The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Differences between local vs foreign flour

giyad's picture

Differences between local vs foreign flour


I recently brought with me from Lebanon some wheat flour, but the thing is it only says on the bag wheat flour, and in arabic it says "Zero" Flour.  Theres nothing else on the bag.  I'm trying to figure out what this flour is, in terms of protein content I'm trying to figure out its equivalent.  I noticed a couple of things when I used it on the same recipe as I normally do which consists of 2.5 cups of bread flour and 1 cup of cake flour.

  1. I noticed first of all that the smell is completely different, the bread and cake flour I get here in the US has almost no smell, however the flour from Lebanon almost smells doughy (as if it was already hydrated).
  2. The color, I'm assuming this is white flour because theres another bag that I got which says brown flour, but it is significantly darker than the bread and cake flour, although it isn't as brown or grainy as whole wheat flour that I have here
  3. The consistency before hydrating is practically the same, its just as finely ground, although i do notice some spots in the Lebanese flour which might indicate some bran.
  4. However, what I did notice is that for the same recipe, the flour from Lebanon requires much more flour to be used with the same amount of water.  So for 1.25 cups of water, I'm using around 4.5 cups of flour, while as I said earlier I use 3.5 cups of flour normally.  This is my biggest concern here, why is the same amount of water requiring so much more flour, what can we deduce by this?

I'm assuming there is less protein in this flour and so its gluten development is not as strong which is why it requires more flour, would that be a correct assumption?


nicodvb's picture

but also proteins nature and quality. I'm afraid that mediterrean flours really suck in this respect. Italian flours absorb very little water and develop very poor gluten, really terrible to deal with.