Remember in the early stages of Lockdown, flour was just about the most precious currency? I swear, I saw a guy trading a vintage Rolex for two bags of plain flour and a self-raising down the alley behind my flat one night.
It really was nigh on impossible to get hold of any flour. Luckily, all types of flour are easy to find in shops now, but if you’re in the market for self-raising flour, but only have plain, flour in your cupboard at home, there is a little something you can do - a self-raising flour substitute, if you will!
Did you know that, if you add baking powder to plain flour, it will work just as well as self-raising flour? Yup – it’s true. And Nigella Lawson swears by it. In fact, she never bothers buying self-raising flour. She simply has plain flour and baking powder in her lavish larder, and if a recipe requires self-raising flour, she DIYs it.
But how much baking powder to add, that is the question.
How to make self-raising flour from plain flour
According to Nigella, 2 tsp of baking powder for each 150g of flour will do it.
On Nigella’s website, when a fan asked how to make self-raising flour at home, the response from someone who works for her was:
“Nigella tends not to use self-raising flour in her more recent books as she doesn't bother to keep both plain (all-purpose) and self-raising flour. Partly as keeping just one type of flour saves on storage space and partly as if you don't use self-raising flour regularly then it will lose its raising power over time.
“It is fairly easy to make your own self-raising flour. Just add 2 teaspoons of baking powder for each 150g/6oz/1 cup plain flour. Sift the flour and baking powder together into a bowl before using, to make sure the baking powder is thoroughly distributed (or you can put both ingredients into a bowl and whisk them together).
“If you are baking with cocoa, yogurt or buttermilk then add 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) as well as the baking powder as generally these ingredients need a little extra leavening boost.”
While we're on the subject of baking substitutes, what is a baker to do when a recipe calls for baking powder, but your baking powder cupboard is bare?
Well, for each tsp of baking powder you need for a recipe, you can replace it with a 1/4 tsp of baking soda and 1/2 tsp vinegar.
Or, you can even use buttermilk as a baking powder substitute. If your recipe calls for 1 tsp of baking powder, use 125ml of buttermilk and 1/4 tsp of baking soda. But remember to decrease the other liquids in your recipe to maintain the desired consistency.
Go forth and bake ultra-light, springy cakes and breads!