The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Need help with what these ingredients are! (from UK cookingbook)

  • Pin It
LindaMerja's picture
LindaMerja

Need help with what these ingredients are! (from UK cookingbook)

Hey all!
I have some UK friends and one of them gave me the baking book called "The Complete Cookies, Muffins & Cakes Cookbook" since I love to bake!
However, when I'm reading the recipes, since I'm not born english speaking, there are some words/ingredients that makes me confused and I wonder if maybe some of you could help me out here...

First off - All the different types of sugar! This is confusing... What is 'raw sugar' compared to 'caster sugar' and Soft Brown Sugar firmly packed compared to Soft Brown Sugar lightly packed?

And of course - All the different types of flour! If the sugar-part was confusing, this is just nuts in my head ;p Is self-raising flour the same as baking powder/baking soda? In Sweden we have 'normal' white flour and graham flour. We have a thing called "baking flour" but you only use very little of it to make the dough rise and normally we mix it with the normal flour at first but in a recipe that says for example "1/2 cups of self raising flour", how much of my "baking flour" should I mix with the "normal" flour in that case?
What is corn flour? flour made of corn? And is it used as 'normal' flour?
What is rice flour? flour made out of rice?
 And is it used as 'normal' flour?

Yes, sorry there is more... :p

"Add 1 tablespoon of mixed spice"..What is mixed spice? What is "allspice"?

And some ingredients that seem to pop up often throughout that cookbook are:
- Buttermilk (is that something you can buy in the UK? Or can you just blend milk and butter by yourself if you don't live in the UK?)
-Glacé apricots, glacé ginger (what is the glacé-part? :p ) 
 
- White vegetable shortening (don't know this either :p)
- In one recipe it said that I needed "copha" and "marsala" (not in the same recipe, but still, what are those?)

 

I think that's all, I really hope someone can help me out with this so that I know what it is that I am baking ;D 

mwilson's picture
mwilson

Hi there,

Sugar:
During the processing of sugar there are many stages of refinement with white sugar being the most refind.
Caster sugar is typically white and is of a fine grain like sand.
Brown sugar is less refind hence why its brown in colour. I have only ever seen soft brown sugar tightly packed. It's clumped together in the box.

Raw Sugar: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-raw-sugar.htm

Flour:
Self-raising is all-purpose flour with raising agents already mixed in. Some recipes call for the addition of baking powder for extra lift.

Corn flour in the UK is actually just pure starch extracted form corn. It should really be called corn starch.
Rice flour is finely milled rice not to be confused with rice starch.

Spices:
Mixed spice is a ground spice mix typically made from Cinnamon, Nutmeg and cloves.
All Spice can be whole berries or ground. It is the key spice in Jamaican Jerk seasoning.

Dried fruits:
Glacé is the same as candied. It just means the cherries, ginger or whatever have been cooked in a sugar syrup.

Shortening:
We tend to use lard (pig fat) as shortening here in the the UK.
Not heard of Copha myself but here's a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copha_(vegetable_shortening)

Alcohol:
Marsala is a fortified wine from sicilly.

A quick web search can help you find anything else you need to know.

halfrice's picture
halfrice

What is 'raw sugar' compared to 'caster sugar' and Soft Brown Sugar firmly packed compared to Soft Brown Sugar lightly packed?

Raw sugar is usually brown and caster sugar is very fine white sugar although you can now get brown caster sugar too.  Firmly packed or light packed refers to when you are measuring out the sugar, whether you should squash it down to pack the measuring cup or not.

Is self-raising flour the same as baking powder/baking soda?

Self-raising flour is plain flour with raising agents (and salt?) mixed in already. Baking powder is not the same as baking soda. Baking power = 2 parts of cream of tartar + 1 part of baking soda.


What is corn flour? flour made of corn? And is it used as 'normal' flour?

Corn flour is usually added to cooking to thicken sauces (e.g. chinese cooking). In a baking sense, it is sometimes added to plain flour to make it more resemble cake flour. We can't buy cake flour in the uk.


What is rice flour? flour made out of rice?
 And is it used as 'normal' flour?

Rice flour (not the sticky kind) is not normally use in baking. It has a sand like texture. Bread bakers use it to line their proofing basket so that the bread won't stick to the linen.

"Add 1 tablespoon of mixed spice"..What is mixed spice? What is "allspice"?

Allspice is also called pimento, smells similar to mixed spice.


- Buttermilk (is that something you can buy in the UK? Or can you just blend milk and butter by yourself if you don't live in the UK?)

yes you can find buttermilk along with the cream, it is slightly sour and is usually use to make scones.


-Glacé apricots, glacé ginger (what is the glacé-part? :p ) 
 

glace is shiny and coated with sugar, usually found in the same aisle as the baking ingredients.


- White vegetable shortening (don't know this either :p)

I think Crisco is popular in the US, in the UK we have Trex.


- In one recipe it said that I needed "copha" and "marsala" (not in the same recipe, but still, what are those?)

marsala can usually be found in half bottle 50cl. In my local supermarket, it is kept in the wine aisle.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

Hi and welcome to the forum,

I assume that  the book is from the UK and I see that you are in Sweden which all leaves little chance of me giving correct answers from the States, as I know the pitfalls of similar words with dissimilar meanings after those words make their way across the Atlantic.  There is a wealth of great UK bakers on this site and I am certain that the correct answers will all be forthcoming.

Happy Baking,  Jeff

LindaMerja's picture
LindaMerja

Thank you all for your help! :D

RobynNZ's picture
RobynNZ

Some links:

What we call cornflour others call cornstarch, I use it to make sponges and pavlova. 

If you have an asian store in your area you'll find rice flour. Just use it as recommended in your book. I use it to make wrappers for chinese dumplings. Many people use it in combination with other flours when making gluten free baked goods. And yes, I use it to dust my bannetons to prevent my bread dough from sticking.

How to make mixed spice

Wikipedia on allspice

Take a look at this blog post to learn about buttermilk and easy to prepare substitutes.

Copha and some substitutes.

Have fun using your UK book.

FoodFascist's picture
FoodFascist

just to add,

I never use self-raising flour, I just add bicarbonate of soda or baking powder to ordinary flour. The reason being, firstly, why keep two kinds of flour when you can easily do with one. Secondly, I find that there's always too much soda in self-raising flour and my cakes often come out tasting of soda.

As a general guide, to substitute flour and baking powder for self-rasing flour, it's usually recommended to add 1-3 level teaspoons of baking powder (depending how much lift you need) to every 225 g of flour. Excuse the strange quantities, they're just a conversion from the old style ounces and pounds measurements. So for a sponge you'd use more baking powder, for biscuits less. BUT I personally never ever use more than 2 level teaspoons per 220-250 g flour because I think it's unnesessary AND as I said I don't want my cakes tasting of soda.

FoodFascist's picture
FoodFascist

buttermilk - never used it but if I understand correctly it's effectively whey. To add to the list on Joy the Baker's blog, you can substitute buttermilk for: kefir (if you know what that is), sour cream (but use about a quarter to a third less butter if using sour cream, otherwise your cakes will come out too fatty), creme fraiche (use up to a half less butter). If ising sour cream or creme fraiche, you could also choose half-fat varieties if you're worried about the calories, or mix about 50% sour cream/creme fraiche with 50% milk. 

One of the buttermilk-based recipes on Joy the Baker's website is actually very similar to a recipe I often make, only I use sour cream insted of buttermilk. In fact, sour cream or kefir would be my substitutes of choice.

LindaMerja's picture
LindaMerja

Thank you all so much for your help! I've checked out all the links and feel more confident now about the ingredients :) I think buttermilk is a lot like what we call "fil mjölk" here in Sweden so it's not that wierd after all ;D

EvaB's picture
EvaB

raw sugar is very dark with lots of colour and large chrystals, caster sugar is what would be called berry sugar in Canada very fine but still chrystals you didn't mention confectioner's sugar which is powdered sugar mixed usually with cornstartch and called icing sugar in Canada.

Packed brown or yellow sugar (sometimes called light brown sugar) is hard packed the sugar will hold the shape of the cup when turned out, lightly packed is a semi hold of shape, and just dipped into the cup is very unusual, its almost always lightly packed or firmly packed don't ask me how much it weights because I don't weigh the sugar when it says packed, white stuff yes, the brown rarely unless it calls for a specific weight in the recipe.

The rule used in my household about baking powder (I suspect its your baking flour) is a slightly rounded tsp per half cup of flour (4.5 tsps for 2 cups of flour is what my baking powder biscuits call for) when using soda in baking you always have to have an acid to help it fizz, and that can be cream of tarter (look for a recipe to make your own baking powder using soda and cream of tarter) or buttermilk (which is what is supposed to be left of milk/cream when making butter, but these days is mostly cultured whey (left over from cheese and butter making)) and if you don't have buttermilk you can use regular milk and add a teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice to it, it will curdle and be very much like buttermilk.Generally if a recipe calls for buttermilk you need to add soda unless its simply for taste which I can't see as it tastes terrible as far as I'm concerned.

tsp is short for teaspoon, tbsp is short for tablespoon, in case I confused you there.

jennyloh's picture
jennyloh

For cornflour - note that there are yellow corn flour and there's the corn starch (which is white).  I presume in baking cakes and all, we usually use corn starch (white).

Buttermilk - I read somewhere that if you cannot find buttermilk, you can just add lemon into milk to get the similar taste?