The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

GM New Organic AP and Croissants

ehanner's picture
ehanner

GM New Organic AP and Croissants

I was in Walmart last week and noticed a new green bag on the shelf next to the bright yellow Bread Flour from Gold Medal. It could be that this isn't a new offering from GM but it's the first time I have seen the Green package. I thought I would try a bag and see how it like it compared to other AP flours I use. First, the price made me take a second look. It was priced at $4.74 for a 5 pound bag. The Bread flour next to it is $2.65.


I have been wanting to make a batch of croissants so I thought his would be a good recipe to try my new organic AP on. A better test for me will be a French bread since I'm struggling with my laminated dough skills. Next time. Some people use a stronger flour for croissants than AP. I like the tender crumb I get from the AP. I used SteveB's recipe and procedure which I have enjoyed for some time. My croissants don't look any where as good as Steves or Larry's or Andy's and probably everyone else but they are delicious! Every time I make these  I swear I'm going to buy a sheeter even if I have to put it in the garage.





Proofing after 1st egg wash, under the cover. These half sheet covers are just terrific for these.



After 1st egg wash



A little crowded for good browning:>(



A small sample with my name on it :>)



Reasonable crumb and very nice flavor!

Comments

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Eric,


You don't need a laminator, as your hand skills are just great.   However, if you want to turn them out for your local Farmers' Market, a pastry brake [as we call it in the UK] is a great machine!!!


Great colouration, but I'm seeing something really significant in why you bake on a lower heat.   I think you have too many of these delicious fellows on one sheet.   It could be the photograph, but they look too cramped together, and have almost joined up in the baking.   As it looks from the photo, I would only 9 croissants on that tray; 3 rows of 3.   The spacing is very significant.   It could be that the photo is deceptive.


On the flour; our Nutritional Info [UK] generally gives 100g serving, which is really useful as that means amounts are in %.   I can't read what the serving is on the back of the pack you photgraph so wonderfully.   I'm thinking the protein level is about 10.5 - 11%.   That is only ever a guide, however.   What I'd be pretty certain of is that the protein will be typical of most North American flour and be of the highest quality.   If you were facing up to using UK flour of equivalent strength, the protein content would most likely be of a lower quality.   But for character, there is, as you well know, a lot more to it than that.


It's breakfast time here, and I'm reaching out for one of these delicious pastries


All good wishes


Andy

kolobezka's picture
kolobezka

Hi Andy,


when speakong about the protein content of flour can I just ask how is this  calculated in th UK? Is it based on 14% moisture as in US or is it determined only from dry matter as in France or Germany?


Thanks,


zdenka

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Zdenka,


thanks for the question.


I'm pretty sure we are in line with Europe on this, but am double-checking.


I've found this onour Home Grown Cereals Assoc. website: http://www.hgca.com/publications/documents/varieties/milling_wheat.pdf


Best wishes


Andy

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi zdenka,


This information is all from: Cauvain, S. P., Young, L. S. (2007) The Technology of Breadmaking. 2nd Edition. New York: Springer - Verlag, pp.357 - 369


Seemingly, protein content is "declared on an 'as is' basis, that is as a percentage of all the constituents including the moisture."


It then goes on to explain the disadvantages of this, and the further tests a mill would carry out, by drying out the grain, then re-calculating the protein proportion.


The folllowing illustration is given:


Protein [%]: Dry Matter Basis [dmb]: 10%.   With moisture of 8%: 9.3%.   With moisture of 15%: 8.7%


My expectation is that the moisture level would be assumed to be 14%, when carrying out the initial tests


Hope this clarifies to the full?


BW


Andy 

kolobezka's picture
kolobezka

Thank you Andy.


no problem with maths, it is easy to calculate / convert the two different ways of how the percentage of protein is declared. It seems from you first comment and the attached link that in UK it is based on "dried matter" as in the rest of Europe. Does your second comment relates to this? I quess - as the book was published in NY, that it describes the american standard.


I was just wondering how "strong" is the strongest flour I can get here. It is imported and only available in Tesco (strong organic) and contains 12.6 protein. That would be 10.8 in US.


I really appreciate you help!


zdenka

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi zdenka,


sorry for any confusion.


In spite of it being an American edition, the text is British, and all the information relates to UK practice.


So, commercially our protein is recorded "as is", on arrival at the mill.   Subsequent test are done on the dried grain, as in Europe.


My single best source says that protein, as labelled on the back of retail food bags is as DRIED MATTER, as in Europe.   I'm really sorry if this has caused confusion.


The strongest flours you will find on the Supermarket shelves will be labelled "super-strong", or something like, probably for "Breadmaking Machines"   Both Hovis and Allinson brands are definitely available.


My preferred brand of strong flour is "Carrs Breadmaker Flour"; it is a very high quality flour based on their commercial "Special CC", which is the premium flour I use in College for student work.


Best wishes


Andy

kolobezka's picture
kolobezka

Now your explanation is clear Andy. Thank you very much!


Unfortunately, the flour made for Tesco stores called "Strong" which is imported from UK is the only one with higher protein level one can find here. And it is available only in bigger cities.


Most people here have just used T530, T650, and T1050 for all yeast and sourdough recipes for centuries... but as for protein content it is actualy what in US would be called "cake flour" (9-11% protein in dry matter). But I would just say it is more difficult to work with these flours when you want to follow principles such as decreasing yeast, using whole wheat or whole grains, increase hydration orr make pure sourdough. Nevertheless the result can be very similar to that with very strong flours.


Actually I have now the chance to test some US flours (AP, BF, WWW, WW) and I have almost impression that they just do the work themselves. Very "fool-proof" might be the right adjective.


But really thank you for your suggestions. One day I am in UK I will certainly look for Hoviis or Allinson brand :-)


zdenka

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Zdenka, Hi Andy,


Zdenka - I am also going through the process of trying to calculate the protein content of different flours and assessing how they differ from each other and how U.K. flours might compare in recipes made with U.S. flour.


Could I ask, if you found the maths for calculating protein content with 14% moisture easy, could you give me some pointers? I've tried a range of approaches and can't make it balance. How, for example, did you get from 12.6 protein to 1.8. I worry that without understanding this i won't be able to compare the levels in American flours. I realize there are other differences, between 'harder' and 'softer' flours but would also like to compare the basic numbers.


Also re the Carrs flour - on their site they say they distribute through Tescos but am not sure if that also refers to Tesco CZ?


 


Andy - I remember Carrs! Also I remember you saying how good the Silloth Mill specialist products were. The Marriages is going well - lovely nutty flavour. However before I buy a sack of something I might try some general release Carrs Breakmaker also to see how well it works in longer retardation. Sadly our local Co-op doesn't stock it but may look further afield...


Best wishes to both, Daisy_A

kolobezka's picture
kolobezka

Well, I hope Eric won´t mind this in his blog...


For flour the moisture is 14%, so the dry matter represents 86%


In Europe the protein content declared is for example 12.6% from dry matter. It is measured after the water has been removed (literaly - burnt). So when you add the water back, the quantity of protein remains the same of course, but its concentration will be diluted. That means lower.


12.6% protein ...in... 86% flour


x% protein (less) ... in.... 100% flour


--------------------------------------------


So you have 12.6% from 86% = (12.6 x 86) / 100 = 10.8%


 


As for the "Tesco" flour - the producer is not stated. It only says is made "for Tesco stores" - the package looks like THIS


Is that a little clearer? I may be not a good at teaching, sorry.


zdenka


 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Oops, didn't think about relation to Eric's blog, although it was partly his picture of the side of the flour packet and references to stronger and weaker flours that got me thinking. Thanks Eric!


Thanks for the maths explanation zdenka. It does look clear. I will just go through it until it sinks in...


Thanks for the link to Tesco flour. I can't find anywhere where they declare the producers of their own brand. In the U.K. Tesco seems to sell Carrs as well as its own brand but don't know if it is the same in other countries. Should be fun to try the American flours, though.


Wishing you good baking. Kind regards, Daisy_A

Shiao-Ping's picture
Shiao-Ping

Your croissants look awesome!  Look very delicious to me.


Shiao-Ping 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Thank  you for noticing Shiao-Ping. They are delicious and totally off my diet. But, now and then.


Eric

trailrunner's picture
trailrunner

Eric you have done a masterful job executing these croissant. I noted when I looked at Steve's site that he is not posting since March. His formulas are wonderful and will be missed. I look forward to trying these I haven't made them in decades...time to try again. c

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Thank you for your comments. I have enjoyed Steve's attention to detail in executing some of the most interesting breads of the World. I'm sure it is time consuming to keep up such a beautiful site so I'm not surprised to see him taking a break. The same thing happens here. People come to learn and build skills. After they gain the ability to bake those breads they desire, some back away and monitor which is fine.


Eric

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Andy the serving size is 1/4C or 30g.


Thanks for your comments. Haha you are so subtle. Yes it must be a photographic effect where there are 50% more products than there should be. You know, I had planned on dividing the dough into two. I have the chocolate batons for the Pain au chocolat and want to make some of each. Unfortunately, I was having so much fun cutting triangles that I coasted through the dough without thinking. So I secretly hid 2 sticks of this wonderful chocolate goodness in a couple of the larger shapes.


I should have noted on the baking temperature that I started out at the 375F that Steve uses but at the 5 minute point I recalled that he has a convection oven. So I bumped the oven to 415F. I also added an additional 5 minutes to the time for a total of 25 minutes.


If you look at the image on Steves post on croissants, you see what I consider to be the perfect croissant. You can tell from the crust that it will be crispy and flaky. My effort last night resulted in just so so flakiness. Slightly tough would be my honest appraisal. I love the even golden brown color on his.


My next batch will be using your no sugar formula and full on heat.


Cheers,


Eric

wally's picture
wally

Boy they look plenty flaky to me!  We both need to work on our shaping skills - but given the wonderful product you've created, practice not only makes perfect but makes for many enjoyable breakfasts!


Nice job.


Larry


 

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Larry, I was reading your post where you mention freezing and eating later. When you spritz them and warm them up, you don't thaw them at all first do you?


Eric

wally's picture
wally

Eric, the first time I tried baking fully proofed croissants without thawing them.  Disaster!  From that point on, I've frozen unproofed croissants.  I'll transfer them to a covered pan in the fridge for about 12 hours (so the night before).  Then I allow them to proof at room temperature for about 2 - 2 1/2 hrs, apply eggwash and bake.  That method works well.


As Andy pointed out to me, however, you can also bake them at the time they are shaped, and then freeze them.  I've had good success with this too.  I allow them to thaw for about 1 hour (it doesn't take long since they are so light), apply a quick spritz of water, and put them into a 300 F oven for about 5 minutes.  Allow another 5 for cooling and good eating!


Larry

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Thanks Larry,


I want to make a batch and freeze them right after shaping. I would love to have some I could bake in the morning.


Eric

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi Eric,


Your croissants have expanded magnificently; to the point where they have come too close together for effective baking.


I dare say this has considerably reduced the flakiness you were looking for?


Clearly, extremely handsome croissants, as I see them


BW


Andy

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Ah, such temptations you show!

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Thanks Lindy!

audra36274's picture
audra36274

  Those look wonderful!!! I love the progression photo's. You make it look so simple and we know it took a great deal of expertise. You certainly inspire with everything you post my friend! The Fresh Loaf is lucky to have great teachers like yourself!


Audra

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Thanks Audra. You are definitely a member of the fan club. This wasn't really an instructional post really. I wanted to try the new flour and since I'm a bachelor for a couple days, I can make what ever I like and eat like it doesn't matter. You should have seen the steak last night. Mmmmm.


Eric

txfarmer's picture
txfarmer

These look great! So is the flour worth the extra price? I have seen them lately too.


 


ps. I've found a heavy pastry roller (big and thick in the middle and two handles on the side) helps a lot. I got one and mine come out much better than when I was using my skinny wood roller.

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I don't mean to complain about the price of flour. It just surprises me that a big miller like Gold Medal would price two similar products so far apart. In general I like to find a reasonable flour that I like the flavor and color of the finished product to use as my regular go to flour. The malted barley that is usually added has a lot to do with the color of the crust. Some of the croissant recipes use malt as an ingredient. It makes a big difference in the color and a little goes a long way. This flour does not list malt on the label.


I'll have to look for a larger rolling pin. That would would probably help, thanks. And thank you for your comments.


Eric

DonD's picture
DonD

Looking at your croissants makes me drool. You mention wanting to get the even coloration so I notice that your baking pan has high sides and the croissants are close together as Andy has observed. You may want to try  to bake them on a cookie sheet with some separation between them. Another trick I find useful is to give them 2 very light eggwashes, one before proofing and another one just before baking.


I could use a couple of those for breakfast right now!


Don

ehanner's picture
ehanner

You are correct that the pan has higher sides. I don't usually use it for baking things like these but as you indicated, it was a little crowded so I didn't try to transfer to a more shallow pan. It was late and I started slacking off. It's a wonder these turned out at all actually. I was multi tasking all day and ended up leaving the dough in the cooler for a full 24 hours. Add to that the European style butter I was using wasn't spreading as nicely as I would have liked. I had quite a bit of butter in the bottom of the pan that melted and ran out which I don't remember seeing in the past.


The double egg wash is a good trick. What do you make your wash from? Yesterday I just used a single egg and a T of water and a half pinch of salt.


Eric

DonD's picture
DonD

My eggwash is the same as yours except I add a half pinch of sugar as well to get a little sweet salty taste on the crust.


Don

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

My resistance to making croissants is getting as flakey as your pastries ... They look delicious!


David

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Thanks David. Wait till you see the onion pockets I'm working for Norm and Stan.


Eric

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Hi, Eric.


Hmmm ... Not onion rolls? Sounds intriguing. 


I made an extra-curricular batch of Norm's double knotted rolls yesterday for hamburgers. They were superior to any soft sandwich rolls I've every had, although there are some wonderful-looking recipes I've not tried floating around. I didn't get pics because I had let my camera battery run down. <blush>


I'm baking a couple sourdough breads from AB&P today that I've never made before. Stay tuned. The camera battery is now fully charged.


David

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

I'm a little late to post! Oh how I love pastry, croissant's especially and yours are making me drool.  Isn't it amazing how they puff and the flavor...yumm.  It has indeed been a very busy month for me and I almost missed these...my oldest granddaughters graduation and a week full of parties, beachhouse and then she's off to Maui with friends and mom's before she leaves on her way to college..I can't believe where time flies and my littlest granddaughter is on her way to my home with my son and daughter n law.  I hope to get some baking done before they arrive.  How I would love to have some croissant and pastries ready.


Sylvia

ehanner's picture
ehanner

This has turned into an interesting thread about the properties of flour.  I certainly don't mind adding in your interests here about protein levels. I was curious how this new flour would perform. You all are using a better approach of trying to understand in advance how to evaluate the product and it's suitability for a purpose. My hat is off to intellect anytime.


Eric

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Eric - many thanks for your generosity!


I have to say for my part it doesn't feel like clever advance planning, rather pause for reflection after some stumbling around. With some recipes I have had problems getting my dough through long retardation without it going soft on me. One suggested approach was to use a stronger flour. I was thinking I had just begun to understood protein levels but reading zdenka and Andy's posts I realized that it was more complex than I suspected and that American to U.K. levels needed some 'translation'.


I do understand the pleasure of finding a new flour on the shelf and trying it out. I've been doing that too. However getting a flour from the supermarkets here to use for artisan bread making is a bit of a lottery, as despite the fact that we have a range of flours to choose from, many of those available at general outlets can be quite 'soft' and low in protein. Hence the need for some 'thinking through', particularly as I might soon need to move up to sacks.


Anyway the croissants made from your new flour look great - wishing you continued happy baking!  Daisy_A

kolobezka's picture
kolobezka

Thanks for your indulgence Eric!


Ananda´s explanation helped me to understand better the behaviour of the UK flour I use and to compare it with US recipes.


Have you already tried to use organic Gold Medal AP for bread?


I also wonder whether vitamins are added to all AP flours in US.


Kind Regards


zdenka

ehanner's picture
ehanner

Daisy_A,


There are so many things that can change the outcome of a bread evaluation, it's hard to know after only one attempt with a new flour. That said, I thought the crumb wasn't as dried out or maybe a better way to say it is the croissant was a little heavy. That could be because I didn't bake it long enough or the dough hydration was a little high. The crust was browned about right and the oven temp was lower than some like it. That leads me to think, all things being equal, the flour must have some malt in it which is common. It isn't listed on the label but it bakes like it is.


zdenka:
I'm going to make a batch of French Bread today, using the GM Organic AP. Just a lean simple recipe I have made a hundred times. We'll see how it goes. Your question about the addition of vitamins is hard to answer. I think most milled flours sold on the shelves are what they call "Fortified". I'm NOT and expert in this area at all so I'll say right off that this is my impression only. I see the "with malted barley added" on most flour bags. You see the word "Enriched" a lot. I'm a big fan of freshly milled WW and Rye flours. I buy them from an organic farmer who has a small milling operation in the Midwest US region. The products I make using that flour are so much better than anything I made with store bought flour, I would never go back. Of course the fresh milled flour does not have any additives or malt added. But, for my AP and Bread Flour, I want a reliable quality, inexpensive source. I have always felt that you can adjust your procedures to make good bread from any or most commercial flours, it just takes some experimenting. I notice in your profile you are from CZ. Is that Czech Republic? What kind of flours are available?


Eric

kolobezka's picture
kolobezka

I´m looking forward to your testing with new flour Eric.


Yes, CZ = Czech Republic. The flours here may be similar to France or Germany, though it seems that the more you go to the east, the lower baker´s quality the flour will have. Here it is mostly softer wheat - T530, T650/700, T1000/1050, T1800. But you can find 4 stages of granulation (going from the the flour you know to what would be similar to cornmeal consistency or semolina), and of course convention and organic  products are available. The protein content is about 9% when speaking in US mearures.


Then there is rye T930 and T1700 (T500 is not sold in shops). Actually the most traditional Czech bread is 45-55% rye prepared with 3 stage sour. But although this is still the most common (and also cheapest) bread you can find, many big and small bakeries abandon the traditional methods and prefer using pre-prepared mixtures, commercial (stabilized) sourdoughs and yeast. It may be due to the worse qualty of wheat as well. I was told that nowdays a bakery cannot survive without using dough enhancers. (Well, one reason I prefer bake our own bread at home)


And of course other speciality flours - spelt, kamut, red wheat, buckwheat...


I think everybody bakes here. You can find good quality fresh yeast (and even several kinds) even in the smallest shop. But most people just use white flour and make sweet "buchty" (sweet yeast dough with various fillings), things similar to challah or brioche (we have many specilities in this field) and "knedliky" (yeast dumplings - either with sweet filling or as a side dish for meats with sauces). Then bread machines are quite popular. But few people bake their bread regularly and are concerned about more healthy flours and sourdough. But ot may be the same in other countries, I think.


In any case, I am very happy that there TFL exists and very grateful to all members here for their posts, ideas and help!!!


zdenka


 

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Eric,


Thanks for the post. I appreciate what you say about having to bake more than once to understand a flour's qualities. I've used Coop plain white flour (once only) and two main bread flours to date, plus some speciality rye and durum wheat and it's enough so far to get acquainted with those!


I've been thinking about malt because one of my most successful sourdoughs was baked using beer and I wonder if the malt in the beer influenced the outcome. You can get malted U.K. flours but I think fewer general flours are malted than in the U.S. From what you say here I read that malted flour can produce a more golden crust but denser crumb? I'm sure, though, that it's more complex than that...


As for croissants, I used bread flour (Marriages Organic Strong) for one lot of croissants  based on Andy's formula, which worked well. I don't think it was malted.


I was struck by what you are saying about the quality of flour from a small independent miller, particularly the rye.  I am finding that not all major U.K. producers of bread flour provide rye, although some leading producers of artisan and organic flours do. There is a millers guild with some mills listed in central England near where I am. Could make for some interesting days out. Here is a link for interest http://www.tcmg.org.uk/


Wishing you more continued good baking with the Gold Medal.


Kind regards,  Daisy_A


 


 

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

Eric, I have seen this flour GM organic often in my local stores.  Do you know the protein content?


Sylvia

ananda's picture
ananda

Hi,


I've spent the day working with 2 students producing Naan breads [12 huge elephants ears], Chapatis [100], and seeded knotted white rolls [220].   It's HE results time, so I was up before "the board" to justify my gradings for 5 sets of results too...plus regualr teching commitments.   Oh, and we had the audacity to go for a night out watching some dnacing at "The Sage" in Gateshead last night.


Anyway, that's by the by.   Where do we go with this?


Eric's post, as ever, is pertinent in that we do need a reliable "regular" type of flour from a performance point of view.   I suspect, in this particular  rspect, the North American market is probably better served than the European...and zdenka's comments certainly seem to bear this out [more in a minute]


Daisy_A, what brand of "AP" flour did you use?   I only ask, as I have never found this classification on retail shelves in UK.   Our "Plain" flour is not at all suitable for making bread.   North American "AP" is!   Whilst UK "strong" flour has been milled for breadmaking purposes, we don't have a halfway type of flour which can be used for all types of baking, at retail level...unless I've missed something over the years.   Commercially, a "Baker's Grade" flour is on offer, which is equivalent to "AP".   Basically, there are many parts of North America where the climate is suited to growing wheat with excellent QUALITY proteins; vastly superior to Europe and the temporate Mediterranean climate.   So Eric's AP flour will be far more suitable for croissants than any flour available in UK, apart from the reliable flours, labelled as "strong".


Regarding "fortification" of flour, I'm sad to say this is done on "health grounds"!!!   Governments recognise that sufficient people have diets lacking in particular essential vitamins and minerals, and so take a decision to add substances such as calcium carbonate to provide for the missing magic.   Folic acid is the current hot potato.   Wholemeal flour is just that, by the way.   So if you want the pure, wholegrain you have to buy this type.   It's patronising bollocks, if you ask me, but I think I may be accused of gross over-simplification of the food policy arguements by some experts were they to read this comment!?


With regard to malt, this is not used by UK millers.   Enzymes are now rife in our flours, as, very conveniently, these do not have to be included on the label, as they are classed as "processing aids", and are not chemicals.   So they are, apparently not deemed necessary to class as additives!!?   How so, is the immediate question coming to mind?   Anyway, that means millers add fungal amylase to the grist, not malted barley flour.   The purpose is the same, and is not really that contraversial.   It is to provide for that consistent performance, sought after by both posters mentioned.   The amylase content greatly affects the rate at which complex starches are converted to sugars for the yeasts to feed off.   This is what brings about a predictable and reliable fermentation rate, in relation to mixing times [ie dough development, by whatever means], dough temperatures [ including retardation, BFP etc], and level of yeast used [including amount of pre-ferment, whether natural, or baker's yeast based, and, how active this is!]   Obviously a whole variety of other enzymes are used, but they tend to be added in an "improver", rather than by the miller.   This is pretty key information, actually.


The problem for zdenka is that the German classification of flour being referenced takes note of the ash content, but gives no idea of the protein content of the flour.   It equates to UK % extraction system, which is still used, in approximation, but, again does not "categorise" flour.   So, 100% wholemeal, 85% wholemeal is a "brown" flour.   White, roller-milled flour is about 72%.   These just about equate to what zdenka references in the "T" numbers above, which relate to the residue proportion when the flour is burnt.   There are many excellent posts on TFL which discuss the impact of the vitamins and minerals  on rates of fermentation.   These are in the wholegrain flours, forming the residue, or ash content, deemed so important to Europeam fl;our used for long fermentation.   Trouble is, it makes no reference to the protein content, or quality, deemed essential for consistently good bread qualities.


There's a lot more to it than this; but, this gives plenty of food for thought to add to the already excellent notes made above.   Thanks to all, and, Eric: sorry your post got "hijacked" by another topic.   Tell us how your French bread turned out. please.


Best wishes to all


Andy

ehanner's picture
ehanner

I don't know any more than what's on the label. To be honest I've never sat down and figured out how to make sense of the info on the label as it relates to protein. In the end you have to use the flour and decide for yourself if you like it.


Eric

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

My first test with this flour will be to make pie and tart crusts and cakes.  Hopefully that time will come soon as I said earlier this has been a busy month...I had a whole swarm of bees arrive today to make home in my attic....no baking today!


Sylvia

Daisy_A's picture
Daisy_A

Hi Andy,


Ouch - you got me there. There is of course no U.K. 'AP' flour that has escaped your eagle eye. Just 'translating' at that point but of course this renders the definition inaccurate. Will edit the post for consistency. These terms are seeping into the back of my mind too, through seeing them so many times in formulae, without me fully understanding them, so thanks for the clarification.


Rest assured I now use bread flour for bread. I was just trying to signal to Eric that I haven't been flirting with loads of different flours, using them once then dropping them.


However I did get back into baking very simply by going down the corner shop, buying a bag of Coop Plain White Flour and making a no knead boule, pictured here http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/16951/hello-another-newcomer The flour survived the adventure but the taste wasn't as good as I can get from bread flour. I suppose I was just being honest about what I'd used, not necessarily advocating it. Haven't used it for bread since but do use it for my rare forays into cake making.   I have an Italian organic durum wheat 11% protein that I got for pasta making. Not sure what else to use it for, although it does form part of the formula for Jan Hedh's gorgeous lemon bread.


As for croissants, I feel a bit like the caterpillar when he asked Alice 'what are you?' Do they count as bread or cakes? Have been using bread flour as advised. Looking back I didn't log the flour on the first attempt as I just thought 'I'll make croissants today' but it was probably bread flour as well. Was a popular bake I have to say.


I thought I was clearer on the flour front but then read a reference that LindyD posted from Hamelman on Royall's 'bread flour' thread that advocated lower protein spring wheat for hearth breads, although 'lower' here is still 11% plus and it is still non-U.K.wheat. http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/18079/bread-flour. So now I'm confused again. Am going back to the source with Hamelman and reading up and remembering that flour can have lower quantity but higher quality grade levels of protein.


This does seem to me to be in part a matter of translation. I should know from translation studies that as a translated book is never the same book so a translated bread is never the same bread. However given that so many of the most influential recent writers on bread are American, some working understanding of American flour types and characteristics seems to be needed, even when authors make comparisons to European flours  or elicit European styles of bread.  It seems worse too, as so much 'mother tongue' bread practice in the U.K. seems to have been written over by Chorleywood, so I'm not really clear how British artisan bakers have historically handled weaker British wheats.


I guess the key thing is to make the most of the best flour available. I would also be looking for consistency of results but that seems a way off at present. Am still using Marriages but as we went to Sainsbury I just picked up some Carrs Strong White Flour for comparison.


Hope the dance was good. Must have been a busy period. Haven't been to the Sage although friends have shared good reports of it. Went to the Baltic pre-opening work from Anish Kapoor. That was impressive.


With best wishes,  Daisy_A


P.S. These issues of flour qualities and translatability seem to come up so often on TFL that I am thinking of starting a forum topic to draw some of the existing reflections together. Also to give Eric some of his space back - thanks for your patience Eric! I have no knowledge of most of the flours you speak of. Do so wish we could get them here, but no. Found an online American store in London but only sold mixes. Wishing you happy baking with the Green Label, though. Kind regards, Daisy_A