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Nov 15, 2011 10:51 PM

Is cornflour in UK baking the same as cornstarch in US baking?

Trying to figure out if cornstarch is the correct ingredient when 'cornflour' is called for in UK recipes. I can't imagine that it would be correct to use what we call corn flour in the US, as it is simply finely ground cornmeal. TIA

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  1. yes.
    UK cornflour = US cornstarch.
    US cornflour = UK cornmeal

    9 Replies
    1. re: kerosundae

      I'm in the US and I call cornmeal, cornmeal. I don't call anything cornflour.

      1. re: BabsW

        I call corn meal ground finer into flour... corn flour.

        1. re: Becca Porter

          Ha, I'd call that finely ground corn meal versus the coarse grind. :)

        2. re: BabsW

          We do have a product here in the US called corn flour -- it is often sold in the bulk section of natural grocery stores. I think Bob's Red Mill also sells it. It's used for a variety of things, but as an example you could lighten up a regular corn bread recipe by subbing corn flour, which is quite delicate, for part of the corn meal.

          1. re: TerriL

            Funny, I've never seen it called that here. I've seen corn meals labeled as coarse or fine, but never corn flour.

            I 'll have to look for the Bob's red Mill stuff. I love their products.

            1. re: BabsW

              Corn flour is just a super fine grind, almost like wheat flour.

          2. re: BabsW

            Bobs Red Mill corn flour is like the Quaker cornmeal, but a finer grind (almost wheat flour like).

            1. re: paulj

              I know I've never seen that before, but I'll have to take a closer look in the bulk foods and natural foods aisles where they usually stash the Bob's Red Mill items.

        3. UK corn flour is not the same as American corn starch, just try making a American lemon merinque pie! There is some wonderful blog on Discuss cooking, just put in corn flour versus corn starch. It has taken me many years to get the right answer.

          4 Replies
          1. re: ardell

            So what is the difference?

            What is used in a home made version of Birds Custard?

            1. re: paulj

              Do you mean how would you make custard at home?

              Not that many of us Brits do - we use Birds. But it's not "real" custard - no eggs involved (that being the whole point of Mr Bird's invention).

              1. re: Harters

                The reason I asked is that Birds is essentially cornstarch - at least it was when Mr Bird invented it. They may use some sort of modified food starch now. I haven't used Birds, but my understanding is it makes the same thing that Americans call vanilla pudding, which can be made from a Jello brand mix, or from a simple mix of milk, cornstarch, sugar, and flavorings. Our chocolate pudding is the same but with cocoa powder and/or chocolate.

                The DiscussCooking thread doesn't help much. For some unexplained reason some people (the OP was in Greece) have problems thickening a lemon pie. A pie may have other variables besides the cornstarch/flour. For example the egg size; the liquid measure; the acidity of the lemons. There have been threads about acid reducing the thickening power of cornstarch.

                That thread makes the good point that Maizena/Maicena is a common brand name in many countries, to the extent that it is the generic name for cornstarch.

                is a BBC recipe for lemon meringue pie

                An older Joy of Cooking book has a recipe for 'Cornstarch custard pudding or blancmange'. I think that would be a good recipe to test for equivalences. It calls for 6T cornstarch, 4c (us) milk, 1/2 c sugar, pinch of salt. That is cooked till thickened, and can then be further enriched and thickened with beaten eggs.

                Arrowroot and tapioca are also mentioned as good starches for thickening pies. But when making such substitutions it is a good idea to read up on the properties of different starches. Some behave better with acids, some are more sensitive to over stirring, some are more tansperent. etc.

              2. re: paulj

                Creme anglaise or a traditional pouring custard, like a thinner, richer pastry cream. Typical homemade UK pouring custard recipe here:

            2. In Canada we buy corn flour which is, as mentioned already, very finely ground and pale yellow. I use it in all sorts of baking, especially pizza crust. It is NOT the same as cornstarch.

              1 Reply
              1. re: chefathome

                We have the same product in the states used for frying batters especially clams and other seafood. Also called cornflour rather than cornmeal which comes in different grades of coarseness but not as fine as corn flour.

              2. Yes, they are but in different countries you call them different name like in UK it is cornflour and in US it is cornstarch.....

                1. A powdery flour made of finely ground cornmeal, NOT to be confused with cornstarch. The exception is in British and Australian recipes where the term "cornflour" is used synonymously with the U.S. word cornstarch. Corn flour comes in yellow and white and is used for breading and in combination with other flours in baked goods. Corn flour is milled from the whole kernel, while cornstarch is obtained from the endosperm portion of the kernel. Masa Harina is a special corn flour that is the basic ingredient for corn tortillas. White corn flour blends well with other food ingredients and can be blended with wheat flour to reduce gluten for cakes, cookies, pastries and crackers. White corn flour is used as a filler, binder and thickener in cookie, pastry and meat industries. Sited from: