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Bread flour: does the brand really matter?


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35 replies to this topic

#31 HungryC

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 07:10 AM

Protein is important--you want to match the protein content to the recipe.  Stronger/higher protein flours are unsuitable for tender things like piecrust, cakes, muffins, and baking powder biscuits, while it is necessary for a proper bagel or thin NY pizza crust.  But factors other than protein percentage impact performance....

 

Performance:  as I mentioned upthread, flour is complicated.  Factors like starch damage, extraction (particle size), age, "falling number" (amount of amylase, an enzyme) and so on all impact your baked goods.....better brands are consistent in all of these factors from bag to bag thanks to blending and a high degree of quality control.  Less desirable brands have a high degree of variation from batch to batch, which lead to a high level of variation (more or less water required, browning/crust color differences, size/oven spring differences, etc). 



#32 Charcuterer

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 09:00 AM

The Protein content of the different flours can differ by quite a lot.  For example the White Lily Bread Flour is the same as the King Arthur AP flour(11.7).  Here are a few examples of supermarket flour protein levels.

 

A-P

KA  11.7

Gold Medal 10.5

White Lily  8

Pillsbury 10.5

 

Bread Flour

KA  12.7

Gold Medal 12.5

White Lily  11.7

Pillsbury 12


Edited by Charcuterer, 11 March 2013 - 09:02 AM.


#33 piracer

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 10:52 PM

Would the 0.2 difference between KA and Gold Medal ever make a difference that might be noticeable, aside from lets say a 'bad' batch where the protein content is different.

 

I guess, when is it that protein percentages begin to matter?



#34 Mjx

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Posted 12 March 2013 - 01:15 AM

Would the 0.2 difference between KA and Gold Medal ever make a difference that might be noticeable, aside from lets say a 'bad' batch where the protein content is different.

 

I guess, when is it that protein percentages begin to matter?

 

The protein percentage will matter any time you have a specific texture in mind.

 

If you want chewy, rugged, open-structured bread, you want a high percentage of gluten; if you want a finer, more delicate crumb, you want a lower percentage (although adding fat will move the texture in that direction, too); if your goal is more general (e.g. texture not of particular importance), protein content isn't such a huge deal.


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#35 SimonH

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 05:23 AM

Would the 0.2 difference between KA and Gold Medal ever make a difference that might be noticeable, aside from lets say a 'bad' batch where the protein content is different.

I guess, when is it that protein percentages begin to matter?

The protein percentage will matter any time you have a specific texture in mind.

If you want chewy, rugged, open-structured bread, you want a high percentage of gluten; if you want a finer, more delicate crumb, you want a lower percentage (although adding fat will move the texture in that direction, too); if your goal is more general (e.g. texture not of particular importance), protein content isn't such a huge deal.



Is all the protein in flour the gluten type proteins or is the percentage of gluten protein to non-gluten protein as variable as the overall protein levels in different flours?

#36 Mjx

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 05:37 AM

Is all the protein in flour the gluten type proteins or is the percentage of gluten protein to non-gluten protein as variable as the overall protein levels in different flours?

 

University of British Columbia's discussion of wheat proteins, here: http://www.landfood....tein/protq4.htm


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