The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

New country, same recipes, different results

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drdudidu's picture

New country, same recipes, different results

I started to bake bread and sourdough breads when I lived in Boston, and got great results. A year ago I moved to Israel and everything has changed. The dough feels so different, usually much more wet although I use the same recipes as in the US. It rises much less, and oven spring is significantly more modest.

I don't know which factor is responsible for that, but there are many. Of course it is warmer here (although our apartment in Boston was heated very well during winters). The flours are different (in the US I used KA bread flour, which contains 12.7% protein. Bread flour in Israel has only 11). My oven is different too - I have 90cm broad oven, for which I have a great difficulty getting good steam (although baking in a dutch oven improves my results very modestly).

Today I started Anis Boubsa baguettes. I don't remember having such a wet dough that resembled more of a cake batter than a dough! And it was exactly the same recipe as before.What a disappointment. I used more flour at the end, and the consistency improved. But the last time I baked those baguettes in Israel they were so flat.

Once I tried to add gluten to the flour. But the dough became so elastic that it was really hard to work with, and it didn't really improve rising.

I miss so much the breads I used to bake in America, with those beautiful big bubbles. My breads became so dense, and they don't rise much.

i will appreciate any idea for improvement.


Shai's picture

Are you using a new mixer? 

I know from experience that the flours in Israel are well capable of forming strong gluten and beautiful loaves. 

Both the bread flour and AP flour that you can find at the markets will perform well with hydration as high as 75 to 80 %. Make sure to give the dough a proper autolise and a few good sets of S&Fs. 

Would you mind sharing your recipe? 

clazar123's picture

Even flour from the same miller-bag-to bag- can be different and have different characteristics.  You will have to adapt your recipes and techniques to the local flour and conditions and see where you need to go. This just demonstrates why a recipe is only a guideline. So much depends on local products and conditions.

Are you still using natural leaven (sourdough) as your yeast? The increased warmth can make a very big difference! Give us an idea of a recipe and technique and more remedies may be thought of for you.

hanseata's picture

with Clazar.

Flours vary, and it took me quite a while to adapt my German recipes to US flours, after I came to Maine.

European flours, same as those from Israel, have less protein than American flours, and think of all the wonderful breads European bakers produce.

From the beautiful bread photos I saw from Israeli bakers in facebook, they are well able to achieve that, too.


dabrownman's picture

VWG.  i use it all the time to go from 10% AP to 12.5% bread flour and it works fine..   My VWG is 65% gluten so it would only take 16 g of VWG to take 11% flour to 12.7% protein bread flour for every 500 g of 11% protein flour.

I bet you will want to decrease the hydration if you use 11% protein flour in order to get it to work right.   Stay after it and I'm sure you will be making great bread again.  Maybe a bakery will sell you some better flour?

Happy baking

bakert85's picture

I am a home baker and i live in israel so i can help you with some advice because im familiar with these problems.

the biggest problem is that flour in israel is realy bad quality and has  little gluten and even less flavor. the best generic flour is "shtibel no.2" it has more gluten than most but still little flavor.

what i found to be the best option is buying something called "baladi" flour: its like a high extraction flour that you buy in 25 kg sacks and has good gluten and good flavor. near beer sheva theres a bedouin city called rahat and they have a flour mill that sells that flour. its the best one ive found so far.

hope that information helped, good luck.


drdudidu's picture

Yes, I mainly blame the flour, I could feel it. It's not that I'm getting awful results in Israel, but in Boston it was much better - the volume was much bigger, larger bubbles, better oven rise, the crumb so more glossy and shiny. In Israel it is more flat, more dense, less oven rise, more deflating when scoring....

As you asked I attached some photos. First those in Boston. I will post a new comment with my results in Israel. I never get such bubbles in Israel :(






drdudidu's picture

Not that bad. They still look good and taste great. But I miss those bubbles :)

dabrownman - I read there are different types of gluten to add - how can I know I have the right one? And as I said before it didn't really improve the results

Baker85 - I do use stiebel2 which is a bread flour, but still it doesn't have enough gluten (only 11 gr)

I will try to look for the Bedouin flour you mentioned - thanks!!!