The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Best tasting white flour

ericjs's picture
ericjs

Best tasting white flour

Does anyone have recommendations for a particularly flavorful bread or AP flour? (not whole grain or whole wheat, I'm talking "regular", preferably unbleached, white flour). I understand, of course, that more flavor can be obtained through various additives (like a little whole wheat or rye), or processess (longer ferment, soaker, sourdough, levain, etc), but those things aside and everything being equal, is there a flour anyone finds gives more flavor than other brands?

KansasGirlStuckInMaryland's picture
KansasGirlStuck...

America's Test Kitchen tested and rated flours several years ago and highly recommended the following two flours.


King Arthur Unbleached Enriched All-purpose Flour


Pillsbury Unbleached Enriched All-purpose Flour


 


Quoting from the America's Test Kitchen report on flours -


"Of all the product taste tests Cook's has run, these flour tastings were undoubtedly the most difficult. The differences in flavor between the various versions of the selected recipes were usually extremely subtle. The most obvious differences were often in appearance."


 


It is actually quite a good article as it discusses the different types wheat and flour.  In the recommendations list they describe what the different brands of flour did in the different tests.

Elagins's picture
Elagins

eric, the problem is that wheat is subject to growing conditions that change year in, year out -- some because of natural circumstances like weather, and others because of decisions the grower makes with respect to fertilizers, insecticides, when to harvest and how the grain is treated after harvest.

so while KA and Pillsbury may have had an edge a few years ago, there's no guaranteed that they will have the same edge today. so much depends on so many things: in a sense, it's a lot like wine. the same vineyard will produce very different and distinctive wines from year to year.

the big milling companies are more interested in consistency of performance than they are in coaxing maximum taste out of their grain. they deal with commercial bakers who need predictable performance within a fairly broad set of taste guidelines (since so much of what the commercial guys produce depends on additives and enrichments).

the deeper I get into the flour business, the more i'm attracted to smaller millers, and particularly certified organic producers, who sell untreated flours grown by certified organic growers who care about the quality of their produce.

long-winded response. hope it helps.

Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com

arzajac's picture
arzajac

If you ever find yourseld in Canada, try a bag of Five Roses Never Bleached (all-purpose) flour.  I find that even the Five Roses Bleached all-purpose flour has lots more flavour than any of the U.S. flours that I have tried.


I think Robin Hood is the largest distributer of supermarket flour in Canada and their flour is almost as good as Five Roses.  Still much more flavorful than U.S. flour.


 


 

Barefoot-Baker's picture
Barefoot-Baker

It does depend. Primarily it depends on what is available in your area. There is little to be gained by knowing that a better-tasting flour is available if you can't locate any of it for your baking. Having said that, I find that KA Bread flour is the best-tasting flour I can find locally (Jacksonville, Florida). If I were going to do a large amount of baking I would be tempted to order a 50 lb. bag of General Mills Common Flour (also known as First-Clear). I've used this in the past and it has produced a better-tasting end product than even KA.
Tom

ericjs's picture
ericjs

I'm interested to learn about better flours from other parts of the country too. It's hard to say if the information will be useless, but I'm not adverse to collecting useless knowledge. You never know when I might be in another part of the country or when some local store might decide to stock some oddball flour from elsewhere.


And if some faraway flour is better than most but shipping it is too expensive to be practical for everyday use, it's still valuable to me to have tried it once and expanded my knowledge of what is possible.


Eric

Barefoot-Baker's picture
Barefoot-Baker

Here is a link to a site with a very interesting article about the various types of flour, their names, definition, and descriptions.
Tom

Barefoot-Baker's picture
Barefoot-Baker

I have no idea why, but the URL I included in my last post did not make it, Here it is again:
http://www.cheftalk.com/forums/pastries-baking-general/3340-flour-descriptions-definitions.html
Tom

ericjs's picture
ericjs

Thanks, Tom, good information. I've been reading a few threads here about clear flours, high extractions flours, etc., which sound interesting too. So maybe I should expand my inquiry to include not-quite-white flours that are still closer to white than whole wheat. The golden buffalo flour some people have mentioned sounds particularly intriguing.

Pjacobs's picture
Pjacobs

I recently completed several bakes with several different flours for a bread article I was working on and discovered to my surprise that Wheat Montana's premium white flour with a protein level of 14 percent actually tasted better than some of the other high gluten flours I was using including All Trumps. I also used some of King Arthur's bread flour. None of these flowers flunked the taste test, far from it.But the Wheat Montana premium white AP flour, I thought tasted as good if not better. It was really pretty close, though. I used Peter R's epoxy method with a poolish and a soaker where the soaker spent 24 shours in the fridge while the poolish stayed out on the counter. It all tasted good to me.


Phil

rainwater's picture
rainwater

I'm a loyal fan of King Arthur Flours, but that is because it is available where I live....it works just great!  That being said, if it's flavor you want....."Antimo Caputo" flour is very flavorable.  It's milled in Naples, Italy.  Google it up, and find a place to mail order.  The expense is the only thing that keeps me from using this flour.  It has a noticeable aroma when mixing the dough, and noticeable aroma when baking.....and flavor! Wow!  But alas...it's expensive to mail order, so I use King Arthur......


I just returned from the Ukraine.  The Ukraine is the bread basket of Europe actually.  When I return to the Ukraine, I will be trying using Ukrianian flour for baking.  There is a huge selection of breads in the Ukraine, that I'm not very fond of actually......but......they are starting to bake more "artisanal" loaves, and the transition is interesting.  The ciabatta is good, and I had a rosemary artisanal loaf also that was very good.  The usual Ukrainian bread is flavorful, but not very interesting in it's execution......