The Fresh Loaf

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Best options for using up a large amount of bleached costco flour??

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Hank Gurdjieff's picture
Hank Gurdjieff

Best options for using up a large amount of bleached costco flour??

I'm still rather inexperienced at baking, but when I was just starting I bought a BIG sack of bleached, unbromated AP flour from Costco.  I've since realized nearly all the recipies I try call for unbleached bread or AP flour and it seems to make a difference. For example,  I just used it in the Lean Bread recipe from Peter Reinhart's "Artisan Breads Every Day" and it was typical of what I've found: crust thinner, loaf lacking richness/substance, more like a bland white sandwich bread from my childhood school lunches than something I'd eat with soup or make a big deli sandwich out of, let alone eat all by itself. Not bad, just not that good.

Looking around here and elsewhere, I see opinions vary on the topic, but I'd still like to ask. How would you use it up? I gather it can make good light cakes, but I don't want cake with dinner EVERY night.

I see flour varies regionally. I'm in California and I *think* it is ConAgra unbromated bleached AP flour. Original bag is long gone as I cycled it through the freezer in ziplocks since I knew I wouldn't use it up quickly. It seems much finer than the KAF AP and bread flour I've been using.

So, if you were on a tight budget and trying to use it up, what would you bake with it? Will it help to mix it with something?

Actual recipies or just general advice any guidance on using it in general would be great.

Thanks!

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

You could add a small percentage (5-10%) of whole rye flour to an otherwise white bread to boost the flavor without making it overtly "whole grain".  Ditto for adding regular whole wheat.  Or you could go with a substantially higher white whole wheat fraction (if some of your "customers" are put off by regular whole wheat bread).  That would also boost the flavor and add some creaminess to the color.  Note that the flour will need additional water for the dough to feel similar to an all-white dough.

And if you don't want cake every day, there are always pies, biscuits, scones, dumplings, pancakes, waffles, cookies and other uses for the flour.  ;0

Paul

Niashi's picture
Niashi

Paul has very excellent suggestions! I am on a tight budget these days myself, so I make a lot of pierogies for example. I think the base idea is, if it isn't yeasted, the bleached flour can be used for it.

Hank Gurdjieff's picture
Hank Gurdjieff

Thanks for the replies!

I had not realized that the recipies for which bleached flour is OK are non-yeast. That makes it much easier to figure out what to do with it. After reading where Niashi wrote "...the base idea is, if it isn't yeasted, the bleached flour can be used for it," I looked back at PMcCool's list of suggestions. Aha! none use yeast.

I looked around and read how sourdough starter really doesn't like bleached flour. Kills a lot of the yeast. A second Aha moment: now I know why I sucked so bad at keeping my starters alive! I kept trying to use up the bleached flour by feeding starters with it.

The household (both humans and both dogs) LOVE the America's Test Kitchen blueberry scones (I found it in the 2010 Spring Entertaining issue, but it's all over the web). I have some blueberries, I'll try that first. Then Pierogies after a trip to the store. I haven't tried baking anything savory yet.

Thank you both!

 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

in yeasted breads without much fretting about the positives or negatives of either.  I prefer unbleached, simply because it has been less messed around with.  However, I don't find an appreciable difference in flavor or performance between bleached and unbleached versions of the same flour.  Switching between brands can sometimes lead to differences in how the dough performs but that has more to do with the wheat that went into the flour than it does with whether or not the flour was bleached.  Even then, I haven't had an unmitigated disaster that I could pin on the flour (user failure is the bigger issue in my kitchen).

No matter how you work with it, starch tastes pretty bland all on its own, bleached or unbleached.  That's why we add in other stuff or play with extended fermentations.

Happy baking, no matter what you do with it.  (If it weren't for my innate modesty, I'd brag about my abilities as a pie taster.  So, if you decide to use up your flour in pie crusts...)

Paul

clazar123's picture
clazar123

I think the bleached flour will work better in any sweet and highly flavored recipe (cakes,muffins,etc). The flour  is very bland tasting and performs well in dessert,non-yeasted recipes.

I like the idea of adding rye or WW to improve the flavor if making a bread.I still have some unbleached flour here I will try to get used up. 

Commercial yeast would probably stand up to a bleached flour better than a natural levain.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

AP flour for SD and YW breads all the time with no problems at all.  I'm guessing that folks would have a very hard time knowing, seeing or tasting the difference.  Maybe it isn't noticeable because most of my breads have at least 40% whole grains in them with sprouts and seeds and  it is harder to tell the difference.  Maybe that would be the place to use it up - in breads that were dominated by a higher % of whole grains.

Hank Gurdjieff's picture
Hank Gurdjieff

Thank you for the help! Reading the replies, it occurs to me that perhaps the problem isn't so much that it is bleached, but that it was the cheapest flour I could find.

You all were right about strong flavors helping :) I made some puff pastry with it last night for the first time - it was sure easier than I expected. I filled it with some bacon and mushrooms saute'd w/ a little garlic, just folded the corners up. It followed the letter, if not the spirit, of my wife's request I not bake so many sweets so she doesn't keep eating them and gain weight, something she pointed out a mouthfull.

I'll try a side-by-side comparision with KAF bread flour and see how much is my lack of experience, how much is just imagination, and how much is really the flour. I've barely tried working with whole grains. I'll look for recipies to try.

Thanks again! Oh and PMcCool, I can't say I make a pie crust worth sending you, but do try making what has been my most praised recipe: (once I understood the fraisage part - Messy Fun!): http://www.kimmccall.org/cooking/apple_galette.html shows the recipe. I sharpened a swivel peeler to slice the apples (no mandoline) and it goes quickly.

All at Sea's picture
All at Sea

... or, alternatively - bleached. That's the option I have here in Grenada. They simply don't do unbleached white AP (or unbleached white bread flour, come to that). It's not what I'd ideally like to use, but it causes no problems whatsoever when used as a main dough ingredient. And none when used as part of the refreshment for my starter.

All at Sea

sunyfun's picture
sunyfun

My son bought two 50# bags of the bleached AP and Bread flour from Costco for me because I was experimenting so much with my sourdough starter.  Well, believe or not, I used up all the flour in 4 months baking the Tartine Country Bread.  They came out tasting and looking just the same as the loaves made with unbleached flour--and there was also some whole wheat flour in the dough.  I  probably won't deliberately buy this flour again because I want the bread to have some nutritional value, but it was an economical flour to use to learn to bake sourdough breads--especially when you end up with door stops during the process.

Hank Gurdjieff's picture
Hank Gurdjieff

Grenada? well, if you were really a commited baker you'd swim over to the mainland for the flour. Of course you'd have to work hard to keep it dry on the swim back. Good to hear. I got my starter working well now, will split some off and try feeding it the costco flour in a week or so when I know a bit more what it is doing.