The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread Flour

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Carbonator's picture
Carbonator

Bread Flour

Hi Guys,


I just got hold of a copy of the Bread Bakers Apprentice, and so far it's living up to the praises I've been reading all over the interwebs.


However, right now I'm living in Denmark, and as far as flour goes we're/they're clearly living in the past (sometimes it does feel like living in an isolated world, up here) - or, at least, the selection of flour is no near as wide as in the US. I've been able to find no stores that specifically cater to bakers, so I'm stuck with the kind of flour that is sold in the supermarkets, which is really poor. The absolute highest protein content I've been able to find in any flour was 12 grams per 100 grams, and that flour is bleached. In addition, I have no idea about the quality of this flour; I haven't seen this brand in many stores.


Reinhart keeps emphasizing, in his book, how important the flour is (as well as primary fermentation, of course ;) ) - should I go ahead using this flour, or would the extra cost of importing flour from outside the country be worthwhile? Am I obsessing to much?


BTW. the bakers around here aren't really any good, so I don't really think trying to buy flour off them would be worthwhile.


Thanks for you time guys, and thanks for a great resource!

Doc Tracy's picture
Doc Tracy

And if you're really enjoying it consider buying a mill. Then you can mill your grains to get anything you want. You can mill them to any fineness, sift the brans out. The only thing you won't be able to create will be the bleached white flour that you can get at the store.


12% is pretty good for AP flour. Too bad it has to be bleached but it won't kill you. You've probably been eating bleached flour your entire life. Do you like whole grains? If you can get whole wheat flour that would be nice. Or rye?


If a recipe calls for strong bread flour or high protein flour you can add a little vital wheat gluten to up the protein. Otherwise, start with your 12% and see how it goes. You'll get used to how your flour handles and that's the important thing.

Chausiubao's picture
Chausiubao

Strong flour isn't necessarily a necessity. I personally have found that weaker AP flours (10-12%) make excellent bread when the flour is good. Its not about how much protein is in the flour, but whether the protein that you've got is the right protein. 


Now of course you have no way of determining if your flour has good protein in it or not, short of contacting the miller, but don't shrink from low protein flour simply because it doesn't have a high protein concentration. 


The thing that is so important to a strong fermentation is food for yeast, and one thing that yeast needs is ash. These are all the vitamins and minerals that don't burn off when flour is being tested and burned (its left over, therefore ash). I've heard that 0.5% ash is a good thing to aim for, but I'm not sure if you can ascertain ash content either. 


I guess the moral of my little tirade is that AP flour can make excellent bread, just like high protein flour can make lack luster bread. Bake and bake and find a good brand and bake away!

Bertel's picture
Bertel

Bread is made of flour and water. Bad flour=bad bread. If you can afford it order some from outside the country if you can afford. Check out posts by joeva. I live in Italy and also had to try a gazzilion types/brands before I found something good.

manicbovine's picture
manicbovine

This is interesting. When I lived in Scandinavia, I found that the flour selection was vastly superior to what I can find in the US. 


What part of Denmark are you in? Which grocers are available to you? Are you near Copenhagen? I found some great bakeries there.

Carbonator's picture
Carbonator

Hey guys,


Thanks so much for your replies. I probably won't with the home milling option, but it's a very interesting idea!


Chausiubao,


Thanks for the info. I guess I will be trying out what I can find and compare the results.


manicbovine,


Sounds very interesting, indeed. I live somewhat near Copenhagen, so if you remember anything as far as the names or locations of the shops goes, I'd be happy to hear from you!


I don't usually shop in Copenhagen, so it might be possible that the selection in there is wider - I would just doubt it, since it's the same two companies owning all the supermarkets... But I'd be grateful for your input! :)


Thanks again, guys!

manicbovine's picture
manicbovine

I can only recall two places by name. The first place is something like "Cake House", or "Kaken Huset". It was a chain bakery with decent breads. I remember it because I was surprised that the place was any good. Maybe this isn't the best endorsement. There was also a place called Strøg Bakeri near the Amager campus. They had some very good spelt bread and a decent loaf of French bread.


There is a very good bakery  just behind Central Station. I have no idea what it's called... there is a Narvesen or 7-11 down the street. It looks like hell, but they had some of the best bread I had in Copenhagen.


I know you're looking for bread, but La Glace on Strøget has some excellent sweets. It is, of course, expensive and touristy.


As far as grocers go, I shopped at ICA Maxi, but I don't think they're available in Denmark. If you're shopping at Rema 1000, then I'm very sorry. 


There is a Danish baking guild with a website: http://www.kbh-bagerlaug.dk

StuartG's picture
StuartG

Hi Carbonator,


I'm also foreign and living in Copenhagen trying to get to grips with baking.  For the most part, I've found the flour ok but do have problems understanding what is what.


E.g.,is there a whole wheat flour equivalent here?  I'm happy with my organic white flour (which I assume is unbleached).  And what is 'diastic malt extract' in Danish?


Did you have any luck finding shops selling flour you were after?


Let me know,


Stuart

Carbonator's picture
Carbonator

Hey Stuart,


As far as I know, whole grain would be "fuldkorn." As for "diastatic malt extract" I have no idea, although malt and extract is the same in Danish as in English (extract spelled ekstrakt).


found a couple of other brands, but nothing worth travelling 1 hour for. I'm going to the US next month and I'll try bringing back some KA flour if allowed (I'm not sure if unlicensed importing/exporting foodstuffs is legal).

Solitary's picture
Solitary

Hi,


I'm new here so maybe someone has covered this before.  I would really like some help.


 


I've used Five Roses Whole Wheat flour for years to make really good sandwich bread.  Now I find I can't find it anywhere in eastern Canada.  I did get some from Canadian Favorites online but the shipping cost me more than the flours.  Does anyone know where I can get more at a reasonalbe price?


Thanks.

Gourmand2go's picture
Gourmand2go

Hello


I live in Ontario and there are a few supermarket chains that carry the whole wheat Five Roses, but usually in a small size.  I'm sure that Loblaws does carry it, and they also have their no name whole wheat, but I think it's low in protein.


Have you tried bulk food stores?  The Bulk Barn here carries all kinds of whole grain flours, like Fife and Spelt, but they also carry Five Roses flours in bulk.  It's just a matter of determining how fresh it is.

BettyR's picture
BettyR

Start with what you have and learn to make good bread with it. I live in rural Texas and the flour options are very limited here as well. I'm retired and live on a fixed income so I can't afford to spend the money to order flour when I can get a 25 pound bag of AP flour at the farmer's market for $6.00. I also have a mill and a 25 pound bag of hard red wheat is also $6.00. I raise chickens so I have an abundance of fresh eggs and ready access to fresh milk, cheese, butter, herbs and vegetables. So use what you have available and make some wonderfully flavorful loaves. I do.