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Mexican flour to make artisan-style bread

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Pablo's picture
Pablo

Mexican flour to make artisan-style bread

Hi,

I live in Mexico.  I've purchased incredibly expensive US flours here to continue to make artisan style breads.  Now I'm trying to use the local Mexican flour, but with very poor results.  Even if I can get a good rise the bread has a flat, kind of bisquity quality to it.  I notice that from the local pizzaria as well.  I'm hoping to find something to augment the local flour.  I've tried some gluten but without much success as yet.

Has anyone had experience with this?

Thanks for any info.

Paul

jastar's picture
jastar

Paul/Pablo:  I spent several months a year in Mexico.  I find it difficult to make good bread with the Mexican flour despite adding gluten.  I did once find some Gold Medal flour at Walmart, but it was a one off.  The gluten does help, but not much.  I have been told that the Chadrui stores have more "gringo" products so will have to try there for flour next time I am down for any length of time.

Jastar

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

AP flour.  It is my favorite flour to make bread mixed with home milled whole grains.  It is 11.2 % protein and makes great bread all on its own.  It is 35 cents a pound in 20 pound bags here in Phoenix but less in Mexico.

rpinet's picture
rpinet

Sí, Pablo. Yo vivo en la frontera, así que la harina "del otro lado" no es tan difícil de conseguir. Hace poco alguien me dijo que hay una compañía lamada Puratos http://www.puratos.com.mx/es/ que hace harinas muy aceptabes y, sobre todo, las documenta (lo que no hacen grandes compañías como El Rosal). Otra opción: mi hermana, que vive en Querétaro, usa unos "acondicionadores" de harina, que son una mezcla de precursores de gluten con ácidos. Suerte.

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Mi español no es muy bueno en este momento, estamos estudiando pero... poco a poco, no es fácil.  Gracias por la información.

Pablo

BetsyMePoocho's picture
BetsyMePoocho

Pablo,

Yes I do have the same frustrations living down here.  We live in Baja Sur in a small fishing village named San Juanico.  It is four hours north of La Paz.

I have attempted to supplement some local flours with Vital Gluten from Bob's Red Mill.  It does help but just doesn't make it.  So, for my chewy doughs like Pizza dough, sour dough's, bagels, etc. I have to draw on friends coming down to bring some good bread flour.

Now, good news……. I have found a remarkable local flour that has a protein of 11.2g.  It preforms like an AP and I found it to be great to use for French baguettes and several other things.

My problem with some of the other local flours is that I think it is ground mainly for tortilla's,,, very fine.  I'm probably incorrect, but it just does not preform for the "chewy" types of doughs.

So, when I get someone to "pack-muel" a 50lb bag of hi-gluten bread flour down I break it down into 1 gallon zip bags and keep it in a special fridge so "little-friends" don't blossom.

If you find a brand that works for you and is local please, please send me the information!  But see if you have the following flour where you are.

 

6532.

 

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I'm currently using the Chapala flour that Betsy has recommended.  It hasn't worked out too well for me as yet.  Maybe there's some magical mode of dealing with it that I just haven't found yet.  I like to just use flour, water, and salt.  Just a basic "house bread".  But I like lots of pop in the oven and big, open crumb.  I'm thinking of trying a small local store that imports a lot of things and perhaps they can import cases of Bob's or King Arthur for me.Paul

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

 to the flour?  

or try one egg white (weigh into the water) for 500g flour and see what it does for you.

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Hi Mini,

Would lime work the same as lemon?  There're tons of limes down here, basically called "lemons" and very few of the yellow lemons we're used to.

Thanks for the suggestions, I'll give them a try.  I don't know if you remember me from years ago, but I'm back.

Paul

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

and yes, I remember.  I don't think enough folks have seen your sourdough video that takes the complexity out for understanding sourdough dough making.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCBxX42GQmU 

Welcome back!  Give the lime a try and see what happens.  Start with a teaspoon per 500g flour and go up from there.  

You might also want to try a Tangzhong type approach with another loaf.  Thicken (gel) a little bit of the water with a small amount of flour heating it up... let cool and incorporate into the dough.  I would have to look up the amounts but it is something like 5% of the total flour weight cooked with 10 times that 5% for the water weight, then subtract from the recipe water.  (that's a rough estimate)  May have to adjust, adding a spoon or two of water if you let the mixture cook to long, you only need to let the mixture thicken just before it cooks out a "blurp."

After trying a few different things with the local flour, compare and combine if you still need to.

Pablo's picture
Pablo

I'll try those things and report back.  Thanks!!

Pablo

 

PeterS's picture
PeterS

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/32045/posible-get-unbleached-flour-un-mexico

Is there a local bakery that you can ask if they will sell you some flour? In the US, I have found small local bakers to be helpful. I know that many Chicagoland panaderias prefer bleached flours and, if that is any indication of the Mexican market, unbleached flour may be more difficult to obtain. Maybe you have a local artisan baker using it?

Reposada Alta Proteina from Sam's Club Mexico looks to be about 11.5-12% high quality protein--which would make it a an all-purpose/bread flour like product. Gruma SA, the largest miller in Mexico who also make & distribute the Robin Hood brand in Mexico and South America, sell to Sam's Club. The listing does not say if it is bleached or not, my guess is that it is. Beware, they are 44kg bags; Mexican bakers must be stronger than their US and Canadian counterparts where the large bags are 50lb or 20kg :)

Here are several flour mills with higher protein products several of which are available in smaller packages which I take to be retail products. If the protein is high quality, they would be good for crusty breads.

Harinas Elizondo the advertised products are all bleached.

Harinera Beleño advertise several flours that should work for crusty hearth breads. They show the Centenario in 1 kg bags.

Harinera Guadalupe Optima

Any mill is can make unbleached flour. It is possible that they have unbleached versions that are not generally listed; however, they may not be readily available is smaller quantities.

You could try emailing these companies and asking who distributes or sells their products near where you live.

BetsyMePoocho's picture
BetsyMePoocho

Pablo,

Here is a hi-gluten bread flour that I have found, but it is 'bleached' using benzoid peroxide.  I know that most of us prefer not to use bleached flours and I certainly try to avoid them.  Although living in Baja, with the same problem you are having on mainland, I find myself using 'bleached' bread flours quite often.

Cornelius, my old sourdough starter, has never minded my using the bleached flours.  I guess that he is a strong little cuss.

Like I said before, most of my bread flours are brought down to me in 50 pound bags by friends.  I try to ask them to get 'unbleached', but beggars can not be to choosey.  I would dearly love to find something down here so I don't have to humble myself to friends…… Although they all say that they don't mind.

Anyway here is some literature on a hi-gluten bread flour from the following Mexican site:

http://www.canimolt.org/harina/marcas-de-harina-de-trigo/Harinas-Elizondo

It looks pretty good, but again it is 'bleached'…… 

I'm going to contact them and ask if it can be purchased in Baja Sur, California.  And also ask some local suppliers where I am about it.  Although they are is short supply in Baja.

Stay positive and keep on the 'hunt'…….

 

Fresh Mama's picture
Fresh Mama

I do not like flavor of the Espuma de Chapala at all and prefer Selecta brand 10% protein.  I love to bake pizza, pitas and pan de mie using recipes from programs Juilia Child did with expert chefs but also make cinnamon rolls, biscotti, scones and croissants.  No one complains.   

Pablo, what type of oven are you baking with and could the altitude/climate be a factor?  I'm always so pleased with everything I make so would be very hesitant to recommend what I'm using since I'm a bit inexperienced and still learning about baking.  I've been buying my white flours at Costco and wheat flours in Abastos, Guadalajara.  The last wheat flour purchase, the kilo bags of flour all had a hue of cinnamon flavor to which we are puzzled.

Lemon juice is also a substitute for cream of tarter and yes, lime juice works just fine.

Pablo's picture
Pablo

Thanks for the comments and suggestions.  I've found a little local grocery that carries Bob's and I'm going to stick with that for now.  I'm not a fancy baker either; we just like to have home made bread around.  The oven is in the stove that came with the house and it's not much to write home about.  I know people make amazing breads with equipment that is less sophisticated than this, but I'm spoiled.  We're looking to replace the stove.

Anyway, thanks again for the help and happy baking to everyone.

Paul

Fresh Mama's picture
Fresh Mama

I was looking for an online Facebook baker's group in our area but didn't find one so I started one this afternoon if anyone is interested.   I've read this forum for a couple of years, it's very resourceful but still get lost in the forum :)https://www.facebook.com/groups/breadbakerslakechapala/