The Fresh Loaf

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Using Mexican flour to make good bread

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jastar's picture
jastar

Using Mexican flour to make good bread

We're moving to Mexico and I bake my own bread.  The Mexican flour is white, soft - like cake flour and we have yet to have good bread there.  What can I add to make the local flour suitable for making good bread--white whole wheat, multi grain.  I know I can add gluten, but don't know how much.  Any help would be appreciated.  Thanks.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

obviously the amount of vital wheat gluten to use depends on the protein content of the flour and your target protein percentage. if the flour is truely as low as cake flour then you may want to add 4 to 6€€ percent protein,  which converts to 6 to 8 percent vwg by weight. you might start with an additional 5 percent and go up or down as your results dictate.

jastar's picture
jastar

Thanks very much.  I understand from contacts in Mexico that the flour that is available truly is the equivalent of cake flour, but I hope that it is not bleached.

faster's picture
faster

I've lived in Mexico for 20 years now, and have permanent residence status here. This is a gorgeous country, but most of where people live is at fairly high elevations. You'll need to take elevation into consideration in your baking. I'm in Chapala, and recipe adjustments that work in Denver work here. You'll find all yeast doughs will rise faster, which I like, but you may not. In winter, though, dough has to have a warmer place than room temperature, unless your home is heated. Most aren't, and winter indoors can get downright chilly, so you'd wear sweaters and stuff. A good electric blanket gives me a place to dive into when it gets really cold. Usually, you shouldn't need more than that, but unless you have a breadmaker, dough should be put in a place like the oven with a big bowl of very hot water, or some other adaptation, to give it warmth while it rises.

There are several brands of flour, but I've noticed no real difference between them and American all-purpose flours. If you're moving to a place with a large foreign population, you'll probably find at least one large supermarket that sells American and other foreign products, like Better for Bread, and pure gluten. Smaller local stores (abarrotes) will sell regular flour. I buy stuff from them whenever I can, to help make the local economy more prosperous, but sometimes for quality reasons. Locally-grown eggs don't carry the risk of salmonella, for one thing - I consume two raw eggs daily in a nightly eggnog, and haven't had a problem for all the years I've made it.

Oh, be SURE you get Mycrodin. It's sold everywhere. Mexico is tropical, and all tropical soils are LOADED with intestinal parasites, like the amoeba. You can easily get sick from any food eaten raw that grows close to the ground; some can even climb up stems. Purify all such foods with these drops, especially cilantro and salad ingredients. They WORK. When I'm stupid enough to pick up one, I put ten drops in a spoonful of water, and it starts working immediately. By night, or at most next day, it's gone, except  for body aches. But repeat the ten drops after five days to kill any eggs that hatch. These drops can cure an eye infection, a baby's diaper rash, acne, athlete's foot, and is great on cuts, as well as it makes a great mouthwash. It works like Mercurochrome, but is totally harmless to the human body, even internally. It's been used here for 50 years.

All water for consumption in Mexico is bottled, sold by trucks that pass by daily. The driver will put the big bottles into the rocker in your kitchen. Do NOT ever think of consuming tapwater. It isn't meant to be drunk. While all bottled water is free of harmful microbes, they're not all free of chemicals and such, so get Santorini water, and stick to it, because it has no chemicals. And tastes marvellously better.

Remember that Mexico goes on the metric system. I still have troubles with it occasionally. Your oven will probably work in Centigrade.

And be sure to avoid night driving like the plague, except when the entire route is very well lit. Also beware of fellow ex-pats. Many are on the lam, and some others ought to be! There are countless boozers and dopers, too.

In spite of such things, Mexico is a fine place to live, and very beautiful. In most respects it's also healthier. Even on my low income, I'm more comfortable, healthier and eat better than I ever did back home. So I hope you enjoy Mexico.

faster's picture
faster

BTW, if you try the bolillo (bo-lee-yo), you'll find that Mexicans can make wonderful bread! It is sold in "tiras," which is dough twisted to make two hard rolls that are attached, but easily separated. They are every bit as good as a fine loaf of French Bread. Perhaps a shade more substantial, but crusty, with a melt-in-mouth crumb. Outstanding.

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Hi Jaster,

Did you ever move to Mexico and if so, did you find success with local flours? 

Paul