The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

KA vs other bread flour

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metropical's picture
metropical

KA vs other bread flour

I made some bialys last week with the last of a bag of KA bread.  Since the market had no KA in stock I bought Harvest King, GMs artisan flour.


Didn't work as well.  Could have been me, but is there a huge difference between the two?

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

King Arthur bread flour is a "strong" flour with a protein content of (if memory serves me) 14%.


King Arthur all-purpose flour is closer in protein content to Gold Medal Harvest King Bread flour (HK has a protein content of 12%; KA all purpose is 11-12%)


I've used KA bread flour, KA all-purpose flour and GM "Harvest King" flour for bread doughs. GM "Harvest King" is my preferred flour for most breads (hearth or pan) that are mostly white flour.


However, for bialys, bagels (and doughs that contain over 30% whole grain or "multi grain" breads), I prefer the white flour to be close to the 14% protein specification.


KA bread flour has gotten far too expensive for me over the past year. I've turned to adding 2 TBS vital wheat gluten flour per pound of GM "Harvest King" to make a flour that performs similarly to (but not quite as well as) KA bread flour. If you chose this alternative, do sift the gluten flour into the bread flour *very thoroughly* before adding it to your wet ingredients.


An earlier post of mine on the uses of vital wheat gluten may be found here (you'll notice I've increased the amount of vital wheat gluten flour per pound of dough since that post)

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Yes, there is a difference.  KA BF has a higher protein count and is milled from hard red spring wheat from the Dakotas.  GM Harvest King gives no info as to the source of their wheat, other than it's a "special blend" of wheat.


I've made sourdough and baguettes with both KA and GM and our personal preference goes to KA. I find there is a enough of a difference in quality and taste to warrant paying a bit more for the KA.


Given recent health issues concerning foreign wheat, I like knowing that my flour is sourced in the U.S.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

You have made me curious about the price of KA.  I am in Wisconsin where a 5 pound bag of KA AP is over $8.00 which is far higher than other flours.  For example Bob's Red Mill is $4.99 for 5 pounds of "Organic" AP flour.


How much are these flours where ever you might be?


Jeff

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Eight bucks for five pounds of flour?  You are being ripped off mightly.   I pay $3.68 for 5# here in the boonies and that price should drop since KA lowered their prices.  It was $2.72 in November 2007, before the wheat shortage (which is now over).


Gads, King Arthur sells five pounds for $4.95 from their website - time it right and you could get free shipping when it's offered.


 


 

crunchy's picture
crunchy

I think you two are talking about two different things. KA conventional flour is between $3 and $5 for a 5 lbs bag (I'm in WI too). KA organic flour, on the other hand, is around $8 even on their website. I personally use KA conventional, since I really can't bring myself to shell out that much for organic flour if I'm going to go through 5 lbs in two weeks.

metropical's picture
metropical

thanks for the explanation.  KA is hit and miss for me locally.  Only 1 m&p has it regularly in the past, but perhaps the bigger chains are starting to carry it at last.  It is a lot more expensive especially compared to the the price of HK or B4B.  KA is normally $5 at the bigger chains (when they have it) and $4 and the larger m&p.  HK on sale is under $2.  But perhaps next time I can't get KA I'll try the gluten augmented HK method, since I always have that on hand.


I like supporting KA as it's a small employee owned biz that sells 100% US source.

gaaarp's picture
gaaarp

I, too, prefer KA flour, both bread and AP, but sometimes have trouble finding it locally.  And when I do, the price can vary widely.  Lately, I have taken to buying it online from the KA website.  If you sign up and give them your e-mail address, they will periodically notify you of free shipping days.  I stock up when they have special offers.  If you order at other times (when they don't have free shipping), a message will show on your screen telling you that you can order $X more without paying additional shipping.  I can generally get a bag or two of flour with my other orders for no additional shipping charge.

Wisecarver's picture
Wisecarver (not verified)

...I prefer KA Bread flour but another flour I do make tasty Bagels with is Hudson Cream (Enriched).
It gives an excellent texture for traditional boiled bagels and its cheap and readily available.
As for prices of KA Bread, around here it costs $3.98 a bag currently.
(Johnson City, TN.)
  Salute,
    Mark

davec's picture
davec

In my area of Northern Virginia, KA flour ranges from a low of $4.69 to a high of $5.99.  We don't have any Walmart grocery stores in our area, so on my Christmas trip to South Carolina and Georgia, I checked out the flour prices in their local Walmart Superstores.  Both of the ones I checked, one in each state, had KA whole wheat and bread flours, and both were under $4.00.  If you have the big Walmarts in your area, it might be worth checking out.


 


Dave

Wisecarver's picture
Wisecarver (not verified)

...The Walmarts in our area never carry KA.
I've been getting mine from Earth Fair and Kroger.
Our local Kroger has a huge International section, love it.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

I was in the store today and double checked.  The KA AP flour iis $8.19/5lb. and it is NOT organic.


Jeff

crunchy's picture
crunchy

Jeff, where in WI are you? I'm in Madison and the local Whole Foods charges 3.99 for 5 lbs of KA AP (not organic, red and white bag) and 4.99 for KA bread (not organic, blue and white bag). If you're not too far, it might be worth a trip.

Yerffej's picture
Yerffej

I am on the Western side of the state and I will definitely check the stores in Madison when I go through there next time.


Jeff