The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Loaf quality - Flour, Gluten & Protein

TheFreeman's picture
TheFreeman

Loaf quality - Flour, Gluten & Protein

Hi All,

 

So basically I am still figuring my way around Sourdough. I have gotten very good results and I feel like I have understood proper fermentation and all the basic concepts to end up with a good presentable loaf.

What I am trying to figure out at this point is how flour quality can vary the presentation such as ear, open crumb, crust etc. 

 

Am I correct to say that there might be AP flours out there which have better Gluten development then some strong flours? The reason I am saying this is because I am suspecting that high protein does not necessarily mean good gluten development/content.

I have tested this by trying to bake some loafs using Caputo 00 flour(which is excellent for Napoletana pizza) but kept getting flat loafs, as soon as I managed to get some decent Strong Flour my SD loaf improved by far, started getting proper rise/crumb/gas distribution. I have also seen bakes using 11% protein which resulted in an outstanding high rise, perfect ear and open crumb.

 

The reason I am asking this is that I want to know if the flour can inhibit improvement in better rise/presentation.

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

There's much more to flour than just protein/gluten.

If you want to take a deep dive, start here: http://www.theartisan.net/Flours_One.htm

And learn about such things as P, L, W, P/L, arrive time, mixing tolerance, etc.

Then read the specs and descriptions of the Caputo flours: http://www.mulinocaputo.it/en/flour

Not all their 00 flours are pizza flours!

I take it that the Italians and the French take their flour more seriously than we do,

 

 

 

TheFreeman's picture
TheFreeman

So for example, I was getting flat loafs with 00 flour with 13% protein, then I switched to Strong flour (protein unknown, bought a 25kg wholesale bag) and my loafs improved drastically. Could rise be effected by the type of flour used?

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

the major bread cookbook authors, such as Reinhart, Forkish, Hamelman, Robertson, don't recommend flours with real high protein.  Most recommend 11% to 12% protein north american flour.

The names "all purpose flour" and "bread flour" have a wide overlap between them in terms of protein percent.

 Gold Medal "better for bread" flour is closer to King Arthur All Purpose flour in terms of protein percent, than it is to KA Bread Flour.

The italian method of measuring protein is different than the US method, but this page at Caputo is informative, if you click on the individual flour pages, and read the descriptions and compare the P/L, W, and protein figures with the verbal//text description of what each flour is intended for.

www.mulinocaputo.it/en/flour

But first go here: http://www.theartisan.net/Flours_One.htm  and read up what those numbers mean.  This page will take several times reading through and studying to really get it.  But... even a single read-through opened my eyes to the complexities of flour, and that going by just the protein % is never enough to understand what a certain type of flour does.

Net:  There is No such thing as a "best" flour. It all depends on what you intend to do with it.  And looking at just the protein % cannot tell you what it is really good for.