The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

King Arthur Flour's picture

King Arthur Flour

Hello all.  I'm new to the bread machine world, really, baking in general.  I just got an Oster machine and have been using King Arthur bread flour, with recipes both from the instruction booklet and from The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook.  In every case, the mix is way too dry and I have to add liquid during the knead cycle.  If not, it's just a flaky mess.

So, is King Arthur flour too... something?  Are the recipes calibrated for a different brand or type of flour?


Any ideas appreciated.



Antilope's picture

No two people will fill a cup full of flour the same way. The cup may contain 4 oz of flour or it may contain 5 oz of flour. The only way to assure accuracy is to weigh the flour and liquids in the recipe.

For bread machine recipes the total weight of all liquids (including eggs, water or milk, but not including sugar syrups, honey or oils) should be about 60% the weight of the flour. So at least weight the flour and the total liquids in the recipe. This makes a hand kneadable dough, perfect for the bread machine. Example, for 500 grams of flour, use 300 grams of liquids (60% the flour weight). Even when weighing ingredients, you still may have to make slight adjustments.

Even though I weigh my ingredients, I still monitor the first couple of minutes of mixing and kneading in my bread machine and make adjustments to the dough moisture. Any flour can be moister or drier due to humidity, so some adjustment to the dough is usually necessary. You want a dough that is not too dry and crumbly and not sticky. The dough ball should hold its shape and be smooth. It should be a dough that you could remove from the bread machine and knead by hand.

jcking's picture

Yes KA Bread flour is really too strong for a Bread Machine. Use either KA AP or another brand of Bread Flour and do weigh the ingredients. Yet if you want a very sturdy loaf, in the Bread Machine, use KA Bread plus additional water.


dosco's picture

...what Antilope said.



Antilope's picture


Wheat Flour Protein:

-Protein levels range from about 7% in pastry and cake flours to as high as about 15% in high-gluten bread flour.

-Protein percentage indicates the amount of gluten available in the a given flour. Gluten is the substance which develops when the flour protein, which occurs naturally in wheat flour, is combined with liquid and kneaded.

-Because gluten is able to stretch elastically, it is desirable to have a higher gluten flour for yeast-raised products, which have doughs that are stretched extensively; like pizza, most yeast breads, and bagels.

-For cakes, pie crusts, cookies, biscuits, pancakes, waffles and pastry to be short and crumbly or tender, a lower protein flour is better. Also, in higher gluten flours, the gluten can overpower the chemical leaveners like baking powder or baking soda, causing the final baked goods to not rise as high.

-Hard winter wheat, mainly grown in the north, has a higher protein and more gluten, 10% to 13%. 
Most northern and national brand all-purpose flours, bread flour and high-gluten flour is made from hard winter wheat.

-Soft summer wheat, mainly grown in the south, has a lower protein and lower gluten, 8% to 10% 
Most cake, pastry and southern all-purpose flour is made from soft summer wheat.

Bleaching flour does a couple of things, it whitens the flour and it also alters the flour protein causing it to form weaker gluten. Most U.S. cake flours are bleached.
CAKE FLOUR - 7% to 9.4% protein
Best Use: cakes, blending with national brands all-purpose flour to make pastry flour or Southern flour substitute.
-King Arthur Queen Guinevere Cake Flour, 7.0%
-King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour Blend, 9.4% 
-Pillsbury Softasilk Bleached Cake Flour, 6.9%
-Presto Self Rising Cake Flour, 7.4%
-Swans Down Bleached Cake Flour, 7.1%
PASTRY FLOUR - 8 to 9% protein
Best Use: biscuits, cookies, pastries, pancakes, pie crusts, waffles.
-King Arthur Unbleached Pastry Flour, 8%
-King Arthur Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, 9%
Best Use: biscuits, cookies, muffins, pancakes, pie crusts, quick breads, waffles.
-Martha White Bleached All-Purpose Flour, 9%
-White Lily Bleached All-Purpose Flour, 8 to 9%
SELF-RISING FLOUR (flour, baking powder, salt) - 8 to 10.5% protein
Best Use: biscuits, cookies, pancakes, muffins, quick breads, waffles. 
-Gold Medal Bleached Self-Rising Flour, 10.5%
-King Arthur Unbleached Self-Rising Flour, 8.5%
-Martha White Bleached Self-Rising Flour, 9.4%
-Pillsbury Best Bleached Self-Rising Flour, 9.7%
-Presto Self Rising Cake Flour, 7.4%
-White Lily Bleached Self-Rising Flour, 8 to 9% 
ALL PURPOSE BAKING MIXES (flour, shortening, baking powder, sugar, salt) - 6.25 to 12.5% protein
Best Use: biscuits, cookies, coffee cakes, pancakes, quick breads, pastry, waffles
-Arrowhead Mills All Purpose Baking Mix, 12.5%
-Bisquick Original Baking Mix, 7.5%
-Jiffy All Purpose Baking Mix, 6.25%
-King Arthur Flour All Purpose Baking Mix, 10%
-Pioneer Original Baking Mix, 7.5%
INSTANT FLOUR 10.5 to 12.6% protein
Best Use: thicken gravies, sauces, and soups without lumps.
-Gold Medal Wondra Quick Mixing Flour, 10.5%
-Pillsbury Best Shake & Blend Flour, 12.6%
Best Use: makes average biscuits, cookies, muffins, pancakes, pie crusts, pizza crusts, quick breads, waffles, yeast breads.
-Gold Medal All-Purpose Flour, 10.5%
-Pillsbury Best All-Purpose Flour, 10 to 11.5%
-Pioneer All-Purpose Flour, 10%
-White Wings All-Purpose Flour, 10%
Best Use: cream puffs, puff pastry, yeast breads, pizza crusts.
-Heckers and Ceresota All-Purpose Flour, 11.5 to 11.9 %
-King Arthur All-Purpose Flour, 11.7%
-Robin Hood All-Purpose Flour, 12.0%
BREAD FLOUR - 11.7 to 12.9% protein
Best Use: traditional yeast breads, bread machine, pizza crusts, pasta.
-Gold Medal Better For Bread, 12% 
-King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour, 12.7%
-Pillsbury Best Bread Flour, 12.9%
-White Lily Unbleached Bread Flour, 11.7%
DURUM WHEAT (Semolina) 13 to 13.5% protein
Best Use: Pasta.
-Hodgson Mill Golden Semolina & Extra Fancy Durum Pasta Flour, 13.3% 
-King Arthur Extra Fancy Durum Flour, 13.3%
WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR - 12.9 to 14% protein
Best Use: hearth breads, blending with other flours.
-Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flour, 13.3%
-King Arthur 100% Whole Wheat Flour, 14%
-King Arthur 100% White Whole Wheat Flour, 14%
-Pillsbury Best Whole Wheat Flour, 12.9%
HIGH-GLUTEN FLOUR 14 to 15% protein
Best Use: bagels, pizza crusts, blending with other flours.
-King Arthur Organic Hi-Gluten Flour, 14% 
-King Arthur Sir Lancelot Unbleached Hi-Gluten Flour, 14.2%
VITAL WHEAT GLUTEN FLOUR, Breadmaking Supplement - 65 to 77% protein
Best Use: Added to raise gluten. Adds extra gluten to low-gluten whole grain flours, such as rye, oat, teff, spelt, or buckwheat.
-Arrowhead Mills Vital Wheat Gluten Flour, 65.0% 
-Bob's Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten Flour, 75.0%
-Gillco Vital Wheat Gluten Flour, 75.0%
-Hodgson Mill Vital Wheat Gluten Flour, 66.6%
-King Arthur Vital Wheat Gluten Flour, 77.8%
Retail Flour Companies - Brands:
-Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods, Milwaukie, Oregon -Bob's Red Mill 
-C.H. Guenther & Son Inc, San Antonio, Texas - Pioneer Flour, Pioneer Baking Mix, White Wings Flour
-General Mills Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota - Bisquick, Gold Medal Flour, (sold US Pillsbury Flour , retains Pillsbury frozen goods)
-Hain Celestial Group Inc, Boulder, Colorado - Arrowhead Mills
-J.M. Smucker Company, Orrville, Ohio - Martha White Flour, Pillsbury Flour, Robin Hood Flour, White Lily Flour
-King Arthur Flour Company, Norwich, Vermont - King Arthur Flour
-Reily Foods Company, New Orleans, Louisiana - Swan's Down Cake Flour, Presto Self Rising Cake Flour
-Uhlmann Company, Kansas City, Missouri - Heckers Flour, Ceresota Flour
To make self-rising flour, add 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp table salt to each cup of flour.
To make a lower protein flour (similar to White Lily or Pastry flour), mix half cake flour with half all-purpose flour.
Another substitute for soft Southern flour, not quite as tender, for each cup of regular all-purpose flour, replace 2 Tablespoons of flour with cornstarch, mix well. (1 cup lightened all-purpose flour = 14 Tbsp flour and 2 Tbsp cornstarch.)
Version 7-6-2013

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

I found Heckers Flour in the Pocono Mountains region of Pennsylvania but can't find it at any of the local supermarkets in the KC, MO area.'s picture

Thank you for the great responses!  As noted, I'm totally new to this, so literally everything is a learning experience for me.  

Another oddity that I've noticed is that the loaf sometimes expands beyond the capacity of the machine and hits the window.  One source I found said that it happens with ingredients that are too new, and to reduce the yeast by 1/2 tsp.  Sound right?



Antilope's picture

the recipe is measured in cups and too much flour was added. Instead of a 2 lb loaf, it could be 2-1/2 lb loaf and so it rises to touch the window, because the loaf is too large for the mixing basket. 

Using other than the recommended type and amount of yeast can have unpredictable results in a bread machine.

When you are baking a manual recipe, you decide how long to knead in a mixer or by hand, you also decide when the dough has risen enough to bake. If using different amounts of Yeast those rising times may be different (let's say 45 minutes vs 1 hour). For a manual recipe, it doesn't make much difference, you just wait longer until the bread has risen enough to bake.

In a bread machine, everything is run by timers. The bread machine timer may give the dough 45 minutes to rise. If the wrong amount of yeast is used, the machine may bake before the dough is risen fully, or it may have risen too much. This was all determined when the manufacturer designed your bread machine. Different models or brands of bread machines can be different. So it's important to follow the manual that comes with it.

jcking's picture

When the loaf hits the roof and you always weigh ingredients, the next factor to check are room and ingredient temperatures.

If not using weights; decrease liquids, or decrease sweeteners, or decrease flour, or decrease yeast, or increase salt. Bread Machine formulas use table salt, other kosher and sea salts weigh out differently.


dabrownman's picture

the same but it is the volume that changes drastically- like Kosher salt being twice the volume of table salt even though each weigh the same 10 g?

jcking's picture

Yes, that's what I hoped to imply.