How do I Love my Flour? Let Me Count the Ways.

OK...I'm going to show my ignorance and newbieness here - BIGTIME. I've been reading and trying to grasp the essence of what is going on in [url=http://www.sourdough.com.au/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=10]this thread[/url] and [url=http://www.sourdough.com.au/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=246]this thread[/url] about getting good flour. I've a Msian friend who also bakes and insists on getting UK flours (Tesco or Waitrose which was available here for a while) and says that local flours just didn't work with his recipes. I'm thinking I'm missing a Very Important Picture here. I guess I haven't paused to sniff my breads closely enough, or I just wasn't born with The Nose. Each time I bake a loaf, I use different flours - all organic as the local flours are most likely to be bleached and even bromated - because I'm lucky to be able to even find organic shops stocking the flours I want. Also, with so many recipes, I haven't repeated one particular bread more than 2 times. And if anything should fail, I blame it on Timing.

So, tell me, why do you love your Brand X flour so much? Is it for the Flavour, or some extra Magic in the Crumb? We have a blogger in our midst who hasn't joined the forum yet, [url=http://slowdough.sourdough.net.au/]Slowdough[/url], an artisan baker, who has recently observed that a non-organic flour seems to be working very well with sourdough breads, showing "significant increases in aroma, flavour, crust quality,and particularly the crumb moisture level". Wow!


5 comments

I do like bread that makes a good mouthful. Re 11% I'd always read that was a fairly typical value for european style hearth/artisan loaves, so I just adopted it as my standard, I've never really tested it. You can't buy anything stronger here without going to a specialty/wholesale baking supplier and purchasing in bulk.


[quote="matthew"]
I stay away from the house brands as they have 10% or lower protein. One good thing about NZ is, as far as I'm aware, none of the mills bleach their flour, and they all seem to have relatively local mills to where I live. I have tried organic stoneground flour and it does have quite a different texture and made very nice bread but it is so much more expensive!

Matthew
[/quote]

Matthew, to make a straight observation, your preference is for breads on the chewy side? Some of us here have been making breads using plain flour with protein levels from 9 - 12 %. I've made buns completely with plain flour before and they do indeed come out softer and fluffier, though I made a side by side experiment a fortnight ago, and bread using strong flour also came out soft. Ah well...back to the drawing board. If I'm not mistakened, french bread are made from flours with levels of 9- 10%.

I wouldn't be so fussy about my flours having to be organic if I could find local unbleached flours. In that respect, I so envy you guys.


I normally swap between two brands here in NZ, Elfin and Champion. Both 11 - 11.5% (can't remember which is which and too lazy to go look). I choose based on price normally one or the other will be on sale at the supermarket about when I need to stock up and I buy that one. I stay away from the house brands as they have 10% or lower protein. One good thing about NZ is, as far as I'm aware, none of the mills bleach their flour, and they all seem to have relatively local mills to where I live. I have tried organic stoneground flour and it does have quite a different texture and made very nice bread but it is so much more expensive!

Matthew


TP, I know so little about it all ... Wallaby was recommended by Bill and a bunch of folks in this forum, so I hope they will reply for you, too.

I was using Defiance Bakers Flour previously ... and I just felt my bread could be a lot better. When I first opened a bag of Wallaby ... smelt it ... felt it ... it even LOOKS different ... The moral to the story is ... if a whole bunch of our friends in here use it, you can probably safely assume it is pretty good.

It must be enormously frustrating being so limited in what you can get your hands on!

I'd love to hear what Chembake has to say ... but perhaps he's given up on us all!

TP, while I do lean the "Organic" way with some things, I'm not a stickler for it. I use a white flour called Laucke Wallaby Bakers Flour.
1. Because it is an 11.5% flour available locally, the alternative is Defiance Bakers Flour at 11% which I have tried and don't like.
2. To obtain other flours I have to pay freight which blows up the price.
3. I haven't found the necessity (yet) to approach the local bake shops for flour, mainly because they also do cakes and I'm not sure of what they use for their bread.
4. And basically I'm working on the principle of "If it ain't broke don't fix it" so I've not looked for an alternative to what I'm presently happy with.