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eugenep

Have you noticed a change in King Arthur all purpose flour?

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I used the King Arthur AP to make pizza and galette recently. The dough felt like cream cheese smear or something. It was like there was no structure/gluten/protein holding it together to make it stretchy and tough. 

 

It was weird. My pizza turned out good or decent enough when baked but my galette felt like crumbles you put onto of a peach crumble. 

 

I'm not sure if its the seasonal change to summer (humidity and temp) or if something has changed in their AP flour. 

 

I did goggle it and found out the company was in a rush to get more flour to the market since their demand exploded by 3000% or something. 

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1 hour ago, eugenep said:

I used the King Arthur AP to make pizza and galette recently. The dough felt like cream cheese smear or something. It was like there was no structure/gluten/protein holding it together to make it stretchy and tough. 

 

It was weird. My pizza turned out good or decent enough when baked but my galette felt like crumbles you put onto of a peach crumble. 

 

I'm not sure if its the seasonal change to summer (humidity and temp) or if something has changed in their AP flour. 

 

I did goggle it and found out the company was in a rush to get more flour to the market since their demand exploded by 3000% or something. 

It sounds like you're onto something there.  Maybe In their rush they had to use a new what source which was not quite up to snuff.

I use the local Wheat Montana Flour for everything so I've not been affected in that way.

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I have not had any changes in mine, but I buy in the 50# bags, which I think are probably less likely to be affected by the current supply issues. I also use the organic stuff, which again is probably less affected.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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1 hour ago, Chris Hennes said:

I have not had any changes in mine, but I buy in the 50# bags, which I think are probably less likely to be affected by the current supply issues. I also use the organic stuff, which again is probably less affected.

Chris, how do you store your flour?

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9 hours ago, eugenep said:

I'm not sure if its the seasonal change to summer (humidity and temp) or if something has changed in their AP flour. 

 

I did goggle it and found out the company was in a rush to get more flour to the market since their demand exploded by 3000% or something. 


If wheat has been harvested at the wrong time, ie, it's been allow to sprout, it's enzyme activity will be too high, making it unsuitable for milling into flour- and potentially producing the results you're witnessing.  But ruined wheat is super easy to detect and I don't think KA, even in the middle of a pandemic, would stoop to that. 

 

Unless a miller is using an aging agent such as bromate, flour needs aging for proper gluten development.  My best guess is that your flour is just very very young.  If you can, I would just give it time.  If youth is the issue, a month should help.

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8 hours ago, Chris Hennes said:

I use LifeLatch buckets. Each one holds about 25lbs.

Do you put the buckets in the fridge or freezer? How quickly do you go thru 50 pounds of flour? Trying to figure out if this is something I should do or if my flour would go rancid before I used all of it.

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What I want to know is how he gets them to sell 50 pound bags.  I enquired once a few years ago and the commercial rep said maybe I could buy a bag if I came up to Vermont.

 

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6 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

What I want to know is how he gets them to sell 50 pound bags.  I enquired once a few years ago and the commercial rep said maybe I could buy a bag if I came up to Vermont.

 

 

if you have room, this place'll even sell you a pallet (that's 50 50-lb. bags). But it doesn't appear to reduce the price of their 50-lb. bags.

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7 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

What I want to know is how he gets them to sell 50 pound bags.  I enquired once a few years ago and the commercial rep said maybe I could buy a bag if I came up to Vermont.

 

There are lots of online stores that will sell you single 50# bags of flour, I usually just Google around for the best price. Shipping brings the cost up, obviously, but it's still cheaper per pound than buying at a local store (plus, I don't have to set foot in a store!).


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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9 hours ago, curls said:

Do you put the buckets in the fridge or freezer? How quickly do you go thru 50 pounds of flour? Trying to figure out if this is something I should do or if my flour would go rancid before I used all of it.

I do not - you'd need a really big freezer, and the round buckets would waste a ton of space. It takes me about three months to go through 50# of white flour. The rye takes me more like a year. Those buckets are airtight, though, I've been happy with them.


Chris Hennes
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chennes@egullet.org

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1 hour ago, weinoo said:

Yeah, I buy lots of flour from them, they have an excellent selection of Rye from Ardent Mills, and will repackage almost anything into 5# bags. So I didn't have to buy 50# of dark rye!

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Chris Hennes
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chennes@egullet.org

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I'm sure the pricing is much better to buy in bulk but - as a non-professional home cook - the turnover of that much flour would take like 5 years or something in addition to the risk of rot from summer heat and humidity. 

 

But makes sense for professionals. I might just switch to Gold Medal or something to see if the texture is better. 

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12 hours ago, curls said:

Do you put the buckets in the fridge or freezer? How quickly do you go thru 50 pounds of flour? Trying to figure out if this is something I should do or if my flour would go rancid before I used all of it.

White flours keep better than whole wheat.  I've had bread flour last a year, not rancid, stored in a bucket in my (coolish) basement. 

 

I use regular 5 gallon buckets, with a 'gamma seal lid".  Much cheaper than the thing Chris linked to (which may just be an amazon crazy price?) 50 lbs of flour is about 8 gallons, so you could use a 7.5 gallon bucket, and get most of it in the bucket.  Of course, your bucket would weigh 50 pounds, which may be a problem.

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13 hours ago, curls said:

Do you put the buckets in the fridge or freezer? How quickly do you go thru 50 pounds of flour? Trying to figure out if this is something I should do or if my flour would go rancid before I used all of it.

 

I regular push flour stored in buckets to a year and a half.  As long as the bucket has an airtight seal and you store it in a cool place (like a basement), it will last a long time.  Obviously, this is white flour.  Whole wheat has a crazy short shelf life.

Some great bucket options have been mentioned, and you're probably already aware of this avenue, but, I'm a huge fan of free. Most supermarket bakery departments have large covered plastic buckets that they're constantly throwing out. If you ask, they'll normally give you these buckets for nothing. You can also try other departments, like the deli, although things like pickles might leave a smell. Bakery ingredients (usually glazes and icings) clean off easily with no residual odors. Make sure you get a bucket with a very tight fitting lid, with a seal that is intact (sometimes the seals get cut when they open them)..

 

With some jiggling, I can fit one 50 lb. bag of flour into two 4.25 gallon buckets.

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2 hours ago, eugenep said:

I'm sure the pricing is much better to buy in bulk but - as a non-professional home cook - the turnover of that much flour would take like 5 years or something in addition to the risk of rot from summer heat and humidity. 

 

But makes sense for professionals. I might just switch to Gold Medal or something to see if the texture is better. 

 

Do you know anyone else who bakes?  Maybe you could split a bag. 

 

One thing you might consider regarding wholesale flour is quality.  I can't speak for galettes, but the quality of wholesale pizza flour absolutely destroys any retail offerings. And this isn't just flour.  Across the board, pizzerias get access to the best flour, the best cheese and the best tomatoes- all at considerable savings over retail.

Do you live anywhere near a Restaurant Depot? Presently, they're open to the public.

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1 hour ago, scott123 said:

 

I regular push flour stored in buckets to a year and a half.  As long as the bucket has an airtight seal and you store it in a cool place (like a basement), it will last a long time.  Obviously, this is white flour.  Whole wheat has a crazy short shelf life.

Some great bucket options have been mentioned, and you're probably already aware of this avenue, but, I'm a huge fan of free. Most supermarket bakery departments have large covered plastic buckets that they're constantly throwing out. If you ask, they'll normally give you these buckets for nothing. You can also try other departments, like the deli, although things like pickles might leave a smell. Bakery ingredients (usually glazes and icings) clean off easily with no residual odors. Make sure you get a bucket with a very tight fitting lid, with a seal that is intact (sometimes the seals get cut when they open them)..

 

With some jiggling, I can fit one 50 lb. bag of flour into two 4.25 gallon buckets.

 

I've never gotten a bucket from a food service operation with a lid worth a damn.  No problem with the buckets, but the lids aren't good.  They're not designed to be reused, so not really a surprise.  Spending 6 bucks on a good screw on lid that will last years and years is worth it in my book. 

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18 hours ago, scott123 said:

 

 

 

One thing you might consider regarding wholesale flour is quality.  I can't speak for galettes, but the quality of wholesale pizza flour absolutely destroys any retail offerings. And this isn't just flour.  Across the board, pizzerias get access to the best flour, the best cheese and the best tomatoes- all at considerable savings over retail.

Do you live anywhere near a Restaurant Depot? Presently, they're open to the public.

you mean like Caputo 00 flour (special for pizza)? Hmmm..I see it at Whole Foods for 2x the price of normal flour. I haven't tried it yet.

 

But I'm using a normal home oven and the recipe I'm using is designed for non-professional ovens. It's that book by Ken Forkish actually - with the use of all purpose flour and a small home oven. 

 

I live in NJ and there is a Restaurant Depot near me. But I think you need a special card - like Costco? I did go there once with brother-in-law to pick stuff for a family bbq. 

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I think more what @scott123 is referring to is freshness and quality of the ingredients. Of course some of that has changed due to the pivoting during the pandemic.
Stuff at grocery stores is much more likely to have been packaged and warehoused for quite some time before making it to a retail establishment. I mean, one just has to cook @rancho_gordo's beans compared to Goya's to see the difference.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

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3 hours ago, eugenep said:

you mean like Caputo 00 flour (special for pizza)? Hmmm..I see it at Whole Foods for 2x the price of normal flour. I haven't tried it yet.

 

But I'm using a normal home oven and the recipe I'm using is designed for non-professional ovens. It's that book by Ken Forkish actually - with the use of all purpose flour and a small home oven. 

 

I live in NJ and there is a Restaurant Depot near me. But I think you need a special card - like Costco? I did go there once with brother-in-law to pick stuff for a family bbq. 

I'm a big fan of Caputo 00 for pizza. We don't have a professional oven, and can barely get ours up to 500 degrees. The two best improvements we have made are that flour and the use of a thick steel. 

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On 7/1/2020 at 1:57 PM, dscheidt said:

 

I've never gotten a bucket from a food service operation with a lid worth a damn.  No problem with the buckets, but the lids aren't good.  They're not designed to be reused, so not really a surprise.  Spending 6 bucks on a good screw on lid that will last years and years is worth it in my book. 


So far, I've gotten probably 8 buckets from the bakery department, and one had cuts in the seal and the other one wasn't completely airtight.  But the other six have performed flawlessly.  While I agree that there's a bit of a gamble when getting free buckets, if you're shopping at the supermarket already, it's not like you're going out of your way.  If the bucket isn't airtight, it's not hard to throw out.

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8 hours ago, eugenep said:

you mean like Caputo 00 flour (special for pizza)? Hmmm..I see it at Whole Foods for 2x the price of normal flour. I haven't tried it yet.

 

But I'm using a normal home oven and the recipe I'm using is designed for non-professional ovens. It's that book by Ken Forkish actually - with the use of all purpose flour and a small home oven. 

 

I live in NJ and there is a Restaurant Depot near me. But I think you need a special card - like Costco? I did go there once with brother-in-law to pick stuff for a family bbq. 


Normally, you need a tax id to get an RD membership, but, right now, they're open to the public- no card necessary.

I am definitely not talking about Caputo flour- at least not in the context of a home oven.  For those with Neapolitan capable ovens (like an Ooni or a Roccbox), Caputo works very well, but, it's lack of malt is extremely anti-browning in home ovens.  When you delay browning, you extend the bake time, which ends up drying out the crust and producing a stale hard texture.

I'm talking about wholesale pizza flour.  Your local RD will have 50 lb bags of Full Strength brand flour and All Trumps- and various All Trumps analogs.  For pizza, these will all run circles around either all purpose or retail bread flour.  Modern NY style pizza is traditionally made with high gluten (All Trumps), but high gluten has a strong tendency to make too chewy of a crust, so I prefer medium high gluten flours like Full Strength- and Spring King.

If you want to buy Flour Water Salt Yeast and use it to make bread, I have no doubt it will produce phenomenal results, but, Forkish is a baker, and pizza is not bread. Forkish is part of your flour issue. The flour is definitely to blame, but, had you not been using a recipe that incorporated such an extreme amount of water, you might have weathered the new flour's shortcomings a little better. 

Extra water in pizza dough is not your friend- 70% water doesn't exist in the commercial pizza universe- at least, it doesn't for non pan pizza.  In New Haven, there's outliers that can hit 68% hydration, but, that's oven related. Everywhere else, you're almost never going to find anything higher than about 65%, with medium high gluten flours playing well with about 62% water. With the weaker flours they use in Naples, these numbers drop even further (generally below 60%). If you find someone telling you to add 70% water to pizza dough, it means that they've never talked to a professional pizza maker- or in the case of Forkish, they've talked to pros, but didn't listen.

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, scott123 said:


Normally, you need a tax id to get an RD membership, but, right now, they're open to the public- no card necessary.

I am definitely not talking about Caputo flour- at least not in the context of a home oven.  For those with Neapolitan capable ovens (like an Ooni or a Roccbox), Caputo works very well, but, it's lack of malt is extremely anti-browning in home ovens.  When you delay browning, you extend the bake time, which ends up drying out the crust and producing a stale hard texture.

I'm talking about wholesale pizza flour.  Your local RD will have 50 lb bags of Full Strength brand flour and All Trumps- and various All Trumps analogs.  For pizza, these will all run circles around either all purpose or retail bread flour.  Modern NY style pizza is traditionally made with high gluten (All Trumps), but high gluten has a strong tendency to make too chewy of a crust, so I prefer medium high gluten flours like Full Strength- and Spring King.

If you want to buy Flour Water Salt Yeast and use it to make bread, I have no doubt it will produce phenomenal results, but, Forkish is a baker, and pizza is not bread. Forkish is part of your flour issue. The flour is definitely to blame, but, had you not been using a recipe that incorporated such an extreme amount of water, you might have weathered the new flour's shortcomings a little better. 

Extra water in pizza dough is not your friend- 70% water doesn't exist in the commercial pizza universe- at least, it doesn't for non pan pizza.  In New Haven, there's outliers that can hit 68% hydration, but, that's oven related. Everywhere else, you're almost never going to find anything higher than about 65%, with medium high gluten flours playing well with about 62% water. With the weaker flours they use in Naples, these numbers drop even further (generally below 60%). If you find someone telling you to add 70% water to pizza dough, it means that they've never talked to a professional pizza maker- or in the case of Forkish, they've talked to pros, but didn't listen.

thanks for that info Scott.  You have more knowledge and experience about this area. 

 

I do want to try a higher quality flour but I got to taste it to believe it. It's been too long since I had high quality restaurant pizza. 

 

The last time I had take out pizza was at a work party ordered from an NYC outfit nearby (I'm guessing cheap stuff). The bread lacked this richness of taste that comes from fermentation and time. The tomato sauce tasted too concentrated and similar to artificial flavor - made with added dried basil, garlic, and artificial flavorings maybe? 

 

I just make pizza at home now and hesitate to buy it. It tastes different and better (based on my personal bad pizza take out experience). I don't think take out pizzas use real tomatoes and its some kind of concentrate sauce and the bread is not fermented and lacks flavor. 

 

I think I'd have to do a lot of research to find the right place to buy proper restaurant pizza. Restaurant profit margins could be very low and its easy to go out of business in that industry. It's like the motive to use cheapest ingredients to give customers the lowest price is there (just for the restaurant to survive). Many consumers might not even really know the taste of high quality pizza and might be unwilling to pay for quality. 

 

I read that Americans consumers are more like Germans (practical) and less like the French.

 

 

But thanks for the RD tip. I might go there for the next BBQ party - covid-19 fear permitting etc. 

 

 


Edited by eugenep (log)

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Posted (edited)

I got a weird 5lb bag of KA AP a few years ago. I wrote to them and they just sent me a coupon for a free bag. They didn't seem curious about what was wrong. Otherwise I've always found it consistent.


Edited by paulraphael (log)
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Notes from the underbelly

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