The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Struggling to bake with Gilchesters flour

tomalprice's picture
tomalprice

Struggling to bake with Gilchesters flour

Hi all,

I've been baking for a number of years, and while my default loaf is fairly hands off and lazy, I’m not a *total* beginner. 

I just changed suppliers - moving from Marriage’s (prior to that, Shipton Mill) flour to Gilchesters and the change in flour has knocked me off kilter a bit, with my loaves all turning out incredibly flat, and the dough - at all stages - not appearing to be cohesive or have much structure to it at all. 

Does anyone have any experience of using Gilchesters and could give me some tips?

 

Here are the details of what I was doing prior to using Gilchesters:

- Flour 100% Marriage’s Manitoba or Organic white

- usually 70-80% hydrated (usually no autolyse, I warned you I was being lazy!)

- my starter was happy, usually put in about 30% starter. 
- I’d start the bulk ferment in the evening at room temp (20-23 degrees), give it three turns or so before bed, next morning shape, prove (room temp) and bake. It almost always turned out how I wanted it to. 

 

If I try using the same technique with Gilchester’s strong white, I just get very flat loaves. Also my starter has been a lot less vigorous with the Gilchester’s. I thought that might be the issue so I’ve swapped out the starter flour for rye. Tried a 30 min autolyse. Tried increasing hydration a bit. To no avail. Terrible bread (well, it tastes delicious, it’s just flat and dense). 

Am I doing the bulk ferment or prove at too high a temperature? Do I need to incorporate some considered kneading and rest stages?

Any help would be much appreciated!

thanks in advance, Tom

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

When you say "flat", do you mean the dough never rose, or do you mean that the dough rose and then fell/deflated?

You might have to start in the morning, and if you can, observe its behavior during the bulk ferment during the day.

I went to the Gilchesters web site, https://gilchesters.com/product/unbleached-white-strong-wheat-flour/  and they brag that their strong white flour rises more than expected.  It was "marketing talk", not a technical specification, so it leaves open the question of how they do that.  If, a big if, they do that via adding more malted flour than is industry standard, then that could lead to your dough fermenting/rising too much and then deflating.

TFL has a bunch  of users from the mother-country, so someone is sure to jump in and offer something to try.

tomalprice's picture
tomalprice

Good point, sorry about being vague. 

- Yes, I mean the dough never really rose. I extended my bulk fermentation period (also put it in a 30 degree C oven for a while, wrapped in towels), but still never really got much rise out of it.

Similarly, my starter was far less lively than it had previously been. 

Thank you for reaching out, I'll keep trying! 

albacore's picture
albacore

I have some experience of using Gilchesters flour and I would say that you have suddenly gone from one extreme to another.

Marriages Manitoba is very strong roller milled flour; I think it's about 14.9% protein and made from 100% Canadian wheat.

Gllchesters is pretty weak stoneground flour made from 100% British wheat; not sure of the protein content, probably 11-12%, but it won't develop the same high quality gluten that the Marriages can. The larger particle size of stoneground flour won't help either.

Flours like Gilchesters will give the bread great flavour, but are really best used as a blend with Marriages or other quality roller milled flours.

You could try adding ascorbic acid at 200ppm (0.2g/1kg of flour). 2% fava bean flour as a natural dough improver

might also help.

Lance

tomalprice's picture
tomalprice

I think this is really helpful - it sounds like blending might be the key to this. 

 

The ascorbic acid tip is also really useful, I will definitely try this, thank you! 

albacore's picture
albacore

Also, TFL member ananda (Andy) is a commercial craft baker in NE England and uses a lot of Gilchesters flour. Have a look at some of his posts from a few years ago where he blends Gilchesters with Marriages flours. Check out this one.

Lance

tomalprice's picture
tomalprice

This is really useful - it looks like most of his loaves are prepped with a Marriage's starter, I think I need to get hold of it again and try the blend.

 

Flour is just so hard to come by at the moment, it may be a post-corona project! 

 

Thank you!