The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

All purpose flour vs. Bread flour- baguettes

probably34's picture
probably34

All purpose flour vs. Bread flour- baguettes

From what I understand, using all purpose flour will result in a crispier, cracklier crust. But what about the crumb? Will the crumb be more open and glossy when using AP flour or a flour with a comparable protein content? Is it all in the mixing and oxidation? Can anyone help me with my question?

 

Patrick

flournwater's picture
flournwater

The answer to your question(s) is yes, you can use AP flour with very good results.  Whether or not it produces a "cracklier crust" will depend on its hydration, its cooking temperature, the oven environment, and other factors.  The AP flour alone will not necessarily give you a cracklier crust.  Open crumb is also more a factor of how the dough is handled that the type of flour you use.  In my experience, AP flour produces a more open crumb.  But larger holes don't necessarily translate into a better loaf of bread.   A stronger (dough) should give you a better structure than a soft variety but that too is a factor of what type of flour you use.  You will find that some "bread flour" is nearly identical to AP flour in its protein content (check the nutritional labels) and other bread flour will have a much higher protein content.   The whiteness of the bread will depend on the whiteness of the flour.  You can use bleached AP flour for a truely white crumb that glistens.

The best way to answer your questions is to work with each of the types of flour and learn from your own results.  I use AP flour (both bleached and unbleached) regularly with good results with open crumb, crisp or tender crust (depending on how I prepare the dough) and great flavor.

Dhull100's picture
Dhull100

Interesting thread. I have found that using AP flour in the sourough recipes I bake routinely (Vermont sourdough and variants) results in a much more open crumb regardless of how I handle the dough. The first time I tried AP instead of bread flour, I was really surprised. At least for these recipes, I much prefer AP. I would say experiment :)

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I use 100% AP (King Arthur) in baguettes, and achieve an open crumb by only using a small amount of yeast, 68% Hydration, and overnight cool (54°F) retarding. KA AP flour has about 10.5% protein, on a par with other millers "bread flour". This approach yields a soft, only slightly chewy crumb--pinched flat and released it springs back to its just-from-the-oven openness--and thin, crisp crust easily refreshed and re-crisped for 5 minutes in a 375°F oven, after defrosting.

I use a 50/50 mix of AP and Bread Flour, both King Arthur, in sourdough loaves. I generally don't retard the doughs. This fllour mix yields an agressive al dente chewiness, which we prefer in sourdough loaves. I also refresh thawed loaves for 7 or 8 minutes (depending on their size and shape) in a 375°F oven.

These choices, the type and brand of flour or flour mixes, are primarily influenced by what we want in a loaf first: flavor and mouthfeel.

David G

Elagins's picture
Elagins

hi

KA All Purpose is what they sell professionally as Sir Galahad, and it has protein content of 11.70%, which makes it technically a weak bread flour that's in the gray area above AP (10.0%-11.50% protein) and bread(12%-13% protein)  flour.  What they market as Bread Flour is their Special Short Patent at 12.70% protein.  Although it's true that European flours have weaker protein, mostly because of the higher soft wheat content, the KA AP, which contains, I believe, a relatively high percentage of winter wheat (softer than spring wheat) is probably the best choice for baguettes. Certainly, it's the flour that Jeffrey Hamelman recommends over the other KA flours.

Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com