The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

King Arthur flour - why use it?

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Barmaley's picture
Barmaley

King Arthur flour - why use it?

In many posts authors refer to KA flour. Why - what is so special about it? Can Wegmans/Gold Medal/WalMart brands replace it?

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

If you use the search box at the left of the screen you'll find those many posts and many answers to your questions. To make a long story short, people use it, including me, because they find it to be the best flour they can buy. I use it because I have a choice of either Gold Medal or KA and I find that KA is better for my money most of the time. It isn't really that much more expensive, about .75 per bag, and my results are always more consistent.

tabasco's picture
tabasco

 


I use King Arthur even though it costs a little more because I get consistent results. When I was switching around buying 'what's on sale' I was coming up with all kinds of results.  I especially love their White Whole Wheat for getting my family to eat whole grains.


But a couple of points to add to the discussion:


(1) 'Cook's Illustrated' did a comparison of several brands of flour and both King Arthur and Gold Medal were recommended for those who "keep just one flour in the pantry'.  Those were the only two recommended in that category. http://www.cooksillustrated.com/tastetests/overview.asp?docid=9804


(2) Somebody mentioned the Canadian brand, Robin Hood flour.  Somebody else mentioned the 'southern' brand White Lily (I use this for biscuits).  Just wanted to say those two brands are owned by Smuckers of Orroville Ohio (yes, the jelly people).  They own about 6 different brands of flours including the two mentioned above and Pillsbury, Martha White (another southern flour), some commercial flour brands, and 3 brands in Canada. Smuckers is traded on the stock exchange but the original family still runs the company.  If you are ever around north east Ohio you can stop at the Factory store and pick up most of their products.


(I don't work for Smuckers or own their stock, but I think it's an interesting company.)


(3) Also, our Walmart has a big selection of KA products and good prices.  Much more than our Kroger's.  (Although I buy mine at a family owned store and pay more for the priviledge.)


Happy baking.  J.


 


 

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

with less expensive alternatives available.  I use it because of the consistent performance.  King Arthur does not mill their own flour.  They buy it from mills.  They buy it based on their own specifications for protein content, ash content, moisture content, etc.  If the flour does not meet their specifications, they do not buy it.  That makes their flours very consistent as to quality and specifications.  That consistency makes them very consistent for me as to performance.  That reliability allows them to charge (most of the time) a price premium over the next competitor's brand, and get it form those of us willing to pay for it.  If you watch for sales, you can actually get KAF flours for less than the other more common brand names at times.


King Arthur is not the only good flour out there, and there are many bakers that are successful with flours other than KAF, Guisto's, and other premium brands.  You will find differences, and you can learn to compensate.  I find that with KAF I do not need to make so many compensations, and can count on consistent results. Your mileage may vary, but it's your final decision.  In any event, happy baking!


OldWoodenSpoon

pattyfermenty's picture
pattyfermenty

my guess is that consistency would be greatest when you are milling your own flour rather than having other people do it. are you saying the opposite?

sphealey's picture
sphealey

=== my guess is that consistency would be greatest when you are milling your own flour rather than having other people do it. are you saying the opposite? ===


Large-scale industrial production processes can be incredibly consistent if that is a desired outcome, more so than lower volume processes.   Just speaking in general (since I don't have any knowledge about King Arthur's production) it would make sense for a craft manufacturer's in-house production to be less consistent than that which they outsource to a large commercial firm (I think this is pretty much the case for microbreweries that contract out their best sellers, too).


sPh

tattooedtonka's picture
tattooedtonka

King Arthur Flour....Ive used Gold Medal, as well as Hodgson Mills flours.  Both are good flours, I still use some Gold Medal types for certain pastries.  KA to me is a bread bakers flour.  The company puts a lot of effort into bread, where GM puts alot into cookies and pies.


I went up to KA a while back in VT and they have a very nice place, as well as a bread bakers school.  Their Bakery director is Certified Master Baker Jeffrey Hamelman.  Yep, the guy who has some of the coolest bread books out there.



So yep, you could use any good flour and make an exceptional bread.  My results are always better with KA flour so thats what I stick with.


TT

flournwater's picture
flournwater

King Arthur's unbleached bread flour is 12.7% protein.  Gold Medal's unbleached bread flour is 10% protein. That puts KA flour a whopping 30% higher in protein than the Gold Medal product.  The protein in flour produces gluten when it gets wet; that makes your dough elastic and provides structure.  The higher the protein the better structure you can expect.  Cake flour, for example, will run about six to eight percent protein.  That would not make a very good bread.


Even though many commercial flour products are labeled "bread flour", if their protein content is below 10% they don't work very well for bread.  KA's 12.7% protein does an excellent job of producing a chewy bread that is sure to please.


That said, I don't use KA flour.  I regularly use Pillsbury bleached AP flour (it's roughly 10% protein) and I find it works very well, especially for slack dough formulas.  I get it on sale at about half the cost of KA flour so it saves me a significant amount of money which, in these difficult times, helps me stretch my budget.  KA flour runs a bit over $4 for a five pound bag and I buy the Pillsbury AP for $2 and there is no shipping charge. 


Be wary of flour made from soft winter wheat.  It typically has about 8% protein and makes a pitiful loaf of bread.


When you're comparing protein percentages all you need to do is Google the brand name of the flour (e.g. Wegmans flour) along with the word "nuitrition" and you'll usually come up with the nuitritional information that's printed on the label.  You'll have to do a bit of math to calculate the percentage of protein per gram (a "cup" is not a cup the world round  -  some might be 4.5 ounces, others 4.2 ounces, etc.) but it's not that difficult.


 

varda's picture
varda

If I look on the label of KA bread flour, I see serving size is 30 grams and protein is 4.   If I divide 4 by 30 I get .13333...   or 13.3333 percent.   What am I missing?   A lot of rounding on their part?  For instance, 3.6/30=12. Where did you get the 12.7% which I am sure I've seen elsewhere.   Thanks,  Varda.

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Yes, rounding is the issue. That 4 grams of protein could actually be 3.5 grams, 4.4 grams, or anything in between.


Suffice it to say that only the manufacturers, or those with the wherewithall to analyze the flour, know the precise percentage of protein.

Edith Pilaf's picture
Edith Pilaf

With lean breads, I notice a difference in taste.  Baguettes, including sourdough baguettes, made with white all purpose flour, taste better with KAF.  It's not a huge difference, but enough to justify the extra $1.50 for a 5lb bag.   But that's about the only time I use KAF.  With enriched breads, I don't notice any taste difference.  However, I don't use any store brand all purpose flour for bread because of the low protein content. 


And for whole wheat, I like stone-ground hard spring wheat, no particular brand.  But that does eliminate store brands and even Gold Medal. 


I discovered the difference in quality in brands of flour when I switched to a lower quality (cheaper) flour to feed my sourdough.  It didn't look or feel the same.  It was thin and weak, even though I used the same amount of flour.


 


 

tikidoc's picture
tikidoc

If you bake enough to make it worth it, consider finding an outlet that sells 50 pound bags.  I got a 50 pound bag of King Arthur Sir Lancelot flour for about $28.  Sir Lancelot is their highest protein bread flour (14.2%) and make great thin crust pizza, crusty breads, and bagels.

Jessica Weissman's picture
Jessica Weissman

I've been trying to find such a place near Baltimore or Washington DC, with no luck.  Any hints?

Gardenwife's picture
Gardenwife

I want to find KAF in bulk, too. I'm in central Ohio, near Columbus.


An aside: How is Robin Hood flour? A local Mennonite bulk foods store with a great baking area carries this. I've never used it.


 

dantortorici's picture
dantortorici

At what kind of outlet do you find King Arthur flours in bulk? Is this a King Arthur store?

jleung's picture
jleung

I regularly buy 25-lb bags of King Arthur all-purpose flour at Costco Wholesale for $12.75, or $0.51/lb.

Barmaley's picture
Barmaley

Thank you everyone very much for your informative advice. This is a wonderful forum with so many knowledgable people. But you guys are not only knowledgeble, but also convinsing. I used to buy all the flours but KA becouse of price. I found that sugar is cheaper in a store brand but tastes the same. I thought the the flour is the same.


BTW, I thound a wholesale store which sells 50LB bags of everything baking. I understand that KA does not grow or mill - they just market. Will it be fare to say that I should not look for brand but for content of the flour first? I understant that for bread the more protein the better. Are there other thing I need to look in the flour?  

labgrrl's picture
labgrrl

I am a very dedicated KAF user, and in one recipe (a three ingredient shortbread) it is the only flour I will use.


However, for general bread baking, I find really no appreciable difference at all between Wegmans' FYFGA (yellow banner) All-Purpose and KAF All-Purpose. The Wegmans is slightly lower in protein (Depending on the source you read, it's either 10% or 11.5%). Since I mostly use All-Purpose flours as a mix-in with harder flours, it doesn't really affect anything. My family can't tell the difference at all.


I mostly use KAF's Organic All-Purpose these days, which is much more expensive than the Wegmans yellow All purpose, and way more pricy than the wegmans regular Ap flour, so I tend to use the KAF in recipes where it really matters, and the wegmans in other recipes, just in case I have dodgy results.  


If the AP is less than 1/2 the flour in the recipe, I doubt you will see any difference at all.


However, I have unacceptable results with Gold Medal and with non-Wegmans store brand.


A new store recently opened near my house and Gold Medal was their sole flour, and when I tried it in a recipe I make all the time even my 17yr old boy, who will eat everything, said it tasted "off."


So, I'd give Wegmans an A, and KAF (both Organic and non) an A, and Gold Medal a big flaming F, but the Wegmans A is like a 93% to the KAF's 100%.


 


BTW, found this blog because I follow KAF on Twitter, and you've made them feel warm and squishy inside.


 


 

Gardenwife's picture
Gardenwife

They do not mill their own, but they have exacting standards and only buy flour that meets them. So, it is very consistent in quality from batch to batch. Look further up in this thread for more info.


It's similar to premium coffee shops who get first pick of bean crops and buy the best. Lesser roaster get what's passed over.

sphealey's picture
sphealey

=== [King Arthur] They do not mill their own ===


Based on my discussions with King Arthur customer service over the nut contamination issue, my understanding is that KA still mill some of their products - basically the low-volume specialty items - in their own mill, but that they contract out the bulk milling of the AP, Bread Flour, etc.  That's why KA AP, for example, generally does NOT carry a nut contamination warning, but their specialty products mostly do.


sPh

Gardenwife's picture
Gardenwife

Where other than Cosco do you find it in bulk? We don't have a membership there. Does anyone know if they carry it at Sam's Club? My parents have a membership at that store.


I am a KAF devotee as well. I love their white whole wheat flour, substituting it for all-purpose flour in many recipes. I appreciate how the recipes at their site can be converted to weighed measurements with one click of the mouse. Their customer service is terrific, too. They go the extra mile to connect with people and have terrific tutorials at their website.

OldWoodenSpoon's picture
OldWoodenSpoon

I find the best King Arthur Flour selection in the market closest to my home, an independent supplied by IGA (Independent Grocers Alliance [I think]).  They have it all.  They also have the highest prices, and ask as much as $5.79 for a 5# bag.  It is also available locally from Safeway Stores, Raley's Market and SMART Foods, but they only have the All Purpose, Bread and Whole Wheat (Red and White both).  


All of these offer sales from time to time, however.  Just yesterday I "cashed in" a rain check at Safeway for 30# (6 - 5# bags) of KAF All Purpose for $3.99/bag, and I have a couple of weeks left to pick up 4 bags of their bread flour at the same price.  On sale, without shipping, there can be some excellent prices available, especially around the holidays.


I think the Costco availability varies by area.  Our local Costco only carries ConAgra flours.  I've never seen King Arthur, Gold Medal, or any other brand for that matter.  I'm not in there very often, so perhaps I just miss the opportunities.


OldWoodenSpoon

Barmaley's picture
Barmaley

What can be said about WalMart flour? They sell it for 99C for 5LB, the same as Wegmans on sale. What about ShopRite brand?

flournwater's picture
flournwater

I believe Gold Medal is the source for WalMart flour.  But that doesn't tell us much about what the protein level might be without a personal examination of the label.  Shoprite flour (Arrowhead Mills?) figures out to be about 8% protein.

makrma4's picture
makrma4

I'm a firm believer in using local produce, so having the privilege of living in wheat-producing Kansas I buy a locally milled flour, Hudson Cream, produced in Stafford, Kansas.  I've used different types of KA, but I think the Hudson Cream performs just as well and is significantly less expensive for me.  I use about 10 lbs of flour a week and KA would be a stretch for my pocketbook.  Hudson Cream is sold in several states, and they do have mail order.  http://www.hudsoncream.com.  Disclaimer:  I don't work for Hudson Cream, I just really like their flour!  Hope you find something that works for you!

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

I feel the same way about White Lily flours, sold primarily in the southeast. I recently stocked up on 10 5# bags of their bread flour at $1.49 each. The lowest sale price for KA around here is usually $3.79. I believe I may have seen it once for $3.49 since I began baking(about 9 months).


Awfully hard to justify spending that price difference, especially for what is probably just as good a flour.


I do try to buy a bag of KA every now and then though because they are a great company, with a fantastic web site for a wealth of recipes and baking knowledge.


 

lguinn's picture
lguinn

I am a committed KAF fan.  I've been making whole grain breads for years, and using KAF makes far better loaves than any other flour ever.  


While I am grateful that I can afford it, I'd love to be able to buy larger quantities cheaper and locally.  Any sources or group buying clubs?


I also love the speciality KAF flours - First Clear flour is very interesting; try it instead of bread flour in a few recipes.


If I didn't live on the West Coast, I'd have to visit KAF!

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

When my wife and I flew to Massachusetts to visit my parents during the Christmas holiday, we took a drive up to the KAF store. I knew I was in trouble because everybody that was coming out of the store had large paper sacks of purchases.


The store interior is really attractive and you'll find a lot more there than what you see in the catalog. Just about every customer had a buzzing sound emanating from their heads, probably the mental cash registers adding up the costs of what they wanted to take home. They a demonstration counter that had some stollen and a fine cake for samples. There was a rack full of breads and cookies ready to stock the counters that was giving me the envious shakes.


They have a coffee bar and a cooler of juices to go along with some of the baked goods for sale. There was fresh sourdough starter too.


I managed to restrain my Visa card and escaped after buying a KAF apron. As I started to head out, I asked the cashier for directions to Jasper Murdock's Ale House (worth stopping there for lunch or dinner) and Jeff Hamelman, whom I hadn't noticed, ended up giving me directions.


Yeah, if you're in the neighborhood, it's a fun visit.

dghdctr's picture
dghdctr

Hello,


KA's AP (which is 11.7% protein -- all hard winter wheat) and "Bread Flour" (12.7% protein -- all hard spring wheat) both can make great bread when used appropriately.  Other flours can, too.  KA's specs are much tighter on the origins of the wheat, its protein levels, its ash level, its enzyme levels (falling number), and its mixing characteristics.  KA publishes their specifications publicly online -- not many others do.  Most other milling houses are at least somewhat less stringent with their specs, and you can see somewhat more variation in baking characteristics with their flours over time.


If KA only accepts the flour that fits tighter specs, with less variation in baking characteristics, they have to pay more for it.  So we pay more for it.  But what you're buying is reasonable assurance that your dough will come out the same way, nearly every time, allowing for variations in weather or differences in the way you mix one dough or another.


KA flour does not assure you that your bread will be great every time.   Quality has more to do with knowledge of the craft than the flour used, generally.  But -- all else being equal, KA just provides a consistent, more predictable product.  Not always necessarily better or worse.  Just consistent.


--Dan DiMuzio

Barmaley's picture
Barmaley

On avarage grain cost about $200 per ton. It translates into  9 C per pound. No matter what consistancy one adds to celecting the grains it should not bring the price to 1$ per pound.  The ONLY reason that the price is unreasonably high is that we, the customers are ready to accept it.

flournwater's picture
flournwater

I haven't built a business model for grinding flour but I suspect that when you factor in raw grain storage, inspection, milling, labor, packaging, shipping, insurance, taxes, etc. the production/distribution price per pound begins to rise rather sharply.  It might be interesting to run the numbers, all of them, and see just what the markup is.

labgrrl's picture
labgrrl

...For me, the FACT that KAF is made in the USA, from US wheat, milled in US facilities, sold by an employee-owned company means that, a-yeah, my flour is also paying someone's health insurance, salary, insurance on the mills and grain elevators in case they explode (which, well, is not that uncommon,) and more.


Since I personally like having my own employers provide health insurance, a safe workplace and the like, I'd be a hypocrite to expect flour sold based on the cost of wheat alone and still expect to be treated like I add value to my products/services at my own company, huh?


For me, there is a moral level to it as well. It's a good product that is paying for my neighbor's livlihoods (from what I understand, quite literally, as some KAF AP is milled in the giant grain mills right here,) and not filling up the pockets of someone in a country with no environmental standards, or someone employing children, or who knows what.


Flour is a value-added product. That means the consistancy, quality, even packaging, can mean more that just wheat.


 

Matt H's picture
Matt H

I'm glad you mentioned this... One reason to support them is that they're an awesome employee-owned company.


And who else can you call and get baking advice? For free? Instantaneously? I never have called, but I think it's cool knowing I could! :)


Of course, being from Rochester, NY, the home of Wegmans, they put many of my friends through college. Also a good company.

Barmaley's picture
Barmaley

This is so just theoretically, in practice it is not workers who get rich. For example, I was exporting beer from Russia. I paid 18C per bottle (0.5 Litre) in St. Petersburg, it was sold here at $2 retail. So, 18 cents went to workers insurance, wages, technology developement, quality control etc. I was geetting more per bottle than the factory, not even workers at it.


Another example: Dutch Volley Foods - a reseller of King Arthur Flour Sir Galahad Artisan (Unbleached All Purpose) 50lb (142056) charges $15 for 50 Lb. That is AFTER adding his profit for storage etc. It translates into $1.50 per 5 lb pack. They are getting it already packed - it will not explode!


Cabbage at the field sold at 8-12 C per pound. Is it fare price 79C at


Wais supermarket? BTW, cabbage does not explode loke flour!  


I think, people in general are veru gullable, or just don't bother. KA flour should NOT cost $5.79 for 5 lb at the ShopRite! I will call it ShopWring!


P.S. BTW, how come the same ShopRight sell Beef Bottom Round for 99C per pound? Just wondering...

curvyrivergal's picture
curvyrivergal

even for beginners...such as myself. I am an accidental devotee. KA flours are available in my local supermarket, and I was seduced by the label. Made in USA, employee owned company, organic. I have been baking my own sourdough bread for only 2 weeks from an "Amish" Friendship Bread starter. I had to feed the thing. It is like a pet. I did not want to keep baking sweet loaves, or give it to any "friends", so I found a recipe for a basic bread made from starter without added yeast. I have only used KAF, and my bread is turning out amazingly good. I am impressed with how knowledgeable everyone seems to be about the science and the cost/benefits of various flours.:) Thanks everyone.

Prairie19's picture
Prairie19

Dakota Maid Bread Flour (www.ndmill.com) has always worked well for me.  I started baking sourdough about 3 years ago and have had consistently good results with this flour.  Availability might be a problem though, I know of only one retail grocer that sells it in my area (Madison, WI).  I don't know how extensively it is distributed.  Has anyone else used it?  Prairie19

RiverWalker's picture
RiverWalker

so I recently got a bag of KA Whole Wheat flour, was a little more expensive, but less of a markup for the 5lb bag than the white flours, and it was on "sale" (I don't normally go to that store, so not sure if its really a sale or not)


After using it twice, I find it to be substantially softer and smoother, compared to the Gold Medal and similar "regular" WW flour, that seemed to have more coarse, chaff-y parts.  maybe its just how its milled or whatever but it seems quite nice to work with for me.


taste wise it seems to be nicer too, a little richer.  gonna have to try a 100% WW with it but even at 50% WW the difference seems kinda nice.


overall it just seems to have a better feel to it, I think.


I hope I can find a place to get larger bags of KA flours from.  if the fancy bread flours people mention here are as much better-feeling/seeming than the common grocery store stuff like gold medal, that would be awesome.


 

Matt H's picture
Matt H

I haven't had much luck making 100% whole wheat loaves from the King Arthur Stone Ground in the brown and red bag.


It's not chaff that you're seeing in the flour; it's bran. The conventional wisdom is that too much coarsely milled bran, with its sharp edges, can slice through gluten strands and prevent your bread from developing a proper loft.


Indeed, that was my experience with the KA whole wheat; I made some real hockey pucks. Great flavor, lousy texture. I've had more luck with the store brand whole wheat at Whole Foods and a brand called Stone Buhr that is easy to find on the west coast. I believe they are machine milled by steel roller presses and so they are a finer grind.


Since then, I've learned a few techniques that might help though, such as passing the flour through a sieve to extract some of the bran (save it for your breakfast cereal or to top rolls), and using a "soaker" which might soften the bran enough to tame it and prevent it from slicing up the gluten.


That said, probably my finest loaf is a massive boule of Pain Levain from the KA cookbook using their flours. From the first time I made it, I was simply stunned at how good it was. (The fact that the recipe spans 5 pages and walks you through the process step-by-step is a real help too.)

RiverWalker's picture
RiverWalker

yeah, I figured thats what it was, but I couldn't remember which part was called what that I thought it was. but you know what I meant anyhow.


I had heard that about the bran cutting the gluten, and I've blamed some problems with WW loaves on that.


still new to this sophistimakated bread making stuff, and your experience leads to a question I had about some of these "better" flours.  something or other I read said how at least SOME flours are spiked with barley malt powder or whatever its called, to help it have the enzymes and all that, more, or at all, or something.  if your flour doesn't already have that (and how do you know for sure? I don't remember seeing it on the ingredients or anything) do you NEED to add it yourself, or is it just better to or??    I also wonder sometimes about the best uses of wheat gluten for stuff like that.


I have the whole grains, all purpose, and cookie KA cookbooks on order from the library, so I may just be patient for those to get in and see what that says before I try a 100% WW one.


 


 


 

saraugie's picture
saraugie

Yesterday when I first saw the box my order from KAF came in, I noticed the bottom corner smashed a bit I thought "Oh Oh," when opening the box I'd say there was about 3 ounces  all over the place.  The goods should have been sandwiched between cushioning materials, there was none on the bottom just the bags of flour on the bottom panel.  Remember the Samsonite gorilla commercial handling luggage ?  I wrote yesterday about 3:00 PM HI time, this morning they answered within 1 hour of their opening time informing me they had already ordered replacement for the damaged goods.  .

wally's picture
wally

At the risk of stepping into a mini-controversy about flour prices, I buy my KA Sir Galahad (retail marketed in stores as their AP flour) from a local restaurant that uses it.  I pay $23 for a 50# bag, which comes out to $.46/lb - considerably less than supermarket prices.


If you can handle 50# bags, my advice as far as KA is to go to a local eatery or bakery you frequent and see if they'd be willing to order a bag for you from time to time.  Even if they use another brand, they probably still have access to KA through their wholesale dealer.


Larry

Niashi's picture
Niashi

I also prefer King Arthur flour. Although I am just a beginner in the world of bread, I agree with consistent results. Also, my sourdough starter really just LOVES the stuff, it responds better to KAF.


 


When King Arthur is not available (Which happens from time to time) I use a local brand called Stone Buhr. There's actually a blog where a woman did comparisons of various flours. Stone Buhr (which I was using on regular basis already) had great results, up there with King Arthur.

saraugie's picture
saraugie


100% organic all-purpose flour 11.8%


 


Traditional 100% whole wheat 14.2%


 


100% organic white whole wheat 14.4%


 


Unbleached white whole wheat 13.2%


 


Unbleached all-purpose flour 11.7%


 


Organic baker’s classic bread flour 12.7%


 


Organic high-gluten flour 14.0%


 


Sir Lancelot unbleached high-gluten flour 14.2%


 


Queen Guinevere cake flour 7%


 


Unbleached pastry flour 8.0%


 


Unbleached Cake flour  9.4


 


European-style flours (French-style flour) 11.5%


 


European-style flours (Italian-style flour) 8.5%


 


European-style artisan bread flour 11.7%


 


Irish-style wholemeal flour 10.00%


 


First clear flour 15.3%


saraugie's picture
saraugie

What's the difference between cake and pastry flour ?  And BTW, the unbleached cake flour is a mix.

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Cake flour is a little lower in protein. Cake flour is around 8%, pastry around 9%.


A little video I "edited" up this past weekend:


http://picasaweb.google.com/burn1cesharpe/ATKRollsAndLoaves#5454222156213267490


If the video is fuzzy, click on "view HQ video" on top right of player.


Giv e Bridgett a pass on not explaining the "finger poke" test fully.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi


Generally a cake flour would have a smaller particle size; ie it's been ground finer.


The purpose of this is to allow for greater water [liquid] absorption.


This results in more significant starch damage.


Once the protein level is this low, it ceases to be that significant, unless the mixing process is carried out badly.   But a cake batter has to take up a lot of water, whereas a paste formula employs a relatively small amount of liquid.


Try making bread with each of these types of flour.   A half decent result can be achieved with a pastry/biscuit flour.   the cake flour produces a dough that is "spent"  almost immediately.   Starch damage is so high that the enzymes break down the starch to sugar very rapidly, and the yeasts feed off this straightaway.   Final bread is terrible.


Best wishes


Andy

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

Thank you "K" "A"


http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes2008/grains.html#wheat


Round Table Pastry Flour

Round Table Pastry Flour is an unbleached, soft white flour made from New York state wheat with a protein of about 9%. It can be used as is to make tender cakes and pastry (because it is not bleached, cakes made from this flour won't rise quite as high and the texture won't be as light). It can be used in conjunction with unbleached all-purpose flour to make French-type breads such as baguettes (soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside) that have the characteristics of both flours. By combining the two in various proportions, you can create a protein that will produce the kind of texture you want in whatever you are baking.


Queen Guinevere Cake Flour

Queen Guinevere Cake Flour is milled from soft red wheat, is about 8% protein, and is bleached, because bleaching, in effect, "toughens" the starch so that it can carry significantly more sugar and fat than it could otherwise. As a result, this flour produces cakes that are very light, for those who prefer this type of cake.


Best wishes

saraugie's picture
saraugie

"Cake flour is a little lower in protein. Cake flour is around 8%, pastry around 9%."


But look at the chart and I verified today with KAF



Unbleached pastry flour 8.0%


Unbleached Cake flour  9.4


 


 

saraugie's picture
saraugie


 


 

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi


Just to clarify, I didn't dispute that the KA cake flour had a slightly lower protein level than the pastry flour; I simply said that was  not that significant when the protein is that low.


I note from the really useful info from KA above, that the cake flour is bleached.   This is much more significant as this denatures the protein, as well as adding to the high ratio properties which I was trying to draw attention to by discussing particle size and starch damage.


Re-reading Saraugie's information suggesting cake flour has the higher protein read this would be my suggestion why:


It is quite common to use a proportion of high protein flour in cakes to support dried fruit and nuts, especially cherry cake.   If the flour has been bleached, then this will de-nature the protein levels anyway.   As I originally said, I'm not sure the protein level is the most significant factor at play here.


It is very interesting that conflicting information is apparently being published, however!


Best wishes


Andy

saraugie's picture
saraugie

"I note from the really useful info from KA above, that the cake flour is bleached."


The bleached (QG) cake flour is 7% the unbleached cake flour jumps to 9.4%, and to get it unbleached it is a mix of flours.  I just made a recipe which called for cake flour in both the crumb topping and the bottom cake part.  I had a little QG flour left and used it for the crumb topping and then the bottom is the their new unbleached cake flour.  I bet I will NOT taste a difference, I wonder if anyone really can?   I do like the idea of less chemicals going into my body.

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Saraugie,


Use of chlorine gas to bleach the flour has been banned here in the UK.


It sent all the confectionery manufacturers spinning at the time.


You probably won't be able to taste the difference.


But think about this from a functional point of view as the commercial people do: the bleached flour allows use of more liquid [ie water!], in conjunction with high sugar [cheap ingredient] and high emulisified fat [again cheap vis-a-vis butter]   This means less egg [expensive ingredient]


So it really is all about cheapening the formula and dumping inferior confectionery on the market.


I'm very much in agreement with you; why would anyone want to consume chemical-laden food?


Best wishes


Andy

The Yakima Kid's picture
The Yakima Kid

OK. I've tried King Arthur and quite a few other brands of flour. My favorite is still Stone-Buhr bread flour, the flour I have baked with for about forty years when I can get it. I really like the way the gluten develops, and how I can produce that perfect baby's bottom texture every time I knead. It is also more consistent in how much water it requires per cup of flour.

I use the King Arthur white whole wheat since my husband doesn't like red wheat whole wheat flours.