The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Cold Flour, experiment?

shinningpearl's picture

Cold Flour, experiment?

I've been making sandwich bread for the past 8 months (three times a week), I struggled to get a good rise, realized I was using too much flour.  But I've still been struggling to get really fluffly bread (my husband loves it, I like a nice hearty wheat, but it's for his lunch not mine).  I weigh all my ingredients and my receipe hasn't changed in months.  

Well, on Monday, I had to get my  flour out of the freezer because my storage container was empty and also my yeast (usually kept in the fridge, with the extra in the freezer).  My bread flour was at room temp (10 oz).  Well the dough almost felt too dry when I hand kneeded it after my kitchen aid did the hard work.  But it did have nice glutten formation (window pane).  

My dough rose nicely on the proof and was more stable on the second rise, and in the oven it actually ROSE, A LOT!!!

The texture was so fine, almost like sponge cake or wonder bread.  It kept well and wasn't dry at all the next day for lunch and even this morning I send my daughter with soft bread in her lunch.  The only difference is the cold yeast and cold flour.  So last night I weighed my all-purpose flour in a paper bag and stuck it in the freezer and put my yeast in the freezer too.  

I had the same results today (I haven't cut it yet).  

Could someone who makes bread try it and see if works for them? Everyone says to warm the flour unless it's for biscuts, but the dough wasn't sticky and I used the same amount of flour.  I'm thinking because it was cold and super dry, it was able to absorb the water better and lock on to it.  

AnnaMagnani's picture

Hi, Pearl.  By "fluffy," do you mean "soft?"  If so, I can offer a couple of hints.


Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Cooling the dough will make it more manageable.  Using cold flour and yeast does two things, stiffens the dough so you are less apt to add flour during mixing and kneading and the cool dough is delaying your yeast reaction so the flour can fully hydrate first.   It could be that your mixer is heating up the dough too much with friction and that by chilling the flour, you are compensating.  This is the first time I've heard about "warming up the flour" with exception to biscuits.  If your flour is heated above pantry temps before using, it might be why there is a tendency to add too much flour in the beginning of dough mixing.  

Another method you might want to try:  instead of chilling the flour and yeast, use ice water and/or less yeast in your recipe.  It could it be that the yeast in your recipe needs a little tweaking to slow down the rises to fit you.  Try one change at a time and see if it helps you achieve your goal.  :)