The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Greetings! I've taken the bread baking plunge!

  • Pin It
Yeasty_Beasty's picture
Yeasty_Beasty

Greetings! I've taken the bread baking plunge!

For quite a few years now I've wanted to be able to make a nice loaf of bread at home.    I've tried and failed many times over the years, but never bothered to really dig my heels into it.    The most successful bread I've made in the past is probably the infamous "No Knead" bread baked in a dutch oven.  

Well, recently I've decided to tackle bread baking.   I love bread.   I love baguettes, Kaiser rolls, Naan, sourdough, rye, soda.....I don't think I've ever had a bread I didn't like.   When I was younger I'd go to the local bakery, buy a fresh loaf of bread and sit down and eat the entire thing.  Of course, I don't do that any more and am actually watching my carbohydrate intake, so I am not even eating bread at the moment.  

This site has been an excellent source of information and inspiration.    The level of skill displayed by the members of this site is astonishing!   I can only hope to achieve half the success as some.    For the past few weeks I've tried making numerous types of bread.   Most were dismal failures, but I've had some success with both IDY breads and levain breads.

One of the first things I did was seek out a local supply of "quality" flour.   Luckily for me, there is a mill close by so I drove over and picked up 10kg of strong unbleached flour (amongst other flours and grains).   I proceeded to make some 1-2-3 levain breads and some IDY/ADY breads with eventual success.  However, as I pursued higher hydration breads, like some levain breads and baguettes, I ran into serious issues.   Ultimately, what I discovered [20kg later] is the flour I am using just doesn't absorb water like you would expect a bread flour to do.   My most recent, and best, bread was made today using grocery shelf unbleached AP flour.    

So, I have a bit of a dilemma that I need to resolve.    I recently picked up a 20kg bag of this strong flour and am not sure I want to keep using it.   I am likely to just mix it in with some AP flour to see how the results turn out.    I live in Canada, so getting the popular artisan flours used by many on this site is a bit of a challenge; and honestly, I really shouldn't even have to resort to that.   We grow plenty of wheat here!  So I should be able to get some good flour too!

I'd be curious to know what other Canadian bakers use for making bread.

Thanks!

Floydm's picture
Floydm

Welcome!

Cutting your strong flour with some AP makes sense to me.

I'm in BC and my day-to-day flour has been Rogers AP or Bread Flour.  Anita's Organic and Nunweiler's are two smaller Canadian brands that I bake with quite often too.  They are both quite nice.

Yeasty_Beasty's picture
Yeasty_Beasty

Thanks Floydm.   I did a bit more "net" research about the Arva bread flour and it appears that my experience is shared - often a very sloppy, slack, watery dough.   Someone even mentioned they had an "expert friend" analyze the strong flour and the protein content was quite low for a  bread flour, but suggested waiting a several months until the flour matured.  I have no idea if that will help or not, but I plan on trying it.

I might be able to get some Rogers flour here, but I do shop at several of the retail locations the website indicates as selling their products, but have never seen it.  I guess I will check a few locations and see what I find.   Otherwise, I am probably going to drive up to Oak Manor Farms or maybe even Grain Process Enterprises in Scarborough, ON.   Worst case, I will order online.