The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

King Arthur AP - what's your experience?

tarheel_loafer's picture

King Arthur AP - what's your experience?

I'm wondering what kind of results others have gotten with it for higher hydration breads. After reading a few books that recommended around 11.5-12% protein for country bread, I switched from bread flour to King Arthur AP in my last two bakes, which is right in that range. The results were underwhelming. The height and oven spring wasn't as good, the crust was thicker, and the crumb was whiter, denser, and chewier. I still got the big air pockets here and there, but the smaller bubbles were generally smaller. Not awful, tasted fine, but tough and chewy and not that exciting.

I've tried both a 90/10 and 80/20 mix of white and whole wheat flour, at around 75-78% hydration. I didn't do anything different with bulk ferment or shaping for them, and they went in the oven after about a 4 hr room temp proof. Slightly under-proofed, but a decent rise in the basket. I'm definitely still learning the ropes on shaping and proofing, but if anything these were better than previous, I'm learning as I go. Anyway, what's your experience and recommendation? I can switch back to bread flour, but that feels like a crutch if it should work well with the AP. I guess if I invert the question - what poor techniques might the bread flour be covering up, that the AP is exposing?


dablues's picture

But, KAF company is super!  They have a baker's hot line, also email.  They will help you out.  I've called them several times with questions not even using their recipes and always have been helpful and answered my question.  Since yours is a bit more complexed, would advise emailing them with your question and they will get back to you.  That is, if you can't get any other help on this.

Maverick's picture

I used to use KAF AP all the time. I never had problems with the AP, but did find the KAF bread flour easier to develop (which makes sense). Considering the fact that  their AP is closer to the bread flour of other brands, it shouldn't cause so many problems. I usually had to do an extra stretch and fold, or knead it a little longer depending on the technique I was using. You really have to go by feel rather than a set of instructions. I found the mouthfeel of the AP to be different. Mostly, the bread flour was chewier I guess. Sometimes I wanted that, other times I didn't. If it weren't for that difference, I would have been using the bread flour all the time for the ease of use.

Now that I am using mostly whole wheat, I use the KAF Bread flour for the small percentage of white flour in my bakes. I figured the slight extra gluten strength will help offset the issues whole wheat creates when looking for more volume.

phaz's picture

Just a note on ka - their selling point is they provide a very consistent product. They don't mill their stuff, they contract it out, but they have a very tight spec which ensures consistency across their product line. And no, I don't work for ka (although I do live about an hour away from their headquarters). I just like you know what I'm buying and have researched them. Fwiw - the higher the protein content the more gluten thou will get - if given enough time to allow it to develope. When I went from the usual ap flour (10% protein) to high protien content (almost 17%) it took a lot longer to develope a good window pane. Good luck!