The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Sam's Flour

Norman's picture
Norman

Sam's Flour

The bread flour from Sam's?  Its call Bakers & Chefs.  Its a real good price, but I don't know how good it is or if anybody have used it in the past and what results did you get?  Any comments will be welcome, thanks!!

 

Norman.

ishould3's picture
ishould3

I have heard from fellow bakers that you do not need to use as much flour in a formula. I was told in a formula that called for 1250 grams to start with 1000 and add more if you need it. I am trying some tomorrow, I will post if I find a difference.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I've never used (or seen) the brand, but in checking Sam's Club and other sites, note that it is bleached flour.  The Sam's Club site claims:  "Ideal or [sic] pan breads, thick crust, sweet dough, and yeast raised doughnuts."  That's for the bread flour.

The Bakers & Chefs AP flour is also bleached.  Claims it is:  "Ideal for rolls, cookies, muffins, gravies, batters and tortillas."

I could find no info about the protein or what other chemicals may have been added.

My suggestion is to do yourself a favor and avoid bleached (and bromated) flour.   Sam's Club sells King Arthur flour.  A much healthier choice.  Might cost a bit more, but it's chemical free and consistent.

suave's picture
suave

Sam's does not carry KA nationwide - ask me how do I know.  Bleaching by itself is not a terrible procedure - yes, it will affect color and taste, but it probably will only be obvious in lean yeasted doughs.  It is the fact that "bleached" almost invarably also means "bromated" that is the reason to stay away from these flours.

drdobg's picture
drdobg

Norman,

Not wanting to fall victim to all the hype surrounding the use of organic, artisan, unbleached , etc. flours, I conducted my own taste test.  I selected my favorite sourdough recipe from Peter Reinhart's Breadbaker's Apprentice and made identical batches using King Arthur, Hodgson's Mill, Bob's Red Mill, Gold Medal Unbleached and Sam's Club flour (a bleached and enriched bread flour).  I labeled the baguettes 1 to 5.  I then asked 8 of my family and friends to rank the breads on taste, crust and crumb.  Bob's Red Mill was the winner by a hair, but second place was the Sam's Club flour.  Since the Sam's Club was readily available for $14/50#, whereas the Bob's Red Mill and KA flours were $5.32/5# and $5.79/5# respectively, I felt I could do fine with the bleached product.  KA and Hodgson's Mill were the lowest ranked, but everyone acknowledged that all the breads were yummy.  I just think that sometimes we accept others' opinions without a rational reason. 

mizrachi's picture
mizrachi

Not sure what "hype" you're referring to or what irrational opinions you're talking about but while you're saving a few dollars perhaps your test testers might want to know what exactly goes in their baguettes. 

http://www.healthiertalk.com/little-known-secrets-about-bleached-flour-0499

 

suave's picture
suave

It's a fascinating piece, he is definitely a scaremonger, but I just can't decide if his mixing of facts and outright bs is intentional or just a result of simple ignorance.

mizrachi's picture
mizrachi

can you share with us a study where we can understand the health benefits of bleaching and bromating flour? 

 

 

suave's picture
suave

First of all, it's unfair that you bring bromate into the conversation.  Bromation is an entirely different subject, and one that has not been a part of this discussion.  Second, I am not arguing that bleaching has (or does not have) health benefits.  I am just saying that much of what he says is simply not true. 

mizrachi's picture
mizrachi

and you will see that bromate, along with bleaching, has been mentioned in this discussion.  The bottom line is that the bleaching process and the use of bromate and similar additives is just not healthy.  It's always baffling to me how, like climate change deniers, they're those who resist facing reality. 

Anyway, I'd love for you to explain (or include a link explaining) the inaccuracies in Mercola's post .  Who knows?  You might be right.  But just hearing you say it isn't true is not terribly convincing.

 

 

 

suave's picture
suave

...bromate, along with bleaching, has been mentioned ...

Not in this thread it was not.  But if bothers you so much do you really know why bromate is not healthy, why it is not healthy, why it is added to the flour, and what are those similar additives.  You should, after all power comes from knowledge, not from the first Google link.

But let's talk about the article in question.

1. "It’s generally understood that refining food destroys nutrients"

  Applied to flour it does not destroy them, it removes them with bran and germ.  But there are two important points to consider.  Grain is not that good a source of vitamins and microlelements to begin with, at least per kcal of energy.  Eating a banana will provide about the same amount of those as 4 oz of flour, that is 6 oz of bread (which is what, about 5 slices?), while requiring a person to consume only a quarter of energy.  Another point is that all white flour in this country (with exception of organic, I believe) is enriched, which means that essential nutrients are restored to the level found in the whole grain.

2. "white flour essentially becomes a form of sugar"

No, no, no, no.  Sugar (I assume he means sucrose) and starch are carbohydrates.  They are not the same.  Also let's not forget that flour contains not insignificant amount of proteins.

3. "Virtually all of the vitamin"

Lord, I hope "the vitamin" is a typo!

4. " coated with insecticides" and so on.

Would not that be an argument in favor of removing outer layers of the kernels?  Also, does not he know that grain is washed before milling?

5. " wheat berry, is composed of three layers"

Actually four, aleurone layer matters.

6. "Old time mills ground flour slowly, but today’s mills are designed for mass-production, using high-temperature, high-speed steel rollers"

That's simply not true, roller temperature is usually in 90-100 F range, because that gives the best yields.  Besides, what difference does it make when the bread is baked at 400+ degrees?

7. "chlorine gas"

So chlorine is fine for water purification, but when added to flour it's a terrible poison?

8. "Alloxan ... rats and mice" 

It has been noted time and time again that rodents are poor model for human metabolism studies, they are just too different from us.  Unless an effect, harmful or beneficial, has been demostrated in multiple human studies you can not fully trust that it exists.   History of science is full of drugs that worked in mice only to fail, or show unexpected toxicity in humans and, similarly, things things that kills micebut fairly innocuous to us. 

 

I can go on but, frankly, I have better things to do with my time.

mizrachi's picture
mizrachi

Yikes! 

Sounds like Mercola needs to hire you as a fact checker! 

But hey, if you feel comfortable eating food where nutrients have been removed and then *added* back in, enoying grains coated in insecticide that have been "washed", eating bread made from flour with chlorine gas additives, and have no issue with that tasty chemical, alloxan, that is proven toxic to animals, be my guest.  

 

 

 

suave's picture
suave

I am sorry to see you gave up so easily.

gerhard's picture
gerhard

Taste tests have almost completely random results when the product has a similar look and quality (i.e. non are burned, undercooked, salt left out, extra ingredients added, premium packaging if that is applicable, etc.)  if you want meaningful results you would need to have the same group rank the various options multiple times and I bet you will be unlikely to get a clear answer.  The other big problem is that your test group will try to please you and if you are giving unintentional signals to your preference they will choose that as well.  Coke and Pepsi taste challenges are great example of how factors other than the product influenced the testers.  Coke would show a preference for their product and Pepsi was able to do the same.  I think cheap is nice but in this case you are paying price in quality no matter what your group says.


Gerhard

Norman's picture
Norman

To all of your comments.  I currently using KA AP which I buy in Sam's, its a 10lb bag.  I'm happy with the results, I was just curious because, like drdobg mentioned, definitely Sam's flour is a lot cheaper.  Here, where I live, there aren't many places where you can buy specialty fours, or be able to buy flours in bulk.  We have a few supermarkets where you can buy bulk flour, but still is no cheap.  I just bought a bag of semolina flour by "Bob's Red Mill" and it cost me $4.89 for just 1lb.    Sometimes I can get different flours in the Hispanic tienda at a very reasonable prices.    Anyway, thank you to all, this site is great, its a world of information, great bakers and you can always get great advices and information. 

 

Norman.

kozulich's picture
kozulich

I don't know how it is where you live, but I used to think the same thing about the town where I live, Omaha.  No good place to get bulk flour.  Then one day, on a lark, I stopped in a bakery supply warehouse and just asked whether they would sell retail.   Yes, they said, certainly they would but the bags of flour were all 50 pounds, was that OK?  So I looked over the flours.  They carry an artisan bread flour called King Wheat which is an 11-12% protein flour and is available either bleached or unbleached.  They also carry a high gluten unbleached flour called All Trumps which is 13.4-14.4% protein.  How much? About $15 for a 50 lb bag (price varies according to commodity prices).  That beats Sam's price, and I'm guessing it also beats Sam's quality. These are Gold Medal brand artisan flours by General Mills.  Now I'm just looking to get together a Coop of local "The Fresh Loaf" members to split the 50 lb bags.  That's probably too much flour for just me.  I guess what I'm saying is don't overlook bakery supply houses.  Somebody has to supply the bakeries and restaurants in your area, and maybe they'll sell retail just like they do here.

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

It's understandable that a 50# of flour is a little big. If you are waiting for a co-op group to form, you can always go over to your nearest "Bag-N-Save" store to buy Dakota Maid flours. When I was in Omaha in December, a 10# bag of bread flour was about $5.50. The AP is quite close to bread flour except in the ash quantity which is a little lower. The stoneground whole wheat isn't bad and worth a try.

Dakota Maid has a website that will get into the particulars. The mill is owned by the state of N. Dakota and sells a lot of flour to professionals. If you haven't tried it yet, check them out.

kozulich's picture
kozulich

Thanks, I have a Bag-n-Save just about 1/2 mile from my house, but I've never tried the Dakota Maid flours.  Good to know.  The price sounds right.

PClark's picture
PClark

when I bought some Sam's four for cookies. I was doing Christmas cookie baking and money is always a bit tight so I tried Sam's flour for cookies, etc.  I baked a pumpkin bread just for us and imagine my sadness when it had tiny white spots in it. I should have worn my glasses when I mixed it up, I guess. So anyway I realized that the four had lumps in it that did not mix or whisk out. Fine for recipes the required sifting but most of my cookie recipes did not. I ended up sifting all 25 pounds of it before putting it in my container. I had divided it into 5 pound bags and put in the freezer. So no more Sam's flour for me. It may have been that I got a bad bag, but I somehow doubt that.

Home Baker's picture
Home Baker

For me, Sam's Club bread flour works well-enough for yeast risen doughs that go into the oven within a few hours of their first mix but it isn't strong enough for long, slow rises. Because it breaks down before the flour really has time to develop the rich flavors I find it unsuitable for many uses.

With that said, and because I bought too much of it before I knew it wasn't strong enough for all standard uses, I still use it for mixing both highly enriched doughs (like ITJB's Vienna bread) and for mixing together a quick pizza or flatbread. It's also useful for practicing shaping and folding techniques.

At 32 cents/pound, the price is OK but I won't buy Sam's Club bread flour again. Kroger's house brand unbleached bread flour at $1.39 for five pounds is cheaper, similar strength, and I can get it unbleached.

Has anyone figured out whether or not the Sam's Club brand is bromated?

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Re their high gluten flour:

  • 50 lb. bag
  • Hotel & restaurant quality
  • Enriched
  • Bleached
  • Bromated
  • High gluten flour
  • Recipes on back
  • Ideal for thin crust pizza, bagels, hearth breads and kaiser rolls

http://www.samsclub.com/sams/shop/product.jsp?productId=163843

Home Baker's picture
Home Baker

I suspected it was bromated but the label gave no indication. Guess the birds will be eating the rest of the shape-practice loaves and rolls I make with remaining stock.