Self rising flour is an ingredient that appears in many recipes for cakes and biscuits. It is a premixed blend of baking powder, salt and flour that is handy to have in the kitchen because it allows you to bake without having to make too many separate measurements. As a recipe writer, it can also allow you to streamline recipes by bundling all those components in one single item on the ingredient list! Jokes aside, self rising flours do have other advantages. Self rising flours are known for being easy to use, but they are primarily known for producing light, fluffy baked goods. This is because many brands of self rising flour have a lower protein content than all purpose flour. This means that they contain less gluten and will yield a more tender finished product. While the protein content can vary from flour to flour, self rising flour is more similar to cake flour (approx 8% protein) than to all purpose flour (approx 11% protein) much of the time.
If you only have one type of flour in your pantry, it is probably all purpose flour and it is entirely possible to make a great self rising flour substitute with it. If you happen to have cake flour, you can make a stand in for self rising flour that will produce a slightly more tender result.
With all purpose flour: Combine 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt. Substitute for 1 cup of self-rising flour.
With all purpose and cake flour: Combine 1/2 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 cup cake flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt. Substitute for 1 cup of self-rising flour.
These recipes can be scaled to make small batch recipes using up to three cups of flour. If you need a huge quantity of self rising flour – if you are baking a batch recipe of biscuits for a 100+ person picnic, or something – you are likely to be better off just picking up a bag (or three) of regular self rising flour at your local retailer to save yourself some trouble!