The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How do I find out the properties of my oganic flour?

DrPr's picture

How do I find out the properties of my oganic flour?

I was so excited to find organic, locally produced whole wheat flour that I bought it before considering that I don't know how to determine whether it is suitable as-is for sourdough baking.  The seller didn't know much about protein or gluten content (and I didn't know enough to ask the right questions, I'm sure). How can I test the flour before baking to determine whether I need to add anything to it? And what would I need to add, if this flour doesn't have the properties of bread flour?

Kuret's picture

If you have a bread that you bake regulary so that you are familiar with how the dough should feel then make that recipe and correct water/flour until you get desired feel.

I would dare to say that your flour will work perfectly well in a <50% WW bread as your bread flour will help rise. But in 100% WW you will probably have to test it to find out.

yozzause's picture

There is a gluten test that can be done , from memory and i am going back about 40 years you take say 100g of your flour and work it into a pliable and developed dough no other ingrediants required you then place that dough piece into a bucket of water

after a period (and i will look it up from my old tech college notes) several hours anyway you proceed to wash out the starch content eventually you will be left with a brown/ grey coloured rubbery mass GLUTEN 

you can then weigh this and determine the percentage of gluten.

It' is all starting to come back  now , you also need to measure the water i think, i will post details tomorrow when i find those notes !  

regards Yozza

yozzause's picture

Gluten Test

i found the old technical studies work book  so here it is

8 ozs flour

4 +3/4 ozs water

make a suitable dough

cover with water for 1 hour, then wash away the starch from the gluten

when the starch has been washed away you will be left with the gluten,

2ozs of wet gluten = weak flour

2+1/2 ozs wet gluten = medium flour

2 +3/4 ozs wet gluten = strong flour

We used to get wet gluten as a byproduct from a starch manufacturer and add it to wholemeal doughs.

if you do the gluten test you can add it to your next dough, it keeps very well in the fridge under water or a slight saline solution.

regards yozza  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Thanks Yozza!  Been looking for a link to this info in our Archives and couldn't locate it.  I remember testing flour in China in 2006 but I was using metric weights.  Same process:  mix up a dough ball and remove the starch to leave the gluten.  Very handy when one can't read the labels or when dealing with unmarked flour!  Your table is easier so I converted.  Hope you don't mind.

Your directions with Metric:

114g flour  +  65g water    make a well kneaded dough ball

Let stand one hour in water and gently wash away the starch, weigh remaining gluten ball.

28g wet gluten = weak flour

35g wet gluten = medium flour

39g wet gluten = strong flour

DrPr's picture

Thank you so much, both of you, for this wonderful information!!

DrPr's picture

Oh- I'd better ensure that I understand protein and gluten as they apply to bread flour.  Does "strong" flour/high gluten = high protein?