The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Substituting and using KA 'bread flour' instead of KA 'all purpose'?

BKSinAZ's picture
BKSinAZ

Substituting and using KA 'bread flour' instead of KA 'all purpose'?

I am an amature bread maker and I would like to know what would be the ramifications if "bread flour" was used instead of the "all purpose flour" in this baguette recipe. http://www.kingarthurflour.com/baking/documents/baguette-ciabatta.pdf


How would the structure, texture, rise, and taste of the bread change if I were to use bread flour instead?


I also trying to wrap my mind around why KA makes a bread flour, but in most of their bread recipes they use all purpose flour. Can someone also assist me with this thought?

jcking's picture
jcking

KA AP is equal in protein to most other bread flours. Make a batch with AP and one with Bread and see the difference for yourself. That will take into account your handling of the formula and give you a more accurate comparison.


Jim

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

you want, since everything will be customized to your way of doing things in your kitchen.


As a preview, you can expect that a bread flour whose protein content is greater than the AP flour's protein content will absorb more water on a unit weight basis.  The dough will feel drier/stiffer, all else being equal.  Which, of course, it almost never is.  Since you are asking about a ciabatta, you might not notice much difference at all since ciabattas tend to be made with very high hydration levels.


The bread flour dough may be able to tolerate a greater degree of expansion during fermentation than will it's AP sibling.  It will certainly be less exensible.  Some are of the opinion that bread flour produces a slightly different flavor profile than does an AP flour.  Not being a super-taster, I really can't tell the difference.


The finished bread made with bread flour will probably tougher or chewier than the bread made with AP flour.  Without doing a side by side comparison, you might not notice the difference.


I hope that gives you some ideas.


Paul


 

jcking's picture
jcking

Though some may know it as clay dough. As a child I played with Play Dough. Now as a senoir I'm playing around with dough again. Go figure.


Jim

BKSinAZ's picture
BKSinAZ

As per my original post, I am speaking of the bageutte recipe, not the ciabatta.

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

I see that I completely whiffed on the type of bread.  My apologies.


Since the comments were general in nature, they will still apply, generally speaking.  The thing you may notice most is the difference in dough texture.  Bread flour's greater capacity for absorbing water, and its higher gluten content, will yield a stronger dough that feels drier than the same dough and the same hydration when made with AP flour. 


From what I have read on the subject, it appears that the wheats grown in France have lower gluten contents than many of the wheats grown in the USA and Canada.  Consequently, baguette doughs made there tend to be less elastic and more extensible than they would be if they were made with flours sourced from the USA or Canada which have higher gluten contents.  Many AP flours available in the USA or Canada (and KAF would be a particular example), never mind bread flours,  have higher gluten contents than the flours used in baguettes by French bakers. 


If you were to switch from AP to bread flour for your baguettes, you may very well find that you have to boost hydration levels to achieve similar dough characteristics. 


Dunno if that provides clarification or confusion, but I hope its the former.


Paul

Barbara Krauss's picture
Barbara Krauss

Hi Paul,

I am still a little befuddled as to the difference between these two properties.  Could you briefly explain the difference?  Thanks so much.

sphealey's picture
sphealey

Although some good technical answers have been provided and I don't disagree with them, my perspective is that for everyday purposes the answer is "not much".  My spouse and I have been using KA flour for more than 10 years now, and at this point we buy whatever is on sale.  I have successfully made many RLB, Hamelman, and Reinhart recipes using whichever was available.  There may be subtle differences in baguettes, but nothing that anyone who is not a bread contest judge would care about.



The only places I have found where it makes a difference is in bagels (where the bread flour does work somewhat better than the AP, as theory predicts) and trying to match specific authors' pizza doughs where I make an attempt to use the gluten percentage the author recommends (high, medium, or low depending on the recipe!).


So go with what you have and bake!


sPh

fminparis's picture
fminparis

Why don't you simply make two breads - one with each - and see which one YOU like better?  There are no hard and fast rules. Different strokes for different folks, that's what makes horse racing, etc etc. I happen to like Pillsbury Bread Flour better than KA.

hanseata's picture
hanseata

Here's a comparison of the protein contents of AP flours available in supermarkets:

King Arthur:           11.7 %
Hodgson Mill:        11.5-11.9 %
Gold Medal:           10.5 %
Pillsbury:                10.5 % 

Bread flour has 12-15%.   

The strongest bread baking flour available in European supermarkets has 10-12% protein, regular all-purpose flour only 8-9%, the gluten content is significantly lower than in American flours.

Karin

 

Karin