The Fresh Loaf

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unbleached all purpose or high gluten - which should I get?

avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

unbleached all purpose or high gluten - which should I get?

A friend of mine owns a small donut shop and she told me she can get me the unbleached flour which I can't normally find around here in the larger bags.  It's around $18 for 50 lbs.  I can't afford to buy both the all purpose and the high gluten right now.  Mostly what I can find here is bleached.  The unbleached is available at a store around 30 miles from here and runs around $3 for 5 lbs. and I don't know how fresh it is.


Since the purpose of getting this is to keep around a good supply of unbleached flour to bake breads and pizza crusts - which should I get?  The brand is General Mills.


She needs to let her supplier know by 1pm today 7-9-09.  I can always order the next time, but I'd love to get some today.


If someone could advise me on which one to order for the purposes I stated, I would be very grateful.  meanwhile I'll browse thru postings and see if I can find some info on this.


my email address is ssarge@owc.net


Thanks!


Susie


 

avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

I guess I need to add that I can get bleached bread flour at my local Costco.


I am hoping to make Italian breads, Baguettes, and Ciabatta breads.  Those are the things I make most often with the flour.


If I got the regular unbleached flour I can always add gluten? And that way I can use it for other stuff (the flour that is).  Although I don't bake much.  Just pies and occasional cookies.


Would the AP flour also work if I added some whole wheat?


 


I'm reading the posts, but I still haven't found the answer.  I"ll keep reading and hope someone might have a specific answer.


 


thanks again,


Susie

avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

I hear the term spelt flour alot of this site and have no clue what that is.  I guess it's time for google.


I made a loaf of bread this weekend using my "new" flour.  I used 3-1/2 cups of the high gluten and 1/2 cup wheat.  I mixed the dough Friday morning but just refrigerated it.  Took it out Saturday morning.  Let it warm up and rise.  That took several hours but it rose very nicely into a good sized loaf.


I had allowed it to rise on aluminum jelly roll pan lined and floured with parchment paper, then floured the top and covered with a towel.  Baked at my ovens highest temp for about 15 minutes then lowered the temp to about 450.


I thought it was quite chewy, but then again, 4 of my grandsons were here and they are big boys. (foot ball players with huge appetites )  they began devouring the bread before it was cool, so it was kinda soft and hard to cut thru.  Everyone here thought it was great.  If it werent' for the foot long hots dogs and crockpot full of meatballs in bar-b-que sauce - I would have no bread left to take a photo of.


The loaf was about 4-1/2" high at the highest point and about 10-12" diameter.  The perfect size..........


I now have 'in the fridge' to make either today or tomorrow - another loaf, but this time it will be the high gluten/AP mix of 5050 with the same 1/2 cup wheat.


Here are some phtotos of my first try.


The kids were toasting it and putting butter on some of it, and who wouldn't like toast with butter?  My son really like it too.  I sent him home with 20 or so pounds of it so he could experiment.


FYI:  a 50 b bag of flour is easily divided into about 5 2-gallon ziploc freezer storage bags and is very easy to store that way.

Ambimom's picture
Ambimom

The cost of 5-lb bags of unbleached bread flour, all-purpose, whole wheat, etc. (nationally-sold brands from Gold Medal to King Arthur)  at either Walmart or Target varies from $2 to $2.50 in my area.  If you are near either one, check your local prices.  That would be a lot less than the "bargain" of 18 lb bags.

avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

Actually the cost of the General Mills 50LBs is approx $20.  Locally at $2.50 per 5 lbs that would calculate out to $50 for the same amount.  It's restaurant quality flour.  She gets it thru her bakery supplier.  Delivered.  Out here in the sticks that means something!  No driving 35 miles to the store that carries the fresh smaller bags.


:-) Susie

Just Loafin's picture
Just Loafin

Hi -


You stated that you don't bake much... 50 lbs. is a -lot- of flour for someone who doesn't bake much, so hopefully you have some way already planned out to store it until it's used.


AP and Bread flour can be exchanged in recipes fairly easily. A majority of the times one is used over the other for mouth feel. Bread flour is more elastic and chewy, while AP is very soft. For recipes that need the Bread flour for actual structure, then yes, you can add some Vital Wheat Gluten to AP. These occassions would be fairly rare, though...


For the list you provided of breads you will be making, one could certainly argue that you really need to keep both on hand. Which one you would choose to keep in bulk would probably depend on which of those you will make most often.


I'll be honest with you here and say you'd probably be best not ordering 50 lbs. today. You should go buy 5 or 10 lb bags of each and start experimenting to find out which one gets used fastest, and which type of flour satisfies your mouth feel. If you don't bake often, 5 or 10 lbs of each should last you plenty long enough to get in on the next 'cycle' of available bulk purchase through your friend.


That's the best I can offer up... : )  Hope it works out for you!


- Keith

avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

I actually keep my flour in the freezer.  I can split the 50 lbs with my son who also bakes bread.  I usually buy the 25 lbs bags from Costco or Sams and they last me about 6 months.  ( A full freezer is a happy economical freezer )  :-)


 


They use the high gluten flours for their pizza doughs in the restaurant.  My main objective was to get the unbleached.  The 5 lb bags don't seem to last very long around here.


I do appreciate all the input.  I guess I have read things that lead me to believe that my breads might rise a little higher if using a high gluten flour.  Right now, they turn out tasty, but they always seem to flatten out more than I'd like them to regardless of how their handled, folded, etc.


 


Susie


 

avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

One more dumb comment on my part.  I wanted the unbleached for the sake of less chemical intrusion and a healthier flour, but the truth is that when I bake pies - I always use fresh fruit etc, but they are so loaded with other stuff that's not so good for you anyway - that bleached or unbleached probably is a moot point.


This flour will be used more for bread baking than anything and that's what I do most often.  At least once or twice a week.


 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I wouldn't buy that much flour before knowing if it suits your needs. Maybe your friend would sell you some so you can experiment with the types of bread you like to make.


If you decide to get the 50# bag of what ever it is, plan to spend for some bins to keep it sealed. Depending on how much you bake it might take a year to use it up. Personally I wouldn't stock more than I could use in about 90 days.


Hope this helps.


Eric

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

I don't think you should buy a 50# bag, given how little you bake. Your friend should probably be willing to let you buy 5# or 10# at a time from her stock, no?

avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

She actually doesn't use the high gluten in her donut shop.  Her EX uses something in his restaurant, but in these hard times he keeps just enough on hand to take care of his stuff for about a week and I wouldn't want to impose on him.

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

Well, if she uses the medium gluten, take 5-10 pounds of that, and add vital wheat gluten when needed.

avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

She makes donuts in her shop.  I"m sure she uses cake flour.  I guess I never asked.

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

rather than the high gluten. You say

Quote:
I am hoping to make Italian breads, Baguettes, and Ciabatta breads.
. I think the unbleached AP is much more suitable for those kinds of breads than the high gluten.

Fifty pounds is a lot of flour, but the expiration date should be at least a year in the future (just checked a few bags of my bread flour - they were purchased recently and all have expiration dates of at least a year in the future).


Hope you have a good place to store it. However, you're only paying 36 cents a pound. In my area, Gold Medal unbleached AP is about $3.50 for a 5-lb bag (70 cents per lb).

avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

We do alot of gardening.  Freezing is a big thing around here.  We have 2 chest freezers that are huge and 1 upright freezer.


I have always put my flour in the freezer with the exception of  2 5-7 lb sealed containers which I keep in my lower cabinets.  The one on the right turnstyle has bread flour and the one of the left has AP flour. 


I've always done this because of hearing about flour bugs and how they are intrinsic to all flour.  Freezing flour is supposed to prevent episodes of bug hatching.  I don't know if it's true, but I've never had bugs in my flour unless one happened to fly in there when the container was open.  That hasn't happened yet either...:-)


Either that or they're so small I just don't see them.  You don't think that accounts for the higher protein count in bread flour?    (just kidding).


 

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Hi Susie,


Like others I wonder if 50 lbs. might not be too much of a flour you haven't used yet for baking bread. You mention AP and high gluten, isn't there a happy medium, namely bread flour? High gluten flour all by itself is stronger than I think a lot of artisanal bakers would choose for hearth breads. Somewhere between bread flour and AP is where I tend to find the sweet spot, but then some people like chewier bread.


Good luck, and let us know how it worked out!


David

avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

I got the impression from her that this is a type of bread flour.  I guess I'll find out................


 


I suppose if it's too high in gluten - I could do the reverse of enhancing AP flour and mix together some AP with it?  That would reduce the protein?


 


It'll be fun experimenting.  I need to hold a break baking party at my house.

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Edit: I should answer your question first. Yes, mixing a strong flour (high gluten) with a weaker flour (AP) can create a useable bread flour. People experiment a lot with different flours to get a nice mix, that will render dough that is elastic, extensible, and most importantly yields wonderful bread.


The subject of "strength" of flour, i.e. gluten percentage in wheat flours is a bit of a mixed bag. It is possible that the AP flour in question is the right strength for baking bread. Or maybe it will turn out to be on the weak side.


I borrowed a piece of a table from the website of theartisan.net about flour strength. I think it gives a decent picture of the range of gluten percentages in various flour designations. E.g. AP runs from 10% to 11.5%; "bread flour" runs from 11.5% to 12.2%. High gluten on the other hand runs from 13.3% to 14.2%, depending on the "grade" of the flour.


High gluten, in general, I think of as very useful when mixed with non-wheat flours, which contain much less gluten. The table mentions Didier Rosada (highly regarded professional baker and teacher) in connection with an upper limit of 12.5% for hearth breads.


That's why your question about buying 50 lbs. of high-gluten flour gave me pause.


Hope this helps,


David



Hotel and Restaurant (all purpose)

Bread

 

10 to 11.5 protein

 

11.5 to 12.2 protein

No North American flour is an exact equivalent of French type 55 bread flour, and bakers must look carefully for an appropriate flour and make certain adjustments ... Professor Calvel has had great success in North America with both "bread" flours on this lower end of the protein range and also with "all purpose" (hotel and restaurant) flours of above average strength. Significantly, many months of flour testing conducted by Didier Rosada and Tom McMahon at the National Baking Center in Minneapolis corroborates this, for 12.5% appears to be the maximum percentage of protein desirable for hearth breads. Much work remains to be done, and artisan bread movement has begun to spark an interest on the part of mills to produce appropriate flours.

Premium High Gluten

Medium High Gluten

 

13.8 to 14.2 protein

13.3 to 13.7 protein

The high gluten flours are too high in gluten despite Professor Calvel's mention of stronger flour for certain recipes.
avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

Thanks for the great info!  I'm not sure how I'll know what the protein content is.  That information is not always readily available on the packaging.  If it turns out to be high, what would anyone recommend as a proportion of this particular flour to all purpose?  would equal parts reduce it to 50% and so on using a percentage of high gluten flour to AP?


 


If I add whole wheat flour to the mix, what does that do to the overall protein content?

Soundman's picture
Soundman

I'd like to think the miller or supplier would know the gluten percentage, because most millers are aware that bakers are concerned about this. (I use a lot of King Arthur's products, and they are quite specific about protein content.)


Assuming you have bought your flour, I would bake some bread with the flour as is to start. If you use a recipe with a middle-of-the-road hydration level (ratio of water to total flour), 65% or so, you should be able to tell from the feel of the dough (after it's risen once) whether the flour is strong, weak, or just right. If the dough turns out difficult to stretch, it's overly strong and needs to be balanced with some AP. If it's super stretchy and doesn't pull back after stretching, it's on the weak side, and will benefit from mixing with some stronger flour, bread flour for example, or possibly high-gluten. Of course if it's right in the middle, it's good to go as is.


Lots of people add whole wheat to bread (white) flour. Other whole grains as well. You can mix white and whole wheat flour in varying percentages, or use 100% whole wheat if you like. Whole wheat of course includes (in principle at least) all the bran and germ that are sifted out of white flour. Since the gluten in flour is in the endosperm (white part), whole wheat will have a slightly lower gluten content compared to the white flour made from the same grain. (The bran and germ include protein, it's just not the gluten kind.) 


The inclusion of whole grain flours (including whole wheat) can alter the dough's rising capacity, to varying extents depending on the percentage of whole grain flour used. Some people prefer all the nutritional benefits of the whole grain and don't mind a denser loaf. Bran particles tend to be sharp objects, and can cut into the gluten strands, which is why the dough's rising ability will be diminished.


Hey, bake some bread and let us know how it comes out! Take some pictures.


Good luck,


David

avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

I did get the flour.  No info on the bag.  I did a search on the GM site and found one tht is described the same, but has a different "part" number.  It claims to be a tad over 14%  (14.2% I think).


I just mixed up some dough for tomorrow using 3-1/2 cups of the high gluten flour and 1/2 cup of whole wheat.


You're description of the dough was very helpful.  I'm relatively new at this so I hadn't given much thought to the "stretch" in the dough, but that makes alot of sense now.


Not wanting to impose on my friend, I had posted the question here but she was most likely going to place the order before I got an answer.  I told her that if she didn't hear from me, to go ahead and order the highl gluten thinking it was the GM bread flour.  I now know they make a specific bread flour which is somewhere around 12%.


The next time I have her order some flour, I'll give her the item number from the GM site.


 


Meanwhile - 50 lbs of high gluten flour........hmmmmmm


I mixed a batch of that with some AP flour  approx 50-50 and I'll see how that works.  My son is going to take a bunch of the flour home with him.


What does one typically make with high gluten flour?  I think I saw bagels mentioned?  He does do bagels.  I don't.


I'll be sure to keep posting as I learn a bit more about how to use this flour.  I'll know better next time.


all of the input from everyone is VERY helpful.


Susie


 


 

Soundman's picture
Soundman

You're on the right track with your 50-50 mixture, I suspect. Get a feel for the dough you made with this mixture. If it stretched nicely, you can use this combo just fine in the future. The thing about high gluten is, it's a lot of protein. Protein is relatively tough stuff. All by itself, high gluten flour makes a chewy loaf. (And high-gluten flour also absorbs more water, so you may need to adjust your recipes for this flour.) Some people like this texture, and you may as well. Let your experimentation begin!


You can also use your new flour to good effect with any whole grain flour you want, especially if you make a 50% whole wheat for example. (Rye, I should mention, is a very different animal from wheat, and you probably want to get a little experience under your belt before you try high-percentage rye.) You can try your flour mixed with 10% rye and 20% spelt, for example. (I love that combination.) Balance it with some AP flour and you'll get nice loaves.


I better leave the bagel question to more experienced bagel bakers.


Good luck, and let us see some pix of your bread!


David

avatrx1's picture
avatrx1
avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

Ok, seems like the step that's missing is the one that says, after clicking the browse button and selecting the photo, then you have to click on the PICTURE that comes up.  just clicking the filename isn't enough.  One I clicked on the actual photo - it put the filename in the browse box and then I hit insert and it put the photo in my post.


WHEW.  I was really beginning to think I was going brain dead.!


 

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

One way to add more pics is to upload them for free onto ImageShack. Copy the link they give you (the top one), then paste that here. In front of the link type [img], and after the link type [/img]. Make sure there are no typos, no space between this code and the beginning and end of the link, and note that there's a slash "/" in the 2nd one but not the first.

avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

Here goes nothing.  I have the "how to" on one monitor and this site on the other.  Let 's see if I can post the other 2 photos of my bread. I"m not optimistic.  It shows the photo on the site, but when I click insert, the box closes and the photo goes away.  does it take a long time for the photo to show up in the post?  at the bottom of my screen is says "transferring date from cdn1.eyewonder.com. but nothing seems to be happening...........................

Dragonbones's picture
Dragonbones

I find ImageShack easier; give it a try and see what you think.


The bread looks nice. How's the mouth feel of the crust? And the crumb? Are they quite chewy? Overly chewy?

avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

The crust  was a little hard, so I just basted it with some soft butter.  I knew the kids would be after it, so I didn't let it just sit and cool like I should have.  because of that, I can't give you an accurate crust report nor can I give you a good crumb report.  When the kids aren't here, I allow it time to cool.  This got devoured warm.


basting the top with butter made for a very soft crust as you can imagine.  I thought it was kinda chewy, but my son didn't think so.


Overall I wasn't disappointed in the outcome, but I'll be curious now as to how this next batch comes out.  I probably won't have time today to do anything with it, but it's refrigerated and I can assume the flavors will improve the longer it's refrigerated?

Soundman's picture
Soundman

Your bread looks great! Nice holey texture.


David

Beverly Whipple's picture
Beverly Whipple

Susie, I use to buy both Gold Metal  unbleached all purpose flour from a bakery I worked in and also All Trumps  or Remarkable High glutten flour too. I think they were unbleached too. If you make mostly bread I'd get the high glutten and if you can ,unbleached High glutten. To me it definatly makes a difference in the height and fluffyness and shelf life of the breads. I have used the high glutten for cakes, pies and other things just because I had it, and like you,, I make mostly bread now. The cakes or pie do better with all purpose or even cake flour, but I buy a small amount to have on hand for the other because the breads is what I make most.


  The bakery used High Glutten for all they're breads plus what ever grains the kind of bread had..wheat, oats, rye..but they often added Vital Wheat Glutten also depending on how much of the other grains with low or not much glutten had in them.


  If you can find All Trumps unbleached High Glutten or Remarkable unbleached High glutten at the donut shop it is very nice.Its worth it to me and I do get the 50 pound bags from Sysco.   Beverly

avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

Hi Beverly,


The product I have is the All Trumps, unbleached - high gluten flour.  It cost me $18 for the 50 lb bags.


I have about 20 lbs of it in the freezer and another 10 lbs of it mixed with approx 50% AP flour upstairs to "play" with.  I sent my son home with the rest.


I was not disappointed with my first result using all High Trumps (but did add 1/2 C wheat flour) , and I just did another loaf using the 50/50 mixture. (also included the 1/2 C Wheat flour. 3-1/2 c of the 50/50 mix - 1/2 c wheat flour - 1/4 tsp yeast - 1-1/2 tsp salt and 2+ cups water.  I didn't want to bake in the heat so my dough sat in the fridge for a couple of days.


I didn't get the same rise with the most recent batch.  I don't know if I need more yeast?


Susie


 

Beverly Whipple's picture
Beverly Whipple

Hello Susie, I have noticed if you keep dough in the refregerator too long it doesn't do as well, even if you let it get to room temp. after. The bakery I worked in for a short time had a fire near it once. They had a lot of dough made up but had to get all there things out of the building in case theres also caught on fire.


  The dough rose and after a while they gave it to people. We made it the next day. Someone said the yeast can use or " eat" up its sugar supply in the dough and it kind of needs more to rise well again. I don't know if thats true, but dough I've had too long in the fridg. or shelf doesn't do as well as if you bake it after two or three rises. Over night in the fridg seems ok but two days may be too long .


 I love All Trumps flour for bread. I mix it with fresh ground Prarie Gold Whole Wheat flour in different amounts or oats, or 7 grain depending on what kind of loaf I want and also add Vital Wheat glutten if there are a good percentage of the other grains.     


Beverly

avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

THanks for the info.  I guess that makes sense that yeast gets eaten up.  at least after reading all the info on making starters.  However - the "bread in five minutes" counts on being able to keep your dough in the fridge for a week or so.  I'll have to look up the yeast content in that dough.  I'm sure it's much higher than 1/4 tsp.


I sent my son home with about 20 lbs of the flour and he called yesterday to report success on making some foccacia.  He was happy with the outcome.  He only baked half of his recipe yeserday.  He's going to make the rest of it today.  He didn't seem to think it was too chewy or tough.


The high gluten does seem to give leeway to using other grains mixed in without having to worry too much about it not having enough gluten.  that's always a good thing.


thanks for your input!


-Susie

Beverly Whipple's picture
Beverly Whipple

I never heard that the yeast got used up or eaten up but I have heard that the sugar or what ever food they're using to rise well could.

avatrx1's picture
avatrx1

Beverly,


Good point.  Maybe I misread......hmmmm


I've been so focused on the starter thing, that it's entirely possible I'm wrong.  Now to look that up.  Perhaps the yeast just dies without food?  that would seem to make more sense.  hence the feedings on a regular basis.


-Susie