The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Flour FAQ

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Flour FAQ

Can I substitute some (or all) of the white flour in this recipe with whole wheat flour?

Yes, always.

If you want to keep the characteristics of the original recipe but just have a little more whole grain flavor, I recommend starting by substituting no more than 25% of the white flour (by weight) with whole grain flour.  if that isn't sufficiently whole grainy for you, you can add more next time.

What should I expect if I do substitute whole wheat flour for white flour?

It certainly is harder to get a fluffy, light loaf when you use whole wheat flour, so expect it to be denser. The bran in the flour also works likes little razor blades, cutting through the gluten strands, so don't expect to get as open a crumb.  

What is the difference between bread flour and all-purpose flour?

Bread flour (also known as strong flour) is higher in protein than regular all-purpose flour. Using it can lead to better gluten development, but it also creates a tougher dough.

And soft flour? Cake flour? Type 55 flour? 

Soft flour is close to what is called cake flour in the United States. It is lower in protein and creates a softer, crumbly crumb.  It doesn't tend to be strong enough for most bread recipes, though it is great for cakes and quick breads.

Type 55 flour, which is often used for French baguettes, is fairly close to American all-purpose flour.

Comments

RuthY's picture
RuthY

Hi everyone! I just found this site and it looks great! I just got a wondermill and would like to learn how to bake with fresh-ground flour.  Is anyone else into that?

KarenC's picture
KarenC

KarenC

I too just got a Nutrimill and also orderd who grains. I have tried using soft white wheat, ground fine in some recipes that I've always made and my results are not great. Things seem to be "oiler" and a bit salty. Does freshly milled grain have more oil and a saltier flavor than the all-purpose flour I'm accustomed to using? I tried making rolled southern dumplings. The dough seemed much moister than before, I added a little more flour. After cutting them and adding them to the broth, rather than cook as usual, they simply 'melted' into the broth. Good flavor, though. Can anyone help me?

Thanks

finallyhome's picture
finallyhome

Karen,


From all I have read you must use hard red wheat or hard white wheat to have enough gluten to produce yeasted bread. I have just recently found a great book on using all whole grains The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book. It is like having a great friend right there to give you all the little details to make you have a good chance at success. I have two loaves of Honey wheat in the oven right now : )


 


Julie

finallyhome's picture
finallyhome

Hi,


I too have a Wondermill and love it. Set the dial on pastry for the finest flour which seems to work the best in breads whether yeasted or not. If you do large beans or corn use the coarse setting. I have made some great cornbread with fresh ground corn and soft wheat flour. I posted a great book (The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book) that I have recently found after working with whole grain flour for close to a year and having o.k. success. Now my bread turns out with a nice rise, great crust and evenly airy. I highly recommend the book if you truly want to master whlole grain breads. I haven't found any other books that don't tell you that you must add some white flour to turn out a loaf.


 


Julie

re4mdmom's picture
re4mdmom

I am but have failed to make even one successful loaf of bread so far.  Care to share any secrets because right now I'm close to giving up.

Paddyscake's picture
Paddyscake

Hi Re4..What type of bread have you tried making?

whudmamasay's picture
whudmamasay

I have made 2 or 3 dozen loaves with home ground flour and all have been terribly disappointing. I have, in fact, given up. I suspect that most home mills are not able to grind the wheat fine enough. It could also be that in commercial mills the wheat is cracked or coarsely ground and then sifted, the endosperm ground into flour, and then the bran added back to make whole wheat flour. After reading Peter Reinhart's whole wheat book I also wondered if the enzymatic activity of freshly ground flour affects the outcome. Anyway, I'm done with grinding my own flour for the forseeable future.

CarolineNH's picture
CarolineNH

Here's my bread recipe:


3 cups of hard white wheat, 1/2 cup hard red; grind.


In bread machine:


1 cup + 1 TBSP water


3/4 cup measure with one egg in it; fill the rest with water, add all to bread machine.


1/4 cup local honey


1/3 cup + 1 TBSP olive oil


Add flour to bread machine


2 tsp salt


1 (slightly heaping) TBSP instant yeast (I use bulk-purchased SAF)


I run the bread machine on "Dough" setting for mix and first rise.  When it beeps, I take it out, divide into two loaves, knead and shape, put each batch into a loaf pan to rise in my oven.  [Note:  I have a gas oven, which stays at a constant 98 degrees or so because of the pilot light]


 


I let it rise for 45 minutes, then bake for 30 minutes.


 


Feel free to adjust for your own mixing and baking methods, but the basic recipe should work.  You might have to fine-tune amounts of oil and water to account for your area of the country, and seasonal humidity, etc.


 

lleeme's picture
lleeme

What temperature do you set the oven at?


Thanks,


Lynn

ejm's picture
ejm

Because of the honey content, I'd be inclined to preheat to 400F and then immediately turn it down to 375F just after putting the bread in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes then turn it around (to account for uneven oven heat). If the loaf seems quite dark already, then I'd turn the temperature down to 350F. (I've found that bread with sugar in it WANTS to burn.)


-Elizabeth

ejm's picture
ejm

in re: What is the difference between bread flour and all-purpose flour?


I am in Canada; the unbleached allpurpose flour I use is 11.52% protein. I seem to recall reading somewhere that protein levels on allpurpose flour in the US can vary from state to state.


I made bread using "allpurpose" wholewheat flour at around 11.52% and it just didn't rise all that well.. I now use is whole wheat flour that is around 14% protein (I believe that is closer to "bread flour"?)


Canadian cake and pastry flour is around 9%??? protein. (I don't have any cake flour so can't check.)



I have read that it is much better to use unbleached flour but know from experience that bleached flour can be used to make good bread. However, I suspect that if bread made with unbleached flour and bread made with bleached flour were tasted side by side, the unbleached flour bread would be superior.


-Elizabeth


P.S. I was interested to read the following in wikipedia



In biscuit manufacturing, chlorination of flour is used to control the spread – treated flour reduces the spread and provides a tighter surface


(excerpt from Wikipedia: flour bleaching agent)



As far as I know, chlorination in flour is disallowed in Europe....


 


 

tjkoko's picture
tjkoko
ejm's picture
ejm

The article at www.pastryitems.com/baking_information.htm is no doubt useful but it's a bit UScentric....


-Elizabeth


P.S. <rant>I am always amazed when maps make it appear that the continental US is completely surrounded by ocean (ie: Mexico and Canada are not there even in faded outline)</rant>

tjkoko's picture
tjkoko

EJM, why don't you provide us some information concerning Canadian grown wheat as I don't think that it's sold here in America.  Huh?  Oh and please excuse the daylights out of me for ever having provided the link in the first place.  Perhaps I should have embarked on a worldwide investigation of all wheat types and not just the stuff sold here in America. And screw your rant. 8( 

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, tjkoko.


Your half-baked message to Elizabeth would have benefitted from more time in the oven at a cooler temperature. Remember to cool your posts thoroughly before slicing. 


David

ejm's picture
ejm

Oh dear, I hadn't intended to offend with my comment about the pastryitems.com link! And rereading what I wrote, I do see that it looks a bit snot-nosed. (I still maintain that the map does look a bit ridiculous, especially when one considers that Canada grows a tremendous amount of the world's wheat.)


And if you'll scroll up, you'll see that I did post the percentage levels of the wheat flours readily available in supermarkets in Canada, along with links to wikipedia articles on various flours.


I did a little more sleuthing and am really surprised to learn that it's very likely that the whole wheat flour I buy is probably not 100% whole wheat:



In Canada, when wheat is milled to make flour, the parts of the grain are usually separated and then are recombined to make specific types of flour, such as whole wheat, whole grain, white cake and pastry flour, and all purpose white flour. If all parts of the kernel are used in the same relative proportions as they exist in the original kernel, then the flour is considered whole grain.


Under the Food and Drug Regulations, up to 5% of the kernel can be removed to help reduce rancidity and prolong the shelf life of whole wheat flour. The portion of the kernel that is removed for this purpose contains much of the germ and some of the bran. If this portion of the kernel has been removed, the flour would no longer be considered whole grain. [...] As sold in Canada, whole wheat flour may have much of the germ removed. Therefore, 100% whole wheat bread may not be whole grain. [...] Many foods containing whole grains will have the words "whole grain" followed by the name of the grain as one of the first ingredients. Products labelled with the words "multigrain," and "organic" are not necessarily whole grain - the flour or grains in the products may be made with or consist of little or no whole grains.


(excerpt from Health Canada: Whole Grains - Get the Facts)



-Elizabeth


P.S. Loved the cooling tip, David!


edit:
P.P.S. Shouldn't they have cut the Great Lakes in half on the pastryitems.com map too? ;-) <-- I hate to have to include the sideways winking face, but under the circumstances feel it's necessary.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

When I looked at the map to see what all the fuss was about, I noticed that it appears my state (Michigan) is making a lewd gesture.  Naughty graphics person, whoever it was.

ecalara's picture
ecalara

hello everyone,


 


apologies if this question was answered elsewhere previously, but how do you prevent your dough from becoming excessively sticky?  i've tried making my own bread just once now and think that it might be that i haven't mixed it long enough.  i occasionally added a bit of flour to dust and de-stickify the dough but it just gets real sticky again after awhile..  maybe i need to knead it more?  any help would be greatly appreciated.. thanks!


 


-ecalara

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, ecalara.


Welcome to TFL!


Some doughs are normally sticky, and some aren't. With the former, the question is how to handle them, not how to change them.


If you post the recipe for the bread you tried to make, we can provide the specific  information you need to handle it.


Happy baking!


David

mcdonar's picture
mcdonar

I am trying to get a baseline for weighing flour.  King Arthur indicates a cup of their AP flour weighs 4.25 ounces.  In the book Artisan bread in 5 minutes they indicate a cup of AP flour should weigh 5 ounces.  Am I reading these right or did I miss interpret something.

ejm's picture
ejm

It depends on the size of the cup and how much the flour is packed....

According to the Gourmet Sleuth calculator, a US cup (240ml) of all-purpose flour weighs 4.5oz/127g (a Cdn cup (250ml) of all-purpose flour weighs 4.7oz/133gm)

On TraditionalOven.com Flour Amounts Conversion Calculator calculator a US cup of AP weighs 4.4oz/125gm

On OnlineConversion.com (Weight to Volume Cooking Converter) a US cup of AP weighs 3.5oz/100gm

On JoyofBaking.com a US cup of AP weighs 4.6oz/130gm

All but one of those are within the same region of each other. (I'd be disinclined to use the OnlineConversion.com calculation) It probably doesn't matter a tremendous amount which calculation you use - unless you're trying to produce exactly the same loaf every time.

-Elizabeth

P.S. A while back, I did some very unscientific weighing of half-cup measures of unbleached AP flour. The side of the bag stated the following: ½ c (120ml) unbleached allpurpose flour = 66 gm

(on my scale: 70gm using 'fluff-spoon-level' OR 80gm using 'fluff-scoop-level' methods of putting unbleached allpurpose flour in the cup)