The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baguette Cross-Sections: King Arthur vs. Gold Medal Flours

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Cliff Johnston's picture
Cliff Johnston

Baguette Cross-Sections: King Arthur vs. Gold Medal Flours

One photograph is worth a thousand words.  Well, here is a composite of 2 images.  The baguette on the left was made with King Arthur flour.  The baguette on the right was made with Gold Medal flour.  My preference is for the baguette on the left made with King Arthur flour.  It had a better chew to it.  What's a baguette if it doesn't have some chew?  I also liked the slightly better flavor - as opposed to very little flavor with the Gold Medal baguette.  Then there is the gas bubble formation.  Again I liked the larger holes in the KA baguette.  Toast?  Glad you asked.  Again, the KA baguette was the winner.

Both baguettes were made with the same amount of dough.

Cliff.

mse1152's picture
mse1152

Cliff,

Thanks for the side by side demonstration.  Every now and then, I wonder if it's worth it to pay more for higher end flours, and now I know it is!

Sue 

Cliff Johnston's picture
Cliff Johnston

Sue,

It all goes back to "you get what you pay for" in most instances - not all of the time as there are some who try to take advantage of it, but they get found out eventually and go by the wayside. 

Cliff. Johnston
"May the best you've ever seen,
 Be the worst you'll ever see;"
from A Scots Toast by Allan Ramsay

caryn's picture
caryn

Your test did show a lot, but I would want to know the reason for the difference.  First isn't the KA flour higher in protein than the Gold Medal?  And if so, perhaps using a generic bread flour would work as well.  Have you tried your baguettes using bread flour?  I usually use bread flour or even a mixture of bread flour and KA flour as has been suggested in some recipes, and they alway come out nice and chewy.  I have not made baguettes recently, however, since I  have been addicted to sourdough boules :)! 

So the question is- is it KA flour or protein percent?

Cliff Johnston's picture
Cliff Johnston

...were labeled as being bread flours.  What I haven't tried is "All Pupose" flour.  I do not know the gluten or the protein contents of either flour.  I will go search it out, unless someone beats me to it...I've got a lot to do today...

Good questions though.  I had the gluten and protein questions in the back of my mind to check when the dust clears a wee bit here on the home front.

Cliff. Johnston
"May the best you've ever seen,
 Be the worst you'll ever see;"
from A Scots Toast by Allan Ramsay

caryn's picture
caryn

Cliff- if both were bread flours, then you did prove that the KA is better.  When you get a chance, check the protein specifiction on the packages.  Maybe the KA pct is higher.

Cliff Johnston's picture
Cliff Johnston

...and could find the protein content expressed in grams based on a 30g. serving size.  Both say 4 g. which works out to 13.33%.  I found nothing on gluten content.  So, I sent emails to both companies asking for the protein and gluten content of their flour expressed as a percentage.  We'll see what happens... 

The King Arthur flour lists fiber as 4% while Gold Medal lists it as 3%.  Iron is 8% in KA and 6% in GM.  Thiamin is 15% in KA and 10% in GM.  Niacin is 10% in KA and 8% in GM.  Most everything else seems to be the same.

Yes, they are both bread flours.  I tried to compare apples to apples in this instance.

Cliff. Johnston
"May the best you've ever seen,
 Be the worst you'll ever see;"
from A Scots Toast by Allan Ramsay

Cliff Johnston's picture
Cliff Johnston

King Arthur replied rather quickly to my request for information about their bread flour.  It was waiting for me when I turned on my computer this morning.  I waited until now hoping to hear from Gold Medal.  I have not heard from Gold Medal, yet.

So, from KA:

 

"King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour, 5 lb.

King Arthur’s unbleached, unbromated, high-gluten bread flour, milled from hard red spring wheat grown chiefly in the Dakotas, is perfect for yeasted baked goods-bread, yeast rolls, pizza, and more.

·                              12.7% protein, a full point higher than other national brands.

·                              The higher the protein level, the stronger the rise."

 

Cliff. Johnston
"May the best you've ever seen,
 Be the worst you'll ever see;"
from A Scots Toast by Allan Ramsay

JMonkey's picture
JMonkey

It's definitely the highest protein bread flour in my grocery store, but, personally, I don't like it for most breads unless its full of nuts, fruits and seeds, and so needs the extra heft.

Their AP and artisan organic AP flours are in the 11.3-11.7% range, which is still stronger than most AP flours, where the norm is in the 10-11% range. Compared to other AP flours, KAF AP is more like a weak bread flour. For that reason, I don't like their AP flour for quick breads. Makes tough muffins, at least to my taste.

I find the KAF AP makes bread than is more tender and more flavorful than what the KAF bread flour produces. But taste and texture is really subjective stuff. Just my $0.02.

mountaindog's picture
mountaindog

Agree with JMonkey - I tried KA bread flour for awhile and while the bread rose nicely and had big holes, the crumb was too tough and lacking flavor for my taste compared to KA AP flour. With the higher protein content, you seem to gain heft in the loaf at the expense of flavor. I use KA AP for all of my breads calling for white flour, it has a higher mineral content than most AP flours which also enhances the flavor in my opinion.

Both of your baguettes look beautiful, BTW! 

Cliff Johnston's picture
Cliff Johnston

...and here it is:

Thank you for contacting General Mills with your inquiry. Here’s a list of the Gluten content in percentage for the Harvest king as well as the other variety flours.

 

 "                                                                 Specification range %            Average % 

Harvest King (Better for Bread)        11.3 – 12.3%                              

 

Gold Medal GMKT

Bleached                                      9.8 - 11%                                     10.5%

Organic                                        9.8 - 11%                                     10.5%

Self Rising                                   9.8 - 11%                                     10.5%

Unbleached                                 9.8 - 11%                                     10.5%

Wondra                                        9.8 - 11%                                     10.5%

  

Whole Wheat                                         13.8 - 14.2%"

 

I must say that I'm surprised at how long it took them to reply - almost a week.

Cliff. Johnston
"May the best you've ever seen,
 Be the worst you'll ever see;"
from A Scots Toast by Allan Ramsay

jsheridan1956's picture
jsheridan1956

According to my limited understanding, I thought that the gluten development depends on the protein content of the flours. Of course, proofing time is crucial to the development of aroma and flavors due to the enzymic action taking place. Limited kneeding and increase proofing and retarded fermentation develops bread like the short mix (hand) method. Too much kneeding will actually destroy the caratoids in the dough, devreasing flavor. So, the shorter the time kneeding and the longer the time resting, proofing and fermentation really brings out the 'rustic' hand made bread.

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

I don't know if you used the GM "Better for Bread" flour or their "Harvest King" flour, which supposedly is similar and now is marketed to the home consumer as a replacement for the "Better for Bread" brand.

Anyway, I went to the General Mills site, www.gmflour.com, and tried to look up the specs. (They don't post the specs for every brand they carry)

"Harvest King" is product code 53722 - protein 12% +/- 0.3%; ash .52% +/- 0.03% - described as " A high quality unbleached, enriched, and malted bread flour milled from a selected blend of hard wheat"

"Better for Bread" is product code 14474 - described as " A perfect "all-around" bread flour." but there are no specs on the site.

You say the KA bread flour is milled from hard spring wheat. Its possible the "Harvest King" is a mix of spring and winter hard wheat; spring hard wheat is usually somewhat higher in protein than winter hard wheat (which isn't to say that winter hard wheat doesn't make good bread flour).

Cliff Johnston's picture
Cliff Johnston

I lifted that quotation directly from the email that KA sent to me, so it's right from the horse's mouth, so to speak. 

Thanks for the information on the Gold Medal flour.  I still haven't heard from them.  So it's KA at 12.7% protein and GM at 12%.  KA flour is made with hard spring wheat from the Dakotas while the GM flour is blended, sources not stated.

Cliff. Johnston
"May the best you've ever seen,
 Be the worst you'll ever see;"
from A Scots Toast by Allan Ramsay

filbertfood's picture
filbertfood

Hello! I am an avid baker/chef that started a small business in import/export. First item for importing was type 55 flour and here's what I get:baguettes 04242007 - Small Overhead
baguettes 04242007 - Small Overhead

baguettes 04242007 - 2 crumb
baguettes 04242007 - 2 crumb

As you can tell, I don't use baguette pans because I like the finish this way. I didn't get to use fresh yeast, but I was happy with the results! Beautiful, chewy crumb with a crunchy exterior... Une très bonne baguette!

I can actually smell a difference in the flour... It has a wheatier scent.

If you're interested, just email me: inquiries@filbertfood.com.

John

titus's picture
titus

Hi John:

And here I am sitting in Europe, with Type 55 flour cheap and available as dirt in every supermarket and I'm pining for the higher protein American flours!

Then again, I don't make baguettes at home as there is no point with a boulangerie on every corner.

It's a shame we can't just do some quick flour trades!

filbertfood's picture
filbertfood

It would be nice if we could all just use the flour that should be used for the bread we want to make.  But wheat producers in the US would hate it and the tariffs reflect that.  Dommage!

crumb bum's picture
crumb bum

Hey Cliff

First of all thanks for the side by side comp.  I have a few questions that you all might be able to answer.  Also a few comments.  I had a baker once tell me they only use northern winter wheat (I think thats what he said as its been a while) because of its extensibility.  If the protein contents are similar, the elasticity and the extensibility of the two types of wheat if they are in fact different could be the cause of the different appearence of the loaves.  The other thing I was thinking and know nothing about is, are there different types and quality's of protein in bread flour?  It stands to reason that if the contents of protiens are manipulated to get all those different styles of flour then protein is an additive.  Leading me to think that some companies would buy cheap protein to add to their flour to keep prices down?  I do not know if this is true or not but it would be interesting to find out.  Thanks again

Da Crumb Bum 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

I don't think so.  In the U.S., anyway, anything that isn't already part of the flour has to be labeled as added ingredient.  Since protein content in flour varies by growing location and weather and season and strain of wheat and who-knows-what-else, millers have the option to blend flours of varying protein contents to achieve a finished product that has a protein content within a specified range.  If for instance, the miller wants to make an AP flour but doesn't have flours that exactly match his specification, he could blend a lower-protein flour with a higher-protein flour to achieve a product with the characteristics that he wants.  So, yes, the protein content can be (and is) manipulated but not by the addition of other proteins (which would be an added expense for the flour producer). 

It's not unlike what vintners or distillers do to achieve a particular flavor profile for their products.

PMcCool

Cliff Johnston's picture
Cliff Johnston

DCB, 

...to do the side-by-side comparison.  The "models" were consumed with gusto!  One thing is for certain, they make great toast!!!  I'm also a bit of a "photography phanatic" so the images were fairly straight forward for me to do.  You can see some of my photo restoration work at:  http://www.pbase.com/cjmax/photo_restoration&page=all

Gluten is the protein that breadmakers dwell on.  It can be bought at Wal-Mart and other grocery stores as Hodgson "Vital Gluten" in the baking section, usually right next to the flour displays.  It's relatively inexpensive at less than a dollar for 6-1/2 ounces.  You can add gluten at will to boost your bread's protein content.  Hodgson recommends 4 tsp./loaf.

Unfortunately this is the same gluten that has raised its head in the dog food poisoning cases.  Contaminated gluten from China is receiving the blame for the poisoning of animals.  Hmmm, I just checked my box of gluten.  Would you believe that there is no indication of product origin on it?  When you see how inexpensive gluten is and then look at the price of dog food you suddenly realize how monumentally profitable dog food is.  It's the packaging and shipping that boosts the costs so much.

When one bakes rye breads one is  "coerced" to add gluten to get a good rise.  Rye flour has a very low gluten content. 

Cliff. Johnston
"May the best you've ever seen,
 Be the worst you'll ever see;"
from A Scots Toast by Allan Ramsay

vyapti's picture
vyapti

I use bulk purchased vital wheat gluten extensively and have done so for years.  It is the key ingredient in seitan and many vegetarian meat substitutes.  I would be less concerned about contaminated gluten than I would about any of the spinach or meat recalls that have occurred recently.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

After looking at your results it seems to me that you are getting better crumb from KA but unless you made adjustments to the hydration I think you can get similar results with the Gold Medal. The two flours require different handling and even from bag to bag I think you will find differences.

I have been using KA AP flour for a while and like the flavor and I have become familiar with the way it comes together. Starting in April I began using Harvest King and it's just as nice. It is also about half the price which is nice since I have to pay shipping on the KA. I think it was $2.09 for 5# last time I bought it. I get great holes and structure from HK and the flavor is excellent.

I think you can get similar looking results from any similar flour if you take the time to learn how it needs to be hydrated and handled. The crust and crumb can be made to look like there isn't much differance in my opinion. I think the only thing that remains is a blind tasting test. Maybe we should have a regional taste-off!

Eric

tattooedtonka's picture
tattooedtonka

Cliff that is a great side by side dual.  They both look good, though the KA looks better.

I do not know if you have it in your area but I use a product of GM that is Gold Medal All Trumps, and I have had good results so far with it.   It is sold as "A high quality hard red spring wheat high gluton flour."   They sell this in 50 and 100lb. bags.  Here is a link to its product spec page if you are interested.  http://www.gmflour.com/gmflour/Flour_SpecSheet/AllTrumpsUnbl%20Brom50121.doc   Protein content of this flour is 14.2%

Another flour I really use and really like is "Knoxbridge Mills Premium Spring Wheat Flour for Artisan Bakers"  I cannot find any reference to this flour anywhere on the web other than its distributor is BakeMark.

If anyones knows the specs on this flour I would like to see them.

TT

 

RichardB's picture
RichardB

Thanks a bunch for the all the great information about KA and GM flours.


It's a big help!

sewcial's picture
sewcial

I had wanted to try All Trumps for a high protein white flour, but, when I did find a source, I was disappointed to learn that it is bromated, so I have decided not to use it. The spec sheet you referenced, TT, says it right upfront and potassium bromate is listed in the ingredients.


Postassium bromate is a chemical added as a dough enhancer to give better and more consistent rise, but it is considered in Europe to be a carcinogen and is not allowed in their flours. That is why King Arthur boldly advertises all their flours as "Never bleached, Never bromated."


Gold Medal All Purpose and Gold Medal Better for Bread flours are not bromated so I was disappointed to learn that All Trumps is. All Trumps is probably used in many commercial bakeries. I am sorry the U.S. allows these types of additives, but, since they do, we need to be conscientious about reading labels if this is important to us. 


Catherine

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Regarding the All Trumps being Bromated: For reasons known only to the miller, depending on where you live, you may have the non bromated product available to you.


I do know that folks living on the West coast can get the unbromated product. Here in the Wisconsin area I have only seen the bromated product.


Eric

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

If you do a little more research, you will find that there are at least 2 formulations of the All Trumps flour.


There is at least one unbromated version.


Not trying to convince anyone to by one way or another. Just presenting the facts as to head off too much misinformation flying around.


http://www.gmiflour.com/gmflour/flour.aspx?type=ESpring


#50143 is unbromated.


This is a chart for their "Eastern/Central" flours. There is another chart for Western flours with at least one unbromated All Trumps.


ps: NYBakers.com sells the unbromated formulation.

sewcial's picture
sewcial

Thanks for that info, Dwight. I'm glad to know they  make it without the bromate, but I don't know any source near me selling it and it isn't in any of the supermarkets in this area. I wish I had access to the  unbromated, but I'm not ready to pay shipping to get it sent here. I may write GM and ask them where it might be sold near  here.


Catherine

PeterPiper's picture
PeterPiper

I live in San Diego and buy unbleached AND unbromated All Trumps and Harvest King flours.  I find that the All Trumps works great for extra structure with very enriched doughs like brioche, or partial whole wheat doughs with lots of multigrain that need a good lift.  In general I make a 50/50 mix of All Trumps and Harvest King for my artisan breads and achieve a good blend of elasticity, structure, and flavor.  Plus, it helps that these flours are half the price of KA!


 


-Peter

DownStateBaker's picture
DownStateBaker

Always wondered how they look side by side. I buy both brands pretty interchangably (more on the king arthur side though) and I will prolly only use king arthur from here on out.