The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bob's "Artisan Bread Flour" - 14% protein?

Thor Simon's picture
Thor Simon

Bob's "Artisan Bread Flour" - 14% protein?

With the elimination of Harvest King in small bags, and with KA AP prices sky-high at stores near me, I've been looking for a new, moderate-to-strong bread flour for general use.

In the past I'd avoided the Bob's products since they're straight flours, and measuring and adding malt is a nuisance -- plus malt powder cakes up like mad and I never use it all before I have to replace it.

But there seems to be a new Bob's product, "Artisan Bread Flour" which does have added barley malt and is advertised on the bag as "perfect for pizza crusts...baguettes..." etc.  I figured it was probably in the 12% range and comparable to KA Bread Flour, which I do buy sometimes and mix 50-50 with GM Unbleached AP for artisan breads.

However, the Bob's site, while it has no spec sheet for any of their flours, claims in its Q&A section that this flour has "13-15% protein".  Can it be?  That'd basically make it equivalent to All Trumps or KASL -- hardly a good flour for general artisan baking, but useful for pizza, bagels, high percentage whole-grain breads, etc.

I bought 10lb and will experiment.  But has anyone else here baked with this stuff?

kendalm's picture

Yes I have bald with this flour and say right off the bat that it hardly bakes the perfect baguette in fact far from it especially considering that for good baguette the lower the protein is usually better - flavor-wise it was very bland but ten again I bake with French flour. Bobs products are great if and hen you are in need of a hard to find bean flour or other substance ground to a pulp but as for the artisan line it seems more a marketing ploy :\

Lazy Loafer's picture
Lazy Loafer

I don't use Bob's flour (too expensive), but I do have a question. You say your malt 'powder' cakes up like mad, and that confuses me. I use DME (dried malt extract) sometimes, which is mostly malt sugar and does get sticky and clumpy sometimes. But this is extracted from mashed malted grain, and the temperature usually deactivates the enzymes thus rendering it non-diastatic.

I buy malted barley from my local brewing shop and mill the green malt into flour. It's diastatic malt and basically just flour, so it doesn't clump any more than any other of my flours do. I use the DME for flavouring in some breads, and the diastatic malt flour with grains that I mill myself. If I am using any commercial bread flour in the dough I don't add the malt because my bread flour already has malt added to it and I don't want to turn my dough into soup!

Now, I'm not sure I'm right on any of this, which is why I'm asking. :)

IceDemeter's picture

or the equivalent?  If so, then the clumping issue would be from the added sugar (what they sell as "diastatic malt powder" is a mixture of their malt-added flour, sugar, and then some extra malted barley:

Using just straight malted barley or wheat or rye from a brew shop would most likely get rid of that issue.

I'm another one who finds the Bob's flour too expensive, but I quite often bake with plain AP flour that does not have any added malt.  Sometimes I choose to add diastatic rye malt, and sometimes I choose to bake without it (depending on how much and what whole grains I am including).  Realistically, you might want to try a comparison bake with that bag of Bob's that you purchased and with a different plain flour that doesn't have malt added, and see what difference it actually makes for you with your favourite recipe.  You may find that you actually prefer the results that you get without malt.

kendalm's picture

I get the extract from a brew supplier and it is essentially the sugars extracted from the malt itself and in powder form is very sticky and 'cakey' - the diastaic powder which I buy but don't grid is essentially flour and does not cake. Of I am adding extract to dough I add it by dissolving it into te water and if adding diastaic poweder that goes into the flour as a pinch of malted flour so maybe the OP is actually using DME - good point you just made !