The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

'Soft' AP flour, mixing flours? What to do?

katyajini's picture

'Soft' AP flour, mixing flours? What to do?

What is AP flour anyway?

The 'quaity' of an AP flour, what it brings to the taste and texture of the finished bread, my gaaawd, varies so widely from brand to brand.  Not to mention there is bleached and unbleached.  Even when they tell you say 11% protein, two flours of the same protein content give you such different results.

The reason I am coming back to this ground zero is this.  I used to make a cinnamon roll recipe which always worked deliciously for me and I haven't made it for a long time.  At the time I used GM UB AP flour.  I just don't use that flour anymore.  I wrote about that on a thread.  The rolls had structure you could eat them wiith a knife and a fork, but not at all mushy, but they would melt in your mouth, not chewy, tough, nor had to be torn with your teeth or fingers.

I just made them again, but this time with Wheat Montana AP flour (which in my baking feels a lot like KAF AP). I really had no idea the rolls would come out SO diiferent with this flour which I like a lot.  The moment I made the dough I knew this is too firm, this is not what I remember, and adding more liquid (which I did) wont do that much.  They looked beautiful but were so tough and chewy.  Not the same pastry at all, in a bad way.

And I think I am guessing correcty, its the higher gluten content (maybe also balance of different proteins) in the Wheat Montana flour that is responsible for the toughness.

So what is a 'soft' AP flour that works well for rolls and breads that you want to be 'soft'? Of course I could go back to GM UB AP but I don't want to.  Pillsbury UB AP?  

Could I mix KAF AP with say White Lily AP (which is bleached)? And what portion should I mix?  Or should I use all White Lily AP?  Or would that be too 'soft'.  Or mix with Softsilk cake flour?

Well I am confused and would lie some direction (and mastery hopefully).

I would really appreciate it if someone would guide me towards a 'soft' AP flour either by mixing flours or otherwise!

Thank you.


jimbtv's picture

When comparing wheat flours think about your experience. Bagels and pizza - very chewy. Cakes and muffins - they fall apart just by looking at them. Bagels and pizza dough are made with high-protein flours ( around 14%) while cakes and muffins are made with low protein flours (around 8 - 10%).

Within the proteins are glutenin and gliadin, which when exposed to water bond into strands we call gluten. Gluten serves to provide structure and along with the gases generated by fermentation and proofing, cause our dough to rise and keep its shape throughout the bake. The higher the protein content the more potential for gluten, but more gluten translates into chewiness.

Gluten takes time to develop and will go from a sloppy mess (weak gluten) to a well-formed structure (peak gluten development), then back to a sloppy mess (gluten breakdown). I suppose one could use a high-gluten flour and then bake on the outsides of the peak gluten bell curve in order to avoid the chewiness. That's a gamble at best so I might suggest you use a flour with a lower protein content.

Lower protein flours generally accept less hydration so you may have to adjust your formula a bit. You also may want to look into osmotolerant yeast, if you are using yeast in your pastries.