This week has been all kinds of eventful – I’ve managed to take a small holiday, joined a book club, signed up for a patisserie course at a local culinary school, experimented with my brand new stand mixer and learnt some valuable baking tips. But most of all, I have finally altered a vital step in my baking process. This has improved my baking by leaps and bounds – thank you Purple Foodie! I don’t know what I would have done without this super important discovery.
So, as it turns out, I have been using the wrong kind of flour all this while! So I sent our local superhero, Purple Foodie, an email and asked her why I have been tasting this definite, pronounced flour-y taste in everything I have been baking. I was following recipes to the T. I had been weighing, whisking and waiting the right amount, so what could be wrong? A prompt email later, I learned that the flour we use (the one that’s available in abundance in any Indian household) to make rotis is what others call ‘whole wheat flour’! The flour we should be using in baking is what is referred to as ‘Maida’ around here. Silly me. (Of course, when I broke the news to the family – they weren’t too ecstatic. You see, this isn’t good news to their waistlines. Already, the whole wheat baking wasn’t doing any favors). Therefore, I would like to spread the word – do not use flour that is generally used to make rotis. A good indicator that you maybe using whole wheat flour is that – when you sift it – and you should – there will be remains of bran, the outer coating of the wheat germ. Another indicator is color – maida is snow white and whole wheat flour is slightly golden-brown in color. Texture too, is very different, whole wheat flour is coarser. Also, another nifty tip from Purple Foodie is, sifting maida as soon as you get it to get rid of creepy crawlies (I sifted mine twice to be sure). The purpose of flour is, once its mingled in with the liquid ingredients, it forms gluten. Gluten is ultimately responsible for holding up the cake.
The point is, its very important to use correct ingredients. Even if they may be present in little quantities, they do alter the final appearance and taste of the baked good.
P.S – I made some cookies to celebrate this awesome discovery and they turned out fabulous! Find the recipe I used here.