The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bob's Red Mill VS King Arthur

00lewis00's picture

Bob's Red Mill VS King Arthur

I have been baking for only a short time, and things are going well.  I live near Bob's Red Mill, and am interested in using their products.  So far I have been using King Arthur Bread Flour for the high gluten part of my dough.  I am curious if anyone has had experience using the BRM Organic Unbleached flour.  They say it is very high gluten, up to 18%, but it does not have the barley flour added to it.  Does that make a difference?  I think I read that the barley gives the yeast a boost.  Does the dough rise well without the barley flour?  Thanks.


mcs's picture

Having lived in VT and living now in MT, I went from King Arthur country to Bob's Red Mill country (and Wheat Montana).  I think Bob's products are on par with King Arthur's in every category.  I couldn't give you a direct comparison between exact flour types since I never had both brands of flours at the same time, but the quality of both companies is very high.  I've used the BRM Organic Unbleached flour as a direct substitute for AP flour and it worked well and didn't have issues without the barley flour.


proth5's picture

Barley malt is used to correct the "Falling Number" which is a measure of alpha amylase action in the flour.  This is the enzyme that breaks down starch, so proper amylase action is essential to a good rise (giving a boost to the yeast).

However, if the Falling Number of the flour is within the correct range, there is no need to correct it - which is what Mark has experienced with the BRM flour.

I messed about with malt in my home milled flour and have decided I can do just fine without messing with it.

In general, KA flours are held to tighter tolerances for things like protein and falling number  etc. than their counterparts.  That doesn't mean that the flours are better, just more consistent.  When you come down to it, it is the care that the miller applies that makes the difference. 

Hope this helps.


Wisecarver's picture
Wisecarver (not verified)

Both are great companies but I especially admire the community support and envolvement from King Arthur Flour so I support their products for the most part but I do purchase some specialty bags from RM. All good.
btw, the Dough mat from King Arthur is worth 5 times what they sell it for.
Which happens to be on sale right now for under $30! Sweet  ;-)

charbono's picture

From what I've seen, Bob's has a "Best By" date two years out, whereas King Arthur sets a date one year out.


mhjoseph's picture

I've been using BRM Unbleached White Flour (not the organic) since KA's prices skyrocketed. There's deep discount store in my area that sells 5lb bags for $2.58.

I'm very happy with the results, I see no difference between it and KA AP.


xaipete's picture

I've never used BRM, but the other day I did notice that it costs a lot less than KA--KA bread flour is running me between 5.95 and 6.95 per 5 pounds. I think the BRM was in the 3.50 range. I'm going to give BRM a try as a result of reading your post. Thanks, --Pamela

LindyD's picture

Pamela, you can buy five pounds of KA bread flour for $4.95 directly from King Arthur.  It would make sense to watch for their next free-shipping campaign and stock up then.


xaipete's picture

Thanks for the info. I didn't know that they had free-shipping campaigns. --Pamela

Wisecarver's picture
Wisecarver (not verified)

...Here in Johnson City TN we do not have mainstream products, the largest communities are only about 50,000 people per city, with the largest city being Knoxville, about 90 miles from here.

What I find shopping around is the common price for King Arthur Bread Flour going for $3.99 for 5 pound bags, at grocery stores, but I also find it at other stores close-by for $6.99 on the same bags. I do buy it for less than 3.99 at Earth Fare, which just opened a store here, finally!  :-)

Within a one mile radius 3.99 to 6.99, no fault of KA, just local costs it seems.
  All the best,

ivyb's picture

Anyone here try BJ's or Costco or Sams Club?  I was bemoaning that KAF went up in price at bj's till I saw what it costs in a supermarket.  I now pay $6.49 for a 10 lb. bag. of KAF's all purpose.  It goes around $6.00 for a 5 lb. bag in a local supermarket, more in a "gourmet" store. 




Wisecarver's picture
Wisecarver (not verified)

...Last week my wife brought home a 25 pound bag of Bakers & Chefs Bread flour from Sam's Club, cost was $8 and I expected problems with it for that low of a price but after making French Bread, Pizzas and Bagels with it everything was great.
I still can hardly believe such a good 25 pound bag of malted Bread flour is going for just $8.

xaipete's picture

Next time I'm at Costco, I'll look and see if they sell bread flour. It seems like 25 pounds would be the amount to purchase if you want to get a good price break.


ivy b's picture
ivy b

Hi Pamela and Wisecarver,

I got the KAF all purpose at BJ's, I use it for everything; That $8.00 bag for 25 lbs sounds wonderful as well.... will have to ask around at work for anyone who belongs to Sam's Club -



bdc1989's picture

I use both with good results and buy whichever is cheaper.  However, Costco in Reno started carrying Central Milliing Co. organic unbleached white flour in a 2-10lb. pack. I don't recall the exact price but much cheaper than either KA or BRM at my local stores.

gdog's picture

I've tried both Bob's and KA side by side. Due to the fact that I live about 20 miles from Bob's Corporate Headquarters (also where they mill their flours) I am very sorry to say I get consistently better results with King Arthur.

I can buy BRM for $2.50 per 5 pound bag. I pay $3.97 for a 5 pound bag of KA at Target. I step up, spend the extra money, and buy KA. I use a number of Bob's products and like them, but when it comes to bread flours I have found that KA makes a superior loaf.

I wish it weren't so, but that's what I've found from personal experience.

zes02010's picture

Directed to gdog and anyone else who's used both:

Have you noticed KA Bread Flour (unbleached) produces a very hard texture, compared to which BRM White Flour (unbleached) dough is soft and light? That's been my experience and I'd love some confirmation.

KAF breads achieve harder crusts and crumbs; not brittle or crumbling, just strong to the point of toughness. With BRM, I have trouble even achieving a hard crust, let alone interior, which has come out beautifully strong and soft for me, very tensile. They both taste fine (compared to Gold Medal's or Pillsbury's unbleached or 'better for bread'), but I think BRM has a slightly wheatier, more balanced flavor. I'm going to try to mix them and get the best of both worlds.

zes02010's picture

To clarify, these experiences have been with high hydration naturally-leavened rustic breads, in the Tartine family, though I don't usually make Tartine bread exactly.