The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

I need desperate help/education

HarryR's picture

I need desperate help/education

I am at wits end.  

I am in Australia and have been baking bread successfully for some time. However, I have always used the Laucke Crusty White bread mix, which I assume has some dough improver in it, and as such have always felt like a bit of a charlatan. I made the decision to start baking with just bread flour but have hit a serious problem. 

When I make bread with bread flour, my bread turns out dense, somewhat rubbery, and with little oven spring. The crumb and crust resemble more a bread made from AP or cake flour. 

I am currently using some premium bakers flour, milled locally, that has a protein content of 11.5%. I have also tried Lighthouse bread flour, and Wallaby bakers flour. These flours all form a stiffer dough than the Laucke for the same hydration, feel less extensible, and have little oven spring and a dense rubbery crumb. 

As an example, I made Hokkaido milk loaf using the Laucke bread mix and it turned out perfect - exactly like the pictures. I made the same loaf with the bread flour and it turned out more like a cake, with a rubbery crumb. 

What is going on??? What flours are people baking with in Australia? Pretty much, to get results that mirror breads made on here, on YouTube, etc, I have to use Laucke bread mix. I feel like I have failed as a baker as I can’t get good results from bakers/bread flour. Can anyone please educate me on Australian bread flours, or what is going on, or going wrong, and how I can get good results using bread flour? 



JerrytheK's picture

I'm fairly new to this board and have been consistently impressed with the positive spirit and willingness to help fellow bakers.

We can help, but we need more information on what recipe you are using.

In my experience, and I'm pretty sure most others would agree, bread baking is both a combination of chemistry — attention to ingredient amounts and timing — and art — the learned ability to see what the dough, time and temperature are doing on any given day.

Please post a recipe you're trying, with as many details as possible, and we can then given our hints and opinions.

HarryR's picture

Here are the ingredients for the Laucke bead mix, if it is of any help: 

Unbleached Wheaten Flour, Non Iodised Salt, Malt Flour (Barley), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Enzymes, Vitamin (Thiamine, Folic Acid).


The bread flours have flour and ascorbic acid, I think. So what is in the bread mix that makes such a  drastic difference?? Malt? More salt? 

idaveindy's picture

"The bread flours have flour and ascorbic acid, I think."

Please excuse my Apserger's, but whenever I see the words "I think" in a statement, I have to interpret the statement as inexact.   So.... if you still have the packages, could you please quote the exact ingredients from the flours you mentioned in:

"I am currently using some premium bakers flour, milled locally, that has a protein content of 11.5%. I have also tried Lighthouse bread flour, and Wallaby bakers flour."

I'm curious as to whether they have added "malted [something] flour" or amylase.

If your new plain white (ie, not whole wheat) flours are lacking both malted flour and amylase(enzymes) then it's obvious that the same formula/recipe that worked for Lauckes will _not_ work with these, and some kind of adjustment(s) will have to be made. 

[ some stuff deleted ]

mwilson's picture

So much of what have said is wrong or inaccurate...

Why the emphasis on fructose? Do you think it is bad or something? And yeast can indeed metabolise it.

Amylase enzymes are abundant within unbroken starch. Milling results in broken starch and where its fraction is greater, the falling number will often decrease (greater amylase activity).

You implied that refined (white) flour won't ferment at all without the addition of malt. This is simply not true, as I explained previously.

US flours are probably routinely malted for consistency and because the wheat is grown in a relatively dry climate.

idaveindy's picture

Thank you.  I withdrew most of the comment.   

It still looks like his Austrailian-produced  "regular" bakers and bread flour is lacking something, directly related to yeast activity, that the Laucke mix has, and will therefore require adjustments in the formula/recipe in order to match the performance of his loaves that used the Laucke mix.  

We'll see when he posts the exact ingredients, and see what, exactly, is missing, that the Lauckes had.  If indeed the new flour is missing the malted flour and any added amylase/enzymes, then that will be the most likely issue.  And if that is the issue, there are several workarounds: diastatic malt powder, and/or some form of sugar, and/or more yeast, and/or longer ferments.

I also based my comments on the fact that Tony Gemignani recommends 9 grams (2%) of diastatic malt powder per pound of Caputo's 00 Pizzeria flour (for pizza dough) which has absolutely no added malted flour as produced at the mill. (Tony adding the malt is mainly for the charing effect.) This is not scientific, but strongly points at the importance or power of added malted flour in white bran-less germ-less flours.

 I have never seen a retail package of _whole wheat_ flour with added malted flour.  Yet on every (retail) package of US-produced white AP and Bread flour I have seen, it says it includes malted barley flour.

So if Lauckes is an American-style malted and enhanced flour, and his new flours are some kind of Australain-style malt-less, well, there is the (most likely) answer.

(In response to the US Pizza market, Caputo created "Americana" flour, which does have malted wheat flour added for those using home ovens that max out at 500F, or commercial ovens at under 700F.)

(Yes, this is an apples-to-oranges, pizza versus bread, comparison, but the point being illustrative of the power of that added malted flour.)

So, this added malted flour bit is very important, though perhaps not as absolute as I stated.  And I do have a tendency to be too authoritative and absolute in my comments. So, thanks for the feedback. I'll work on it. 

HarryR's picture

So are all Australian bakers and home bakers adding diastatic malt to their bread flour? This is interesting. Could this be the answer? Can anyone from Australia chime in? 

What about bakers here who mill their own flours? Surely they aren't adding malt powder? 

idaveindy's picture

>What about bakers here who mill their own flours? Surely they aren't adding malt powder? 

 Whole-Milled grain (as from a home based mill) does not (usually) need diastatic malt, because the bran is never taken out.  Bran (and maybe the germ) has more enzymes to convert the starch to sugar.  As mwilson said, the endosperm (white part) has some, but it's the bran's enzymes that make the big difference here. No bran = significantly less natural ocurring enzymes.

white flour is "bran-less". 

Bran-less = less naturally ocurring enzymes = has to have malt added. (generally speaking.)

(See my other comment for an Australian baking web site.)

Maverick's picture

It would help to have a more exact formula/recipe you are using. The mix has enhancers that will make fermentation faster, so you might need more time without them.

Also, are you using a bread maker or doing it by hand?

HarryR's picture

I'll try to give as many details as I can. Thank you for the responses so far.

The bread flour I am currently using has: wheat flour, vitamin (thiamin, folic acid). 

I cannot find the ingredients for the Wallaby bakers flour, but the behaviour is the same. 

What I'm experiencing is not limited to a recipe, but a behaviour of the dough across all recipes. 

I ferment by volume, not by time. So fermentation is always carried out to roughly the same point.

I mix either by machine for sandwich loaves, or slap and folds followed by stretch and folds for high hydration instant yeast or levain breads. 

When I look at breads made by home bakers on this forum, or facebook, or youtube, the characteristics of the dough in terms of extensibility, oven spring, crust and crumb match what I get with Laucke bread mix. 

Clearly, in Australia, bread bakers are not ordering in giant bags of Laucke bread mix, nor are home bakers of great sourdough and other breads using Laucke bread mix, yet they are achieving results that I cannot. Something is going on here. 

If any Australian home bakers read this, speak up please. Let me know what you are having success with. I want to give up the expensive bread mix flour. 


I'll give an example of a very simple bread I make.

Ken Forkish Saturday White

500g plain flour, 360g water (72%), 10g salt, 2g instant dried yeast. 

Autolyse flour and water for 30 mins. Mix yeast and salt. Slap and fold with 5 min rests until window pane is formed. 3 sets of stretch and folds in first hour and a half of BF. Ferment till triple volume. Shape. Proof. Bake. 

With Laucke mix, the dough is slack, extensible, has fantastic oven spring, great thin shiny crust, and a great soft but chewy crumb. 

With bread flour, the dough is stiffer for the hydration level, less extensible, ferments differently, as though its just not as elastic, gets very poor oven spring, has a thicker, grainier crust, and has a rubbery crumb that has a quality to it, like like a sheen, but not in a good way. 

I just noticed the Laucke mix has added salt, so when I use it I am still adding the same 2% salt to it giving me more salt in final mix than when I use bread flour. Does this mean anything? 

I could go on forever using the bread mix, but I want to understand what I'm doing, and I want to use bread flour like good bakers use, and to achieve good results without a plethora of dough improvers. Flour, water, salt, yeast. Not flour, water, salt, yeast, fifty dough improvers. 

If I can provide any more info please let me know. And thank you again to anyone who has the time to help. I am very fortunate there are wonderful communities like this.  




idaveindy's picture

Thanks for the detail.  That establishes that you are using a _non-malted flour_.   But...

Forkish's recipes, and all those beautiful _American_ breads on Instagram, are based on American white flours that have  malted flour already in them. You cannot buy a white (AP or bread) flour in a US grocery store that does not have malted [something] flour added.

Your flour does not have any added malt flour.  (Granted, there may be other things in play.)

So that is the main difference between Lauckes'  mix and the new flour you are using, the malt.

Here is a web site specifically for Australian bakers:

Based on this web page, some Australian bread recipes do require diastatic malt:

The malt is in step 5 where the water is added.  I've never seen/heard of that in US bread recipes, just in Tony Gemignani's pizza dough recipe, using Caputo's non-malted Pizzeria flour. 

These two pages talk about Diastatic malt powder:

- - -

- - -


Here is an australian recipe  that calls for a pinch of diastatic malt, and some stoneground (presumably whole grain) flour which adds some bran and its attendant enzymes.


it looks like they can help you here:


The millers or sellers of the new flour you're using may also be able to answer why American recipes are not working with Australian baker's flour or bread flour.

Good luck, and happy hunting.


HarryR's picture

Thank you for the very interesting info and links. It seems the addition of diastatic malt to Australian white flours is crucial. I’m going to buy some and report back with the results. 

Could you possibly tell me what the other additives do, specifically the ascorbic acid, and the “enzymes” whatever they may be? 

I’m very curious to see the results of adding the malt to AP flour and bread flour. 

Robyn's picture

I buy 'bakers' flour from Costco (because they have 12kg bags). I add a couple of teaspoons of Laucke 'Bread Improver' per loaf. I use that flour and bread improver for all my other bread (rolls etc). I am way too busy and have been baking bread for way too long to feel like a charlatan... If I don't use bread improver the bread turns out OK, but not as good. 

treeowl's picture

If the dough feels stiffer, maybe it is. The bread flour you're using may have more gluten in it than the Laucke bread mix. It might be worth trying to reduce the gluten somewhat to try to get a similar dough consistency. Can you try mixing in some lower-gluten flour? Alternatively, you can try sticking with the same flour but raising the hydration level.