Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Brand Name vs Generic Flours?


Dailey
 Share

Recommended Posts

i was wondering if i should buy the more expensive AP and cake flour as opposed to the generic brands, i buy them in bulk and have always purchased the least expensive brands but was wondering if i should switch? does anyone have an opinion on this subject? i know i can get King Author, which i heard is a good product but if its not gonna make a difference in the the finished product then i'll just continue to buy the cheaper stuff, thanks! :smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i was wondering if i should buy the more expensive AP and cake flour as opposed to the generic brands, i buy them in bulk and have always purchased the least expensive brands but was wondering if i should switch?  does anyone have an opinion on this subject?  i know i can get King Author, which i heard is a good product but if its not gonna make a difference in the the finished product then i'll just continue to buy the cheaper stuff, thanks! :smile:

I buy Peter Pan in bulk cause it is cheap as well - and even on the finicky Elvis Pound Cake - works just fine.....that said - bread flours do matter....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I attended a King Arthur bread baking demonstration, the teacher said that the protein/gluten content of KA flour is consistent from bag to bag, whereas the level may not be for other brands. I don't know how much the level would actually vary, or how much difference that would make. I doubt it would be enough to ruin a recipe, but it might cause one of those, "Gee, I wonder why it turned out differently" reactions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with merrybaker. Consistency in the protein level of the flour is what you are looking for. KA has always been very consistent in my recipes. I occasionally visit the health food stores and pick up a bag of "high gluten flour" (as opposed to vital wheat gluten), but I normally stick with KA for my bread flours. Then again, if you are only baking every so often, you might not notice that big of a difference.

Flickr: Link

Instagram: Link

Twitter: Link

Link to comment
Share on other sites

thanks for the replies. :smile: i bake often and have noticed on occasion that my cakes/cookies do not come out in a consistent manner, even though i weigh all my ingredients, etc. maybe its the flour, maybe not...

at any rate, would i want a higher protein count in the AP/cake flour or does it depend on what i was baking? i did a quick search on the suject and it was all very confusing. thanks

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Definitely different flours for different jobs.

For breads, I use the high protein bread flours in combination with some of the lower gluten flours like whole wheat or rye.

For cookies and sauces (think roux), I usually use AP flour.

For delicate things like cakes or biscuits, I'll use a pastry or cake flour.

AP flour tries to be the best at all things, but I think if you are serious about getting repeatable results, you need to choose the right flour for the job.

I think it drives my roommate nuts that I have at any given time about 8 different kinds of flour in the cupboards. Then again, he certainly doesn't complain as he's scarfing the baked goods down. :biggrin:

Flickr: Link

Instagram: Link

Twitter: Link

Link to comment
Share on other sites

thanks tino! you mentioned pastry flour, can that be used instead of cake flour for cakes? just wondering if it will produce a better product, thanks. :smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It can, but most recipes you find in cookbooks call for AP flour. You might need to play around with the amount of cake flour to readjust the final texture to your liking. Unfortunately I don't have any conversion formulas for you between AP flour and cake flour. Perhaps someone else can suggest some.

Flickr: Link

Instagram: Link

Twitter: Link

Link to comment
Share on other sites

thanks tino!  you mentioned pastry flour, can that be used instead of cake flour for cakes?  just wondering if it will produce a better product, thanks. :smile:

Both pastry flour and cake flour are milled from the same soft wheat, but cake flour is bleached--you'll sometimes notice a chemical smell when you open a bag of cake flour, that's because of the bleaching process. That's why some people use pastry flour in place of cake flour--they like the idea of less chemicals.

I've used pastry flour (I don't have all-purpose at home) in place of cake flour when I run out of cake flour weight for weight, and the texture does change somewhat. For most recipes, like a pound cake, it's almost unnoticeable to my palate but some 'fussier' recipes might not turn out. I probably wouldn't try making a genoise with pastry flour, for instance.

Also, if you want a really white White Cake, you gotta use cake flour.

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't forget, a lot of these flours you can make yourself, like cake flour and pastry flour. Actually, I was always told that it is better to make your own pastry flour unless you are using it often because the baking powder in them can get old fast. Plus, this way you are also weighing and measuring the ingredients to get a more even result.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't forget, a lot of these flours you can make yourself, like cake flour and pastry flour.  Actually, I was always told that it is better to make your own pastry flour unless you are using it often because the baking powder in them can get old fast.  Plus, this way you are also weighing and measuring the ingredients to get a more even result.

I assume by "make your own" you're referring to mixing AP flour with cornstarch? Actually, what you're making is a substitute for cake flour or pastry flour. And neither of them contains baking powder. Maybe you're thinking of self-rising/self-raising flour?

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pastry flour is commonly not self-rising. Althouth I believe you can find self-rising pastry if you look hard enough. In RLBs Pastry Bible she has a formula to make pastry flour. 1 part cake flour to 2 parts bleached AP flour. I just made a blackberry pie with it.

It is not a substitute for pastry flour. It is pastry flour.

-Becca

www.porterhouse.typepad.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I attended a King Arthur bread baking demonstration, the teacher said that the protein/gluten content of KA flour is consistent from bag to bag, whereas the level may not be for other brands.  I don't know how much the level would actually vary, or how much difference that would make.  I doubt it would be enough to ruin a recipe, but it might cause one of those, "Gee, I wonder why it turned out differently" reactions.

I agree with merrybaker. Consistency in the protein level of the flour is what you are looking for. KA has always been very consistent in my recipes. I occasionally visit the health food stores and pick up a bag of "high gluten flour" (as opposed to vital wheat gluten), but I normally stick with KA for my bread flours. Then again, if you are only baking every so often, you might not notice that big of a difference.

Thanks for sharing this information, merrybaker and tino27.

My mom and visiting grandmother used to have fits with inconsistent results in making strudel dough with various flours untili we started using King Arthur's Unbleached AP flour. Since then, never a problem. I knew that the gluten content was important but it is interesting to know that KA may deliver a higher level of consistency in the gluten content of their flours.

(So far, this is the only dish for which I'll make sure to specifically use KA's flour, but then I don't bake a lot of bread. I'll remember this information if and when I do start more bread baking and practicing recipes. It sounds like a helpful piece of information if it does help in limiting variables.)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is not a substitute for pastry flour. It is pastry flour.

Actually there really is a difference, and one of the major differences is in the wheat. Pastry flour is made of soft wheat, and AP is made of hard and soft wheats, depending upon the producer, so to say they are the same is not correct.

Yes, you can mimic pastry flour by combining AP and cake, but they are not the same, and in certain applications, you would very much notice the difference.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Definitely different flours for different jobs.

For breads, I use the high protein bread flours in combination with some of the lower gluten flours like whole wheat or rye.

For cookies and sauces (think roux), I usually use AP flour.

For delicate things like cakes or biscuits, I'll use a pastry or cake flour.

AP flour tries to be the best at all things, but I think if you are serious about getting repeatable results, you need to choose the right flour for the job.

I think it drives my roommate nuts that I have at any given time about 8 different kinds of flour in the cupboards. Then again, he certainly doesn't complain as he's scarfing the baked goods down.  :biggrin:

Ok, I looked at this and said, Wow, 8 is a lot! Then I counted, and I have 9 different varieties at home, including:

Pillsbury AP Bleached, Stone Buhr Bread Flour, Great Harvest Whole Wheat, KA Bread Flour, KA Whole Wheat, KA AP, KA High Gluten, KA Cake Flour, Robin Hood Pastry Flour, and a small bag of White Lily. I think I just ran out of Softasilk, so I might go out and get more of that too. Each of the different flours I get for different applications - the pastry flour I use for cakes or biscuits (same thing for the White Lily or Softasilk when cake flour is required), I use the Stone Buhr Bread Flour as it's local and it has a higher protein content then the KA, the High Gluten I use for bagels, and the others I use in various amounts in the bread I bake each week for my family.

I would love to use KA all the time, though, since I also get consistent results from using it, and wish I could just get it in bulk since I buy so much. Has anyone ever wanted to start a baking cooperative, so they could get high quality chocolate and flour in bulk quantities to help keep prices low?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, I looked at this and said, Wow, 8 is a lot!  Then I counted, and I have 9 different varieties at home

See ... you thought I was nuts until you counted your own! :biggrin:

My roommate still thinks I'm nuts even though he enjoys the results of my baking. Then again, he's definitely not a foodie.

Flickr: Link

Instagram: Link

Twitter: Link

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It can, but most recipes you find in cookbooks call for AP flour. You might need to play around with the amount of cake flour to readjust the final texture to your liking. Unfortunately I don't have any conversion formulas for you between AP flour and cake flour. Perhaps someone else can suggest some.

1 cup + 2 tablespoons of cake flour can be substituted for 1 cup of AP flour.

I always use this and it works perfectly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Years ago I used to use the no name AP flour because it was cheaper but like you have, I began to notice that some things didn't turn out. I switched to a name brand and have never had it give me problems. I usually use Robin Hood but also Rogers on occasion. KA isn't available in Canada and I can imagne the freight cost would be amazing!

Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Orison Swett Marden

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I only use Gold Medal bleached all purpose flour for all of my cakes that call for AP flour. I get good results and don't have any consistency problems with the cakes' texture and density.

For cakes calling for cake flour, I use King Arthur flour's Lady Guinevere cake flour. It has a very soft and silkly texture to it. I pay the extra money to have it shipped but it's worth it.

Be advised that King Arthur flour's AP flour has a higher gluten content than most other AP flours on the market. So you may get a baked good that's denser than you'd like. I guess it would depend on what you're using it for.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For all of the breads that I bake I use an equal mix of KA all purpose and KA bread flour. The results are amazing and all consistent. To me it is as close as you can get to the wonderful European flours that I learned to bake with.

I know our pastry department and the bakers have switched to King Aurther and they are buying it in bulk. I will post the source if I can find it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I only use Gold Medal bleached all purpose flour for all of my cakes that call for AP flour.  I get good results and don't have any consistency problems with the cakes' texture and density. 

I use Gold Medal AP also, but the unbleached. Have been using it for years with consistently good results.

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 years later...

Just found this about KAF's road trip to visit the farmers that grow their goods. Its very interesting and convinces me that the name brand for me remains KAF whenever possible. If I needed a speciality flour or had to buy something in a pinch, I would go for name brand, Bob's Red Mill probably, every time.

Kansas Wheat Tour

edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...