The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Flour evaluation - Francine bio T55

kendalm's picture

Flour evaluation - Francine bio T55

Just in case anyone has relied in for the flour needs you may have recently discovered their website has mysteriously gone offline with little explanation of why what and when. For me this was a massive disappointment as they have have been about the only source of quality T55 and T65 flours in USA and so having depleted my own supply a few weeks ago panicked and found some alternative sources for T55. The only other brand that appears to be available is francine which is more a supermarket brand. So today I completed a bake and thought I would share the results. First off this flour is only available in 1kg portions which is not so convenient especially if you bake a lot and prefer lager quantities (I go through about 15kg a month). The second immediate,observation is this flour is really light which is sort of expected for a t55 and additionally fairly bland aroma. In terms of kneading it was great - came together quickly and resulted in an incredibly smooth ball of dough. There are absolutely no improvers in this flour so to augment I added a smidge of ascorbic acid and about 0.02% diastatic malt. From here did 1.5hour bulk followed by a 6th cold retard - it rose a tad slower that usual bit overall did pretty well - actually it just seemed to take an extra 20 minutes to start showing activity so in reality I did almost 2hr bulk before setting it away in the refrigerator. The shaping and scoring was very easy with no wrestling the dough (which is how I feel about dealing with American flour - even the weakest AP resists shaping out long loaves) the most obvious difference here was the flavor - as can be seen in the photo the crumb is really white and tastes rather plain. Not sutebhoebibfeelnavout this flour just yet but plan to try upping the malt content as well as longer retard as 6 hours is really the minimum time I would never ferment for overnight.  Interesting experience and will try to coax more character from this flour next time :)


Stuart Borken's picture
Stuart Borken

You know exactually what to do.  A smidgen of ascorbic acid and some diastatic malt and a much longer cold fermentation would give you more flavor.

IceDemeter's picture

favourite flour supplier has apparently disappeared on you, especially after so many hours and so many bakes perfecting the techniques needed to bring out the very best in their flour.

I have no doubt that you will be able to work out a timing and adders and technique to make this flour taste far better than your results from this first bake, but don't know whether to feel sympathy for you because you have to or to be happy for you for the fun you're going to have in triumphing over this new challenge!

I'm looking forward to the details ;)

Best, Laurie

kendalm's picture

L' is back online - just received a detailed email from Phillippe and apparently they relocated their warehouse.  This last few weeks really showcased the difficulty in acquiring really quality flour in usa and glad to say the man is back!