Anyone who’s opened a cookbook knows that “all-purpose flour” is a bit of a misnomer — there are several varieties that can be called on for certain recipes, like bread or cake.
I recently stumbled upon another example while testing out a two-ingredient pizza dough recipe that required self-rising flour (and Greek yogurt). Although I already had all-purpose flour, I reluctantly bought a whole bag of self-rising — knowing full well that it would crowd up my cupboard and that I probably wouldn’t use it again all that often. It turns out, I should have actually reached for my regular flour, some baking powder, and baking soda that I already had on hand.
This trick comes from British chef Nigella Lawson. According to her website, she doesn’t bother keeping self-rising flour in her kitchen anymore in order to save space and because it loses its ability to rise over time. It’s also totally easy to make small batches of it as needed: “Just add two teaspoons of baking powder for each cup of 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 use a whisk to mix it all together.)
The website notes that if you’re working with cocoa, yogurt, or buttermilk in your recipe, you’ll need to include 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to flour along with the baking powder to give the flour an “extra boost.” You should also, of course, make sure all of your ingredients have not gone past their use-by date — especially baking powder, which like self-rising flour, eventually loses its ability to make recipes puff up over time.
Now that’s one less type of flour we need to worry about stocking in our kitchen!