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King Arthur (KA) French style flour

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holds99's picture
holds99

King Arthur (KA) French style flour

Has anyone had any experience baking with King Arthur (KA) French style flour?  I ordered and received a few 3 lb. bags and have been using it to make baguettes (using the poolish and scrap dough method).  I haven't had as much success with this flour as I have had with KA all-pupose flour.  With the KA French style flour the baguettes don't seem to get enough good oven spring and the crust is hard, despite using steam in the oven at the onset of baking.  The interior of the loaves are a bit tacky (the texture of the interior/crumb is slightly damp and tacky, similar to what happens when malt powder is added to the flour mixture, but I'm not using any malt powder).  I also scored them and baked them until they were golden brown, 20-25 minutes.  After several attempts at baguettes; making the dough wetter, being careful not to deflate the dough any more than necessary during shaping, etc.  I went back and read the labels on both the KA French style and KA all-purpose flours and found that the KA French style flour has only 3g of protein per 30g or 10%, whereas, the KA all-purpose flour has 4g of protein per 30g or 13%.  My understanding is that a minimum of 11%-11 1/2% protein is needed to make good baguettes, boules, etc. when using pre-ferment.  My assumption is that protein translates into gluten during the mixing process, right?  Anyway, I sure would appreciate hearing from anyone who has had experience with KA French style flour---or if you could recommend a better flour other than KA all-purpose (if there is one) for making baguettes.

Thanks,

holds99 

Comments

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Hi holds99,

See: http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/4789/demi-baguettes-using-ka-frenchstyle-flour

Regarding % protein translating into gluten forming ability, that's not necessarily so.  Gluten is formed by the combination of two other specific proteins found in flour, glutenin and gliadin.  Flour can have higher levels of protein other than glutenin and gliadin, and thus have a high protein content, but that would translate to poorer gluten forming ability.  As a general rule of thumb, though, most people tend to equate higher protein levels with higher gluten forming ability.

Breadchick's picture
Breadchick

Hi Holds99,

I use this flour fairly regularly when baking baguettes and boules. The key for me has been adujusting my kneading time/technique (about 10 - 15 minutes by hand and 7 - 10 with my stand mixer - a KA Pro V Plus). This longer knead time seems to allow the lower gluten French flour develop better. Also, letting my bread go through two rises vs the one that I use when I make baguettes using the KA AP flour has improved the structure.

The recipe on the back of the KA French flour is OK but the recipe that I have found works fabulous with this flour is the Julia Child French Bread recipe found MtAoFC Volume 2. It is 18 pages long but has worked ever time for me using this flour.

 

 

holds99's picture
holds99

Good Afternoon Breadchick,

Thank you so much for your post.  I had almost given up on hearing from anyone re: K.A. French style flour.  I also have a Kitchen Aid, a 20 year old 5 quart Hobart manufactured mixer made in Troy, Ohio, which is really sound machine and an old friend.  I have 2 bowls, so I can double up on recipes.  I do have Mastering the Art - Vol. I & II.  Years ago I tried Julia's baguette recipe from Vol. II but at that time it was beyond my skill level or comprehension or both.  A few years back I bought Nancy Silverton's Book, Breads From The LaBrea Bakery, and spent a few months going through her recipes with good success.  Very time consuming but the end product is exceptional.  I made the starter with the grapes, that she recommends, and am still using it.  From there I sort of went in a number of directions and have been, for some time, trying to perfect the baguette.  So, that's why I bought the K.A. French style flour, because it was supposed tb contain more ash than all-purpose or bread flour and most closely matched the flour used in good baguettes.  Anyway, since I have been seriously baking for a few years I will pull down Vol. II and give it a try.  Being a great admirer of Julia Child I don't know why I didn't think of that, but I didn't.  I still have 3, 3 pound bags of K.A. French style flour in the freezer.  I was really hoping I could connect with someone who has used this product and am really happy that you responded.   You've been a great help.  I wll also go for the longer knead.  What speed do you run your Kitchen Aid on when kneading?

Thanks again. 

Howard

Breadchick's picture
Breadchick

Hi Howard,

 

I have a Kitchen Aid Pro V Plus and run it at speed 2, using nothing but the dough hook even to combine the ingredients for Julia's baguette.  KA recommends speed 2 for dough hook with my mixer.  I'm jealous that yours is a Hobart.  I grew up around a pro chef (my dad) who had a picture of me as a little girl in pigtails standing in his huge commercial Hobart bowl.  Someday I'm getting rid of my furniture in the front room and buying an old Hobart to put there ;-)   

I love Nancy's book but have never done the grape starter.  I have  3starters that I grew using the King Arthur Baker's Companion recipe for sourdough starter.  I've taken one sweet, one wheat and one is sour.

The KA French flour works very closely to the French flour I brought home a few years ago which is why I have swtiched to it for my baguettes. 

I hope you tell me how things go and if you have any questions while you are working through Julia's recipe, please contact me via my webpage www.breadchick (dot) com

 

Cheers,

Mary aka Breadchick 

 

holds99's picture
holds99

Mary,

Thanks again for your response. I really like Hobart machines.  I would love to have a 12 qt. Hobart but the new ones are very pricey ($3,800). I tracked a few used Hobart 12 quart mixers, which are few and far between, on E-Bay and when they're in good condition they usually sell for in excess of $1,000.  So until I hit the lottery I'll  just keep chugging along with my 5 quart and my 2 bowls. After you posted I took down Master The Art - Vol. II and began reading. I had forgotten how well the French bread section was written.  I think those two books Vol. I and II are probably the best written cook books I have ever used.  Anyway, I'm committed to doing it and I will let you know how I make out with Julia's baguette recipe. As you suggested I will not use the paddle, which I have been using, (switching to the dough hook halfway through the process) and will instead use just the dough hook exclusively on low speed.

Thanks for your web site link and have a good evening       Howard

 

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Holds99 - I recently purchased that flour and I loved it. I've only used it one time so far to make the Parisian daily bread recipe in Daniel Leader's new book, Local Breads. I often make that recipe because it is a delicious baquette recipe in a short time period for those days when you need fresh bread more quickly.

 

I usually use more water than the recipe calls for but other than that compared with the KA Artisan flour I generally use for that recipe it was very comparable and I was really pleased with the French style flour. My crust was exceptional, very crisp, the crumb was beautiful and open and soft but not too soft and they had great oven spring. I'm going to buy more of it to keep on hand.

holds99's picture
holds99

Zolablue,

Thank you for your post and the tips re: making baguettes.  I recently ordered and just received Daniel Leader's book, so your comments are very timely.  I will take your advice and make the dough a bit wetter, as you suggest.  I have read nothing but great comments on Leader's book.

Thanks again,

Howard

zolablue's picture
zolablue

Oh, good that you have the recipe. Look on page 66. I wanted to mention that I also do not do the autolyse on this either. He calls for 20 minutes but I've done it both ways and since it is a small recipe and with his lower hydration the autolyse just served to make the dough seem drier in my experience thus more difficult to mix well.

 

I just dump everything together, add a bit more water as it is mixing just until I see the dough become the consistency I'm looking for and mix it for about 5 minutes on medium speed (DLX) so I'm also not mixing it as much as Leader states. I don't worry about windowpane either on that recipe. I do a couple folds at 30 minute intervals and then let it rise. When it is time to shape the dough I turn on my oven. Generally the baguettes only need about 30 minutes to rise after shaping.

 

That bread is so good for being a quick recipe and I can have it done, meaning from beginning the process to baked loaves out of the oven in four hours! It is what it is and I find it a lovely flavored French baguette to bake in time for dinner. Try it and see what happens. (Sometimes I add a little piece of my sourdough starter just for extra flavor and it is really good, too. I might slightly adjust the salt depending on how much of that goes in.)

 

holds99's picture
holds99

Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions.  I'll being making the baguettes within a week or so and will follow your advice and also let you know how they turn out.  How do you like your DLX?

HO

vogelflug's picture
vogelflug

Looks like you've solved your problem - Breadchick is absolutely right, knead longer and rise twice.  As Jacques Pepin says, time is your friend.  I find the French flour performs really well if you are patient - the KA recipe however is a little to salty for my taste and the crust produced is fine, but not the greatest.