The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Gold Medal Bread Flour??

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LindyD's picture
LindyD

Gold Medal Bread Flour??

While at the box-mart this weekend, I took my usual saunter down the flour aisle. There was not a single 5# package of Harvest King bread flour on display. Instead, there was a full shelf of 5# bags of flour labeled Gold Medal Bread Flour.

I checked the Gold Medal website and saw no product labeled "Gold Medal Bread Flour." Only the Harvest King brand is displayed.

I did send GM an email asking about the brand, but am now wondering if this is a regional thing related to a particular box store or a precusor of moving Harvest King off the consumer shelves. Harvest King was also absent from our local grocery store.

 

 

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

A check of the Gold Medal web site shows the only bread flour there is their "Better For Bread Harvest King."  This is popular enough, I can't imagine them discontinuing it.

 

However, it is worth noting that General Mills owns both Gold Medal and Pillsbury.  The last time I was at the store I saw some Pillsbury Bread Flour next to the Better For Bread Harvest King for the first time.  In one store, the Pillsbury was 10 cents cheaper than the Gold Medal, in another it was about 12 cents higher.

 

It isn't clear what General Mills wants to do with the two brands.  I suspect they want to maintain the brands because of people's brand loyalty, but they don't really like have two sets of production facilities.... so my cynical side suspects the flours in the bags will be very, very similar.  No proof there, and no accusations... just suspicions. 

 

You might ask your grocer where the flour you prefer went.  You might phrase it that way, even it if itsn't your preferred flour.

 

Mike

 

GrapevineTXoldaccount's picture
GrapevineTXolda...

at the local WallyWorld and I did a double-take.  I'm wondering if it is new packaging and an attempt to show a 'lower' price?  Please keep us posted on what you learn from the manufacturer.

Thanks.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Will definitely try to track down someone at the store who can explain why Harvest King is absent from the shelves, Mike. Perhaps I'll get an answer from General Mills. I just find it odd to see a product sold that isn't even acknowledged on the manufactuer's website product list.

More interesting was my visit today to a small store here which buys discontinued goods for resale at deep discounts. There were four 5# bags of Harvest King BF on their shelf (expiration date of October 2009) marked down to $1.99/bag. Couldn't pass up that price.

 

 

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

Gold Medal Better for Bread and Harvest King, and have had for a while. The product isn't anything new.

GrapevineTXoldaccount's picture
GrapevineTXolda...

The labeling isn't the 'Better for Bread', but simply, "Gold Medal Bread Flour"...I think that is what caught my eye...I really did do a double-take when I saw it.  It's not exclusively fancy, but rather simple by design; that is how it caught my attention.  The GMBD was no where to be found in my local Wally's, but this new branding was in full display. 

:)

suave's picture
suave

As far as I can tell we've always had both kinds sold locally, moreover, last time I went shopping they had two different kinds of Better for Bread bags, usual green and yellow.

Mike

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I finally received a reply from General Mills to my Harvest King/Gold Medal Bread Flour questions:

GOLD MEDAL HARVEST KING

BETTER for BREAD UNBLEACHED WHITE FLOUR

Harvest King flour is different than Gold Medal Better for Bread
flour, and is designed to perform even better for today's wide variety
of bread types.

Originally created for and only available to professional bakers,
Harvest King flour is 100% hard winter wheat, perfect for Artisan
breads, and all types of yeast baking. It is specially designed to be
able to absorb moisture well and provide the dough with the perfect
balance of strength and tolerance required for the longer, cooler
fermentations required for some breads.

To use Harvest King in your recipes, substitute cup for cup in recipes
calling for all-purpose or whole wheat flours. The flour is also
suitable for quick breads, muffins and cookies but less suitable for
cakes and pastries.

We hope this information is helpful and that you will continue to
choose our products.

Sincerely,
Jeana Fortuno
Consumer Services

Unfortunately she did not state what type of wheat is used in the GM Bread Flour. And I wonder why the wheat source is not listed on the HK bag. No idea what's going on locally, but the Harvest King is back on the shelves at Wal-Mart but only GM Bread Flour at our local supermarket. No matter, I'm good for a few months of starter refreshment thanks to the find of the really cheap HK.

 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Yesterday I was in a Walmart Super Store and noticed that there was a new Yellow bag on the shelf. It looks like the marketing folks must have decided that a drab Green bag wasn't eye catching enough. The yellow jumps off the shelf and is marked Better for Bread. There were bags of the old bag design behind in the stock. Here in the Milwaukee area it was selling for $2.69 for a 5# bag. After re-reading the post above I took some pictures of both bags and compared the print on both bags. The nutritional panels are identical. The telling item is that General Mills has used the same product bar code on on both bags as you can see. I'd say they think it's the same product. 

There was plenty of rye and Whole Wheat available.

The last 50# bag of All Trumps I bought was $40. The HK adds up to just $27 for the same quantity and it's easily as good a product IMHO.

Eric
Harvest King?
Harvest King?
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sphealey's picture
sphealey

Per Rose Levy it is the same flour.

sPh

Luber's picture
Luber

it was in the green/beige bag, it didn't say "Better for Bread" - it said artisan flour - in use I found it to be very much like KA-AP, similar to what we'd call straight flour in the bakery; great for hearth loaves, as advertised. Previously I'd gotten their greenish-yellow bags of "Better For Bread" which was different, more like KA bread flour, or fancy patent as the bakers would say - a lighter, more tender texture, but still fairly high gluten - the perfect flour for a classic American white pan bread, also good for sweet doughs.

Then the B4B (patent) flour in the greenish-yellow bags dissappeared, and they added the phrase "B4B" to the Harvest King bag - very confusing. I wrote them and asked what was up, and they confirmed that the HK with the B4B logo was the same as HK, and the original B4B (patent) was discontinued. My experience confirms that HK (B4B) = HK in texture.

This was late last year; I was hoping when I saw this thread that they had reincarnated the patent flour, and would have both kinds on the shelf, but judging from the posts so far, it looks like they just finally usurped the B4B label and it's all HK now. Has anyone baked with the new yellow bag and compared the results to the HK?

ehanner's picture
ehanner

As far as I can tell they are the same product and the company says so as well. HK or better for bread is my daily regular flour for artisan style breads, yeasted and SD alike. Priced to sell and much like the stuff KA sells for way more.

Eric

kitchenqueen's picture
kitchenqueen

You need hard Montana red wheat.  Common flour (soft wheat) is cheaper because they can grow an extra crop a year.  Bob's Red Mill is reliable, but if you want to shop around for so-called "bread flours", check the ingredients.  If you see the cheap filler, barley, WALK AWAY.

gary.turner's picture
gary.turner

I wouldn't call barley a cheap filler. It's about 18%, or more, higher than wheat on the commodities market. Barley is not added to the flour as a filler, but as a supplier of enzymes.

cheers,

gary

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

Malted barley flour, which is what is shown on those two bags above, costs $2.70 at Bob's Red Mill.  Organic unbleached white flour costs $1.42 at Bob's Red Mill.  Bob's Red Mill has the following to say about malted barley flour.

"Malted Barley Flour, also known as Diastatic Malt, improves the flavor and appearance of yeast breads. Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon for every 3 cups of flour in your favorite bread recipe to give the loaves a slightly sweet flavor and moist texture. Malted Barley Flour also prolongs the shelf life of baked goods."

 

kitchenqueen's picture
kitchenqueen

O.K., mea culpa.  I just bought a 5 lb. bag of Bob's Red Mill unbleached white flour at Fred Meyers for $3.99, checked the ingredients, and it indeed has some barley in it.  I guess I never looked past the front label, which declares #1 grade hard wheat flour.  I used to get my flour directly from the baker at Rosauers, which was great.  I do not like the results I get with Gold Medal Bread flour.  Maybe it depends on what you're after.  I'm Italian and make a very simple rustic loaf in the tradition of my grandmother.  Back in the day, she used to use Occidental Brand flour, which is no longer available.  I'd be curious to know more about that old brand.

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

Malted barley flour is different from plain barley flour.  Malted barley is barley that has begun to sprout, then been heated under controlled conditions until it is dry again.  It contains maximal enzymes for converting starch to sugar, which is vital to brewers and valuable to bakers.  In the case of brewers, a large fraction of the grain is malted because brewers want to convert all of the starch to sugar for making alcohol.  Bakers just want to convert some, so the yeast have plenty to eat.  That is why Bob's Red Mill suggests using only a little bit in the flour.  Enzymes in whole wheat will also do this, but the more refined a flour is the less enzymes there are present.