High Ratio Flour

High ratio flour is used almost exclusively by professional cake bakers, though it’s also found in store bought cake mixes. What makes this type of flour special is that it’s ground very finely and treated with either heat or chlorine (or both). What does that do? It allows the flour to disperse very, very evenly through the batter. That’s important because small, evenly dispersed flour granules gelate (“come apart”) more readily during baking, then tangle up with the egg proteins in the batter to create a very fine, tight mesh. This mesh is extremely strong and able to hold the cake up despite all the sugar. What you get is a firm cake layer with a tight crumb that rises high, yet still retains a moist mouthfeel, since high ratio batters are also moisture-heavy.

12 thoughts on “High Ratio Flour”

  1. I see you have both high-ratio and cake flour listed separately, though they seem similar from your descriptions. Just curious – are they pretty much the ssme thing? Thanks!

    1. Hey Beth!

      Great question. There’s consistent debate in the cake baking world as to whether all cake flour can be considered “high ratio”. I think in broad terms the answer is yes, however I created a separate post for high ratio flour because there are so darn many versions of high ratio flour on the market, all with subtle differences in the way they’re treated, and some of which will rise higher than grocery store cake flour depending on the formula (i.e. if there’s more sugar in the mix than normal, if high ratio shortening is in the mix, that sort of thing). There’s a wide, wide world of functional ingredients out there!

      But for all practical purposes, especially when baking at home, consider cake flour to be high ratio.

      Many thanks for the excellent comment!

      – Joe

  2. Joe,
    If a cake is low ratio, very little sugar or fat, although high eggs (100%/flour), is using high ratio cake flour still a concern? In effect, is it possible to get a high cake because of the lighter ingredients?
    Thank you!
    Peter

    1. High Peter!

      Sound like you’re talking about a sponge cake with high ration flour, yes? I have not tried that, but in theory it could make a difference, for the simple reason that it should disperse more evenly. It’s the flour clumps in a sponge that undermine its ability to rise, so I think you might be better off with the high ratio. Try it and let me know what you think. I’ll be curious!

      Cheers,

      – Joe

  3. Hi, I would like to know is high ratio flour suitable to make traditional mooncake skin?

    1. Hey Amy!

      Yes you can make mooncake skins with high ratio flour. It not strictly made for that, but I think it would work nicely!

      Cheers,

      – Joe

    1. Hey Amy!

      Yes, in fact it is very low in protein like most cake flours. However it compensates for the low strength in ways just described!

      Thanks for the question!

      – Joe

  4. A esta harina siempre se le agrega los mismos ingredientes de las recetas?… ó ya trae azúcar ó polvo de hornear?…
    Me gustaría saber si se puede hacer cualquier receta para pastel sin omitir ingredientes…
    Muchas gracias.

    1. Estimada Lucia:
      Es difícil encontrar este tipo de harina para Los pasteleros no-profesionales. Pero, sí, se la puede usar en cualquier receta para pasteles, especialmente para conseguir una textura fina.
      Con gusto.
      Joe

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