from the extra chemical thats in the flour, the bleach.

That's all for now everyone, I do apologize for all the typos (if there's any).  I hope all of you find this blog extremely helpful.  Feel free to leave questions or comments below.  Stay tuned for part two of this blog coming in a few weeks.

I am so excited to announce that I've reached 4,500 subscribers and that means the Kitchenaid giveaway has ended.  If you are already subscribed to me on YT, then you still have a chance at winning by simply joining the contest.  For rules on how to join the contest please read this post.  Thank you all for being apart of this contest, I have another contest coming up next month for your chance to win an amazon gift card.
Jewish Apple Cake is a delicious Apple Cake that became very popular in Jewish communities around the world.  If you want a no fail recipe please stick to using cake flour for this recipe, if you are using all purpose flour please make sure you lower your oven temp.  I baked a test cake at a higher temp and when it cooled it was hard as a rock.  Afterwards I made another one at a lower temp (320) and it turned out perfect.  I baked an additional two more and lower the temp to 315 (it took almost 2 hours to baked) and it was perfect.  Baking this cake at a higher temp could bring you awful results.  

3 cups cake flour (you could use all-purpose flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups white sugar

1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten (room temp)1/3 cup orange juice (room temp)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 apples - peeled, cored and sliced2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons all purpose flour

Preheat oven 350 degrees F (325 degrees F if you are using all purpose flour)

In a bowl combine the apples, cinnamon, 3 tablespoons flour and 2 tablespoons of flour and set it aside.

In a bowl mix together the flour, salt, baking powder, and 2 cups of sugar; using a whisk to make sure there are no lumps of baking powder.  You do not have to sift the flour, but be sure to move the flour around a bit when scooping the flour into your measuring cup to make sure the cup isn’t packed too heavily. 

In a larger bowl, combine the orange juice, beaten eggs, vanilla extract and vegetable oil, beat together until everything is well combined.  You could do this using a stand mixer or a hand mixer.

Now add 1/3 of the four to the wet ingredients, mix just until the flour disappears.  Then add half of the flour, mix just until the flour disappears and the batter begins to become smooth.  Now add the remaining flour, mix until the flour dissolves and scrape the sides of the bowl down and mix until everything is smooth and combined.

Now you will pour half of the flour into a buttered and floured tube or bundt pan.  After pour half of the batter into the pan, spread half of the apples over the batter then, pour the remaining batter on top, followed by the remaining apples.

Bake for 55 min to 1 ½ hours.  (Tip check your cake at 45 minutes to allow you to judge how much longer the cake needs to be baked.  Do not keep the oven open too long as the temp of the oven will drop.

Once the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan on top of a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack with parchment paper under it to prevent the apples from sticking to the rack, to cool completely.


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 package of instant yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoons alt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons butter

Combine 3/4 cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Heat milk, water and butter until very warm (120 degrees to 130 degrees F). Add to flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add 1/4 cup flour; beat 2 minutes at high speed. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cover; let rest 10 minutes.

Divide dough into 12 equal pieces; shape into balls. Place in greased 8-inch round pan. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Bake in preheated 375 degrees F oven for 20 minutes or until done. Remove from pan; brush with additional melted butter, if desired. Serve warm.