Mihai Aurel
What’s the difference between plain flour and self-raising flour?

Adding a little flour power to your baking is an essential part of making delicious sponges, cookies and pastries. There are many different flours available in the baking aisle, but if you’re going to bake right you need to know what’s in them.


What exactly sets plain flour and self-raising flour apart?


What is the difference?

Self-raising flour has a raising agent, and sometimes salt, already added to it. Plain flour requires you to add your raising agents separately to make your bakes rise.


Can I swap plain flour for self-raising flour in a recipe?

No. If your recipe asks for plain or self-raising flour, it is important to remember that these two ingredients are not interchangeable and you should use the flour recommended in the recipe along with any raising agents, such as baking powder or bicarbonate of soda.


How much raising agent is in self-raising flour?

As self-raising flour is plain flour with raising agents added to it, it’s equivalent to approximately half a teaspoon of baking powder per 100g of plain flour.


What flour do you bake with at The Hummingbird Bakery?

In our bakeries and recipes we prefer using plain flour so that we can specify the particular raising agents needed and tweak the amounts so that they are in perfect balance with the other ingredients.


Extra raising agents can be required for added lift depending on the texture of the bake, for example, if you are using heavy, wet ingredients such as pumpkin puree or pieces of fruit.


Check the date

It’s worth bearing in mind that if you bake at home your raising agents will expire and this includes your self-raising flour.


Always check the date on the packaging and use within the time limits or your cakes might fall a little flat if your products run past their best.


Gluten-free flours

If you use gluten-free flour, you can simply substitute your plain or self-raising flour for a gluten-free alternative.


Don’t forget to substitute any raising agents for gluten-free ones as well, as these can sometimes have wheat starch added which contains gluten.

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