tesco self raising versus plain all purpose flour
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Do I need self-raising flour?

By Caroline Kett 2020

I’ll cut to the chase and answer your quandary now,  “You most definitely do not need to buy flour that is labelled self-raising”. 

What is self-rising flour?

There is nothing that special in regard to self-raising flour other than an added ingredient. The added ingredient is one that could be destined for the chemistry set! When you chose self-raising flour over plain flour you are buying the same flour but with a raising agent added. 

What is a baking raising agent?

The raising agent that is used for the baking of cakes and biscuits is called ‘Bicarbonate of Soda’ or Baking Powder.

What is bicarbonate of soda?

Bicarbonate of soda which is also known as baking powder, sodium bicarbonate and sodium hydrogen carbonate is a raising agent commonly used to make your cakes light and fluffy, mmm!

Bicarbonate soda is an alkali which reacts with an acid to neutralize it. This chemical reaction can be used for a variety of cooking and baking tasks. Tiny bubbles are the result of the chemical reaction. These bubbles play an integral part in every cake we make.

baking powder
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Why do we need bicarbonate of soda

You need the soda to put bubbles into the cake mix which increased the volume of the cake mix. When you bake the cake in the oven the trapped air in the mix expands and the cake will rise as a result. 

How to make self-raising flour?

Making self-raising flour is very easy. You will need 

  • Plain, All Purpose or Type 55 is a good choice for cake baking
  • Bicarbonate of Soda (Baking Powder) 

You will need to add 2x 5ml teaspoons of baking powder to 150 grams(5oz)of flour. This may be different for your recipe but this is a standard. 


You may ask ‘Why Bother’? Well for us living in France the availability of ready to use or self-raising flour is hard to come by. But there are other reasons why you might want to just add baking powder to your plain or all-purpose flour. 

  • You have control over the flour you want to use for instance you might want to bake organic.
  • You can store only one type of flour so you use plain or all-purpose for cakes and pastries
  • Empty shelves of self-raising but all-purpose flour are available

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