The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Strong Plain Flour

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Philuseshisloaf's picture
Philuseshisloaf

Strong Plain Flour

Hi, I have just joined the website and am totally new to bread making. I was bought "The Hairy Bikers Big Book of Baking" as a gift and decided I would like to have a go at making The Rustic Spanish Bread, page 236. The ingrediants include 125g strong white bread flour for the starter dough and 225g strong plain flour and 100g strong wholemeal flour for the main bread dough. I was able to purchase the strong white bread flour and strong wholemeal flour from my local Morrisons store but have been unable to find strong plain flour. Does this ingrediant come under a different name or can the forum please help with where I might locate this item.

I am keen to kick start my bread making but have fallen at the 1st hurdle. Please can anyone help?

Damp Patch's picture
Damp Patch

Hi,,

The recipe is slightly misleading. By 'strong plain flour' they mean 'strong white bread flour'. You just use 125g of it in the starter dough and 225g of it in the main dough.

If you look at the online version of the recipe I think they have made it a bit clearer.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/rustic_spanish_bread_pan_97488

Good luck with your baking.

Tom

Philuseshisloaf's picture
Philuseshisloaf

Hi Tom,

thanks so much for responding. I was beginning to think it should be strong white bread flour, but your link confirms this. They also use the term strong plain flour in the recipe for The Traditional French Baguette (Page 222) in the same book. As a total beginner I have found this to be extremely confusing. Thanks again for providing the answer.

Phil.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Philuseshisloaf,

Firstly welcome to TFL.

I take it you are UK-based and buying flour from a supermarket for home consumption?   If this is the case then the Plain Flour you see on the shelves will be milled from soft UK-grown wheat, and it will not be Strong.   The phrase Plain is used to distinguish the flour from Self Raising which has chemical aerating agents added for use in products like scones and cakes   UK Plain Flour is too weak to use for  making bread..

If this is the phrase used in the book you are using, then it doesn't inspire me with confidence about the book, as this is pretty basic information and an author/authors really should know this already.   In the UK we have Strong Flour for bread and Plain flour is suitable for cakes and pastry.

I recommend you just use all Strong White flour to begin with, and omit any Plain flour.   If the dough really is too strong, then you could substitute a portion of plain for strong...but not at the level recommended by the book.

Best wishes

Andy

Philuseshisloaf's picture
Philuseshisloaf

Hi Andy, yes I am in the UK. Thanks for responding. The reply given by Tom has answered my question. Thanks again.

Phil.

ananda's picture
ananda

Ok Phil,

But again your comment about baguettes further worries me about  this book.   Traditional Baguettes are made with French flour, which is quite different to the flour we use in the UK for bread [Strong].

French flour, whilst being stronger than UK plain flour, is much weaker in terms of its gluten content, than UK bread flour.   If you do make the baguette recipe and are hoping to achieve any degree of authenticity, then you are being given little helpful advice in this book I'm afraid.   I would suggest you use Strong flour as 70% and a good quality Plain flour as the remaining 30% of the total flourt in the formula they give.   If there is a pre-ferment in their rtecipe, that should be made iwth the strong flour portion, not the plain, as it will  break down too quickly.

Best wishes

Andy