The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Flours

RodMcF's picture
RodMcF

Flours

I got the Larousse Book of Bread for Christmas, and all the wheat flour recipes use what the authors describe as "All-purpose (plain) white flour", and a sourdough starter. Virtually every other cook book and internet recipes use strong white bread flour. Has anyone used all-purpose flour, and with what results?

Lechem's picture
Lechem

Plain, or cake, flour which is best for well... cakes.

Bread flour which is best for well... bread :)

And AP flour falls in between so it can lend itself well to either. 

Might make a slight difference on the crumb. Will be softer and less chewy.

When in North America an AP flour is fine. Might need a bit less water, I'd have thought, than strong bread flour.

In other parts of the world it's more defined as cake flour or bread flour without the AP step in between. We don't have an equivalent. Well not in the UK anyway. To make AP flour one could mix in some plain into strong bread flour.

RodMcF's picture
RodMcF

Thanks for the explanation. Indeed, the book is for there American market first, and the UK and other markets second. I'll stick with strong bread flour : )

Lechem's picture
Lechem

will be just fine. Enjoy!

emmsf's picture
emmsf

 it really isn't unusual for artisan breads to use flour that is not quite as strong as traditional bread flour.    I would still want to use a high-quality AP flour. Or you might consider using Gold Medal bread flour, which used to be called Harvest King  and is somewhere between traditional strong bread flour and AP. 

RodMcF's picture
RodMcF

Thanks - nothing like experimenting to get the best results

Mr. Waffles's picture
Mr. Waffles

A key to understanding French breads is that the French had very poor quality wheat, until the late 19th century. All traditional French breads that used wheat flour used low protein flour -- the equivalent of pastry flour. From brioche to baguettes, they were all done with pastry flour.

However, it's important to remember that they were also using freshly milled and bolted flour, which behaves differently than store-bought pastry flour. Fresh soft white (pastry) wheat behaves more like store-bought 65% AP / 35% pastry. And I know because I mill my own and hand-bolt it, but when I'm lazy, that's the equivalent I go for.

If you're making any of those Larousse recipes, definitely stick to what they suggest or get edgy and work in some pastry flour for a more authentic experience. But never use bread flour for classic French breads. Bread flour is for German, Polish and American breads.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

at 11.2% protein.  Store brand AP flour ie 10% protein in the states and also makes good bread but you have cut the water back and get a less wet dough to get it to work right.  Bread flour is pretty much over kill except for pizza and bagels but you can really crank up the water when using it for bread,