The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Flour issue.

Ender's picture
Ender

Flour issue.

Hello, I'm new to forum and actually found this place trying to google my issue.  I have a panasonic bread machine that I got a few weeks ago and right away I started making bread without any issues.  I recently moved and went to make a new loaf except I was out of the gold medal bread flour that I had been using so I picked up some king arthur bread flour because that is all the super market had near me.  I've tried 3 times using all the same ingredients, except for the flour, and failed three times to make a good loaf.  They come out half the height they should be and not done on the inside.  I thought maybe it was the yeast so I tried adding a lot more and it still didn't fix the problem.  From googling everyone seems to love king arthur, does anyone know how I could fix this?  Thanks  

cranbo's picture
cranbo

It's possible that you had a batch of old flour, but not that likely. 


Try making it again with the Gold Medal; when you do, do you get the results you originally got? 


If it doesn't work with the Gold Medal again, it's probably your yeast (or something with your bread machine); buy some new yeast. 


If it does work, I would suspect some problem with the KA flour, or your bread machine. 


Let us know what happens!


 

jcking's picture
jcking

Gold Medal works well for my ZO machine. KA Bread, not so much. KA Bread is a little too strong. I've had better luck mixing KA AP with KA Bread; about half and half. Yet the Gold Medal is better. Or it could be a water problem; try bottled.


Jim

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Each brand of flour (be it Gold Medal or King Arthur Flour or ...) comes in two or three different types ("All Purpose", "Bread", and other "marketing" names) whose most important difference is their gluten content. That's what really matters (not which brand it is:-). Replacing GM-AP with KAF-Bread will be very different, as would replacing KAF-AP with GM-Bread.


Lots of folks like King Arthur Flour, but for reasons that probably aren't relevant to you: the company has marketed a wide variety of good quality products to home bakers for a long time, their flour is the most consistent from year to year of any known brand, their AP has a higher gluten content than most other AP's, and they're even more careful than most about adding just the right amounts of trace ingredients such as ascorbic acid or diastatic malt.


My guess about your bread that fails to rise after a move is that your yeast got internally damaged in the move. The insides of closed moving vans can get hot enough to kill yeast. And the dried yeast crystals won't look or feel any different  ...they just won't rise any more. Try either buying a bit of new yeast locally, or "proving" your old yeast in some warm water with a bit of sugar.


I forgot the other prime suspect: Tap water at different locations can contain vastly different amounts of chlorine, and you likely won't even notice the difference. Sometimes there's so much chlorine it significantly interferes with yeast. Use bottled or filtered water, at least for a test, and probably always.

Ender's picture
Ender

Thanks for all the suggestions.  I'm going to try to go through systematically and eliminate one variable at a time.  I also thought it was the yeast, it was never exposed to harsh conditions since the bread maker and the ingredients rode with me in my car and it was only about a 30 min drive.  I have dabled in home brewed beer so I was somewhat familiar with how to handle yeast but I'm no expert.  Even so, I bought another container of the same brand/type of yeast and tried it but again it failed.  Next I will be trying different water, which also would seem an unlikely candidate since I moved from a cityish area to a more suburban area so I would guess that the chlorine contentration of the water would be lower but I won't be sure until I try.  If that doesn't work I'll switch flour, I will probably need new stuff by then anyway with all the failed loaves I've made now.  I'm about to get my chem degree and it feels like I'm back in the lab doing all this but it will be worth it.  That month of making delicious bread has ruined me, I can't go back to store bought.      

jcking's picture
jcking

The tap water that one may use can vary in what the water works decides to add. I'm wondering if the people whose doughs seems to be acting erratically lately is because of additives in the water. The local water works may be correcting for the high pollen count this time of year, and or the above average rain/nasty storms carrying pollutants/acid rain. One week the water's fine, the next week not so much. And who can be sure the additives can be filitered out. Just thinking out loud.


Jim

Chuck's picture
Chuck

...cityish area to a more suburban area so I would guess that the chlorine contentration of the water would be lower...


Hmmm, my guess would be exactly the opposite. Here in eastern Massachusetts, the "big city" (Boston) used its political muscle to preempt the best water supply nearly a century ago (they actually wiped an entire town off the map - it's now at the bottom of a reservoir). The lower population suburban areas have had to use whatever water was left, which has often been an inferior supply requiring more chlorination to meet the same health standards. 


Fortunately the water in the small town I live in is quite reasonable anyway (but just a few miles down the road the water is awful:-). Even so, I bake with water from the Brita pitcher of filtered water I keep in my refrigerator.

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

I doubt it's the water.. I've used chlorinated, well water, high mineral water, and water that has been softened and through an R.O.  I've even made Aussie damper bread using water right out of the river.  I get consistent results time after time after time.  I think we put too much stock in some of these things.


It's most likely your machine.  It would be easier to test flours if you were actually making bread with your hands.  I doubt it's the flour that much either.  The difference I received in KAF flour vs others wasn't all that dramatic other than flavor.

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

I'm not a huge King Arthur fan myself.  I've had much better luck with almost every other bread flour out there.  I now bake exclusively with Honeyville brand. You can't get it in stores, must buy it online or in one of their stores.  The flavor is amazing and I get consistently good results.

Adding more yeast isn't a solution.  Your bread will taste like yeast and it will still be flat..

To be fair, you'd have better luck with King Arthur if you did not use your machine.  Every try a loaf mixed and kneaded by hand?  I encourage anyone with a bread machine to try it.. you may never go back to your machine.

 

Jessica Weissman's picture
Jessica Weissman

I've occasionally gotten a container of bad yeast, or had the yeast lose its power before the expiration date on the package.  If yours has lost its power, adding more won't help.  And it's possible that the new container you bought was from the same factory batch as the first.

Good luck.

- Jessica

Ender's picture
Ender

OK, so today I made another loaf with water from my water cooler and Pillsbury bread dough.  At least the bread was edible, but still not perfect.  The best way to describe it would be as a giant biscuit, the consistency inside is too loose to cut slices of it.  I have already eaten half of it because it is good, but I was aiming for a sandwich.  I think tomorrow I'm going to get new yeast because it still isn't rising as tall as it should.    

cranbo's picture
cranbo

Hi Ender,

If your bread is like a biscuit, there could be a few related issues:

  1. It wasn't kneaded enough. Biscuit-like interior suggests minimal gluten development; gluten is what gives bread most of its chew. How long did the bread knead for?
  2. If your bread is "mealy", then your recipe probably could use some more water. Was the resulting bread moist, or was it a bit dry?
Good luck, and keep trying...it's the joy of baking. 
jcking's picture
jcking

The trouble shooting guide that comes with the Zo Machine; Loaf does not rise enough.

Increase Water, decrease salt, increase sugar/honey, increase yeast.

I wouldn't do all the above, yet one or two should help. As far as yeast, their standard; 1 1/2 lb loaf use 1 1/2 tsp active dry or 2 1/2 rapid/instant. It sounds backward to me, yet bread machines are a different animal.

Jim

subfuscpersona's picture
subfuscpersona

KA bread flour is a higher gluten flour than Gold Medal. KA bread flour contains about 14% protein whereas Gold Medal bread flour contains about 12% protein. KA all-purpose flour has about 11.7% protein and thus is closer to Gold Medal bread flour in it's baking and rising properties.

I  normally use Gold Medal bread flour for breads (pan loaves and artisan). I tested my standard recipes (both sourdough and yeast-risen) with KA all-purpose a year or so ago (went through several bags of KA all purpose for this exercise) and found virtually no difference between loaves made with KA all-purpose vs Gold Medal bread flour.

However, I feel that KA bread flour is too high in gluten forming power to be the primary flour in most bread recipes. It is better for bagels or bialys. I do keep KA bread flour on hand, but use it in small proportions when I feel a particular recipe might benefit from a slightly stronger flour (such as a 50% whole wheat bread, where KA bread flour is 15% of the total flour used, the rest being Gold Medal bread flour).

The bottom line is that KA all-purpose flour is the better choice for most breads, as it's protein content is closer to what is generally marketed as bread flour (like Gold Medal). I think King Arthur does a disservice to it's customers with this confusing labeling.

If your flour choice is not the problem, then I would suspect a difference in the water.

Yeast would be the last ingredient I would suspect. Since you're using a bread machine, I assume you're using commercial yeast (not sourdough). Commercial yeast (instant dry yeast or active dry yeast) is very stable and robust.

Jessica Weissman's picture
Jessica Weissman

KA on its website says its bread flour is about 12.7 percent protein and its AP flour is 11.7 percent protein.   I have no reason to disbelieve them.

It makes another flour, not in grocery stores, that comes in at 14% hydration.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Hmmm, the numbers I've collected are different:

I have KingArthurFlour "Bread" flour at 12.7% and GoldMedal "Better for Bread" flour at 12.2-12.7%, virtually identical. There is a difference though in AP: KAF "All Purpose" is higher than typical AP flours at 11.7%, while GoldMedal "All Purpose" is more typical at around 10.5% most years (GM's "official" range is 9.8-11%, with their "Southern" variant being toward the lower end of that range and their "RestOfTheCountry" variant being toward the higher end of that range). KAF also sells (but only from their website or wholesale, not in grocery stores) a "Sir Lancelot Flour" with an ultra high protein/gluten content of 14.2%.

jcking's picture
jcking

The KA AP is made from all hard WINTER wheat, and their "Bread" flour from hard SPRING wheat.  Again, it's important to remember that one flour isn't necessarily better for bread than the other -- it depends on what kind of dough you want.  Hard winter wheat flour is strong but its bread isn't so chewy and it is easier to extend.  Hard spring wheat flour is stronger, gives better height, and absorbs more water, but sometimes it is very very chewy.  Not a problem with bagels, though.

(From an interview with Dan DiMuzio)

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

of different flours ?  When I look at the KA bread flour contents, the protein is listed as 4%, ditto for Gold Medal. 

Thanks all,

Anna

 

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

Labels give amounts per serving.  In this case the serving size is 30 grams.  The amount of protein per serving is 4 grams.  The percent protein is therefore (4/30)*100=13.3%.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

If the nutrition label is based on a "serving size" , and the "serving size" is less than 100 grams, and the amount of protein doesn't include a decimal point, roundoff error is so large that you can't usefully calculate gluten content this way. Nutrition labels are a little different in different parts of the world; some (such as in the U.K.) allow you to usefully calculate gluten content, but others (such as in the U.S.) don't. Expanding the example:

  • To repeat, if the label says "4 grams of protein", the calculated ratio is (4/30)*100=13.3%
  • If however that same label said "3 grams of protein", the calculated ratio would be (3/30)*100=10.0%
  • Suppose the flour really had 4.5 grams of protein: that should really be (4.5/30)*100=15%. (But the sack will say the same "4 grams of protein".)
  • Or suppose the actual protein content is 11.7% and work backward: the number of grams of protein in a "serving" of that flour is really 3.51. But after doing the rounding allowed and suggested by U.S. law, the 3.51 would be printed on the sack as "4 grams of protein".

So if the sack says "4 grams of protein", is it really 11.7%, or 13.3%, or 15% (or something else)? Because a "4 grams of protein" sack could range all the way from "all purpose" (KAF) to "very strong", it doesn't seem to me to be all that useful.

 

 

MangoChutney's picture
MangoChutney

Well, that's not my fault.  AnnaInMD misunderstood the meaning of the "4" on the KAF label, and I explained how the number was meant to be used.  Having an accurate value for protein content in hand would still not provide a direct measure of gluten, for that matter.  Oats, for example, contain lots of protein and very little gluten.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Having an accurate value for protein content in hand would still not provide a direct measure of gluten

Yep, all the gluten in the flour is protein, but all the protein in the flour most definitely is not gluten. The protein number though is much more widely available because it can be easily and accurately tested on the spot with very little equipment by every grain dealer and miller. The convenient rough approximation gluten≅protein is usable mainly for "western" white wheat flours. It may not be true for flours in some parts of the world, and definitely is not true for whole wheat flours or for non-wheat flours such as quinoa.

It's unfortunate that gluten content numbers are almost never available on flour sacks. I think that's why there's a tendency for people to "keep" gluten numbers they see pass by (there are a lot of gluten numbers buried in various posts here on TFL). Sometimes gluten numbers are available on a miller's website. Sometimes they're available by telephoning the miller's helpline. Sometimes they're available by talking face to face with a grower, a miller, or a dealer.

My apologies if what I wrote earlier unintentionally appeared to be trying to assign some sort of "fault". To reiterate for Anna "you can't get there from here" (old New England saying) - in other words there's simply no way to get from the information printed on a U.S. nutrition label to gluten content; the "4" is pretty much useless to bakers.

AnnaInMD's picture
AnnaInMD

thank you very much !

Anna

Ender's picture
Ender

Ok, so the place where I made my first successful loaves is a house that I was housesitting in.  The owners have asked me to do it again this week so I'm going to try my best to recreate my previous successes in the same kitchen.  Its finals week for me so I don't have time to mess around with trying to figure this all out, I'm just going for a hail mary and hoping this one comes out ok.  I threw together the stuff this morning and hit the button before I left to study in the library so I should see the results sometime tonight when I go back.  Breadmakers aren't dangerous to leave unattended right?

jcking's picture
jcking

Some have a keep warm cycle at the end of the bake. If not removed at end of bake the bottom of bread could becokme wet.

Jim

Ender's picture
Ender

Now I'm confused.  Perfect loaf.  So using the same ingredients and recipe it works here, I think there might be some type of dark magic involved.  But seriously maybe its an electrical issue, everything else being the same and using filtered water last time too.  

 

cranbo's picture
cranbo

So does this mean that there are two machines, one at the location where you were housesitting, and one at "home"? Same make and model? Or did you bring your machine over to the other house? 

Ender's picture
Ender

Same machine and same ingredients as my last few fails.  I just threw it all in my car and moved it into the old place just to see if it made a difference and apparently it did.  My brain is too tried to try and figure this out, I'm going to have to leave this mystery unsolved until finals are over next week. 

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Hmmm, same machine, same flour, same yeast (?)  Something's obviously different, next to figure out what is it?

  1. Have you got an oven thermometer to check the oven temperature?  Even if there's something funny about the electricity, the oven may very well compensate and be at the right temperature anyway. Also have you got some way to measure the temperature in the area where the dough rises? Did the amount of time needed to rise properly change significantly? It would be nice to know for sure about these things.
  2. Is there some ingredient you used from the other house rather than taking it in your car? The salt maybe?
  3. Do you create a bit of steam in the oven for the first few minutes? If so, what method/equipment do you use at each different place?
  4. Just to be absolutely sure, can you try bottled water? Most filters remove excess chlorine that could harm the yeast  ...but there's always a small chance it's something in the tap water that filter isn't catching.
jcking's picture
jcking

Einstien said it best; "Spooky action at a distance".

Jim