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?