The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recent flour purchase

yan89's picture

Recent flour purchase

Hi All,

I hope everyone is staying safe and keeping themselves occupied during these times.

I should start by saying that if I've put this in the wrong area of the forum, do please feel free to tell me and i'll move it to the correct place.

I found this forum whilst looking for someone to help me with some pretty basic flour questions. Simplistically, I've been baking bread for about a year now and have typically stayed pretty central RE flour, ordering from a place in the UK called Shipton Mill and going normally for some '00' flour to make pasta with, and some Canadian Strong White Bread Flour for my Sourdoughs. 

Since COVID hit, it's been incredibly hard to source flour and I ended up buying a 12kg sack from a heritage miller close to my house.  When I bought it, it was confirmed as being 'stoneground wholemeal bread flour' and I asked what protein content, which came back as 13.3%.

Perhaps naively, I didn't ask any further questions but now I've used the final bit of my Tipton flour, and have just gone to open the sack I bought, I've found it's a very different consistency to that i've normally used.

Further, when I mix this flour as I normally would (420g with ~370ml water and 100g starter), the dough doesn't come together at all - it tears and is tacky/sticky/mealy..

Am I right in saying that I need to sieve the larger 'bran-like' flecks out of the flour before using it to bake bread, or is there something else I should do..?

Any help appreciated!

dbazuin's picture

This sound like a very high hydration. Are you use to this hydration?

Maybe this flour is less strong as the one you normaly use and you need to lower the hydration. 

yan89's picture

Hey dbazuin,

Thanks for your reply

Yes - the recipe I've been using for the last couple loaves as follows:

100g sourdough starter
420g strong white bread flour
50g wholemeal flour
13g sea salt
370ml water

mix starter and water, then add in the white bread flour and wholemeal flour and mix until combined. Leave 1hr at room temp, then mix/knead for 5m with hands until dough becomes smooth and elastic, then leave for 3hrs to ferment a bit, folding ever 30 mins or so.. always turns out great & sometimes I'll even add another 10 or 20ml of water during the mix/knead phase.

Maybe the flour just isn't as strong as I thought it would be, although I thought 13% protein would be alright for my intentions.. Even so, the strong white bread flour I normally get from Shipton Mill is pure white with none of the brown flecks.. do you think maybe I could sieve out the brown bits and perhaps that would lead me toward a better mix?

dbazuin's picture

I would try to start with less water and autolyse for at least 1 our.

You can always add some more when the dough gets to dry. 

For a 50 or 60 % whole wheat Loaf I autolyse the flower with the salt for 1 our. 
Then I mix the starter in. 

Truth Serum's picture
Truth Serum

Yes we have been dealing with the flour shortage here as well 

Truth Serum's picture
Truth Serum

So sorry did not read the whole post. That’s the problem with the phones. But still I do think you should sift the flour and change the proportions just like what was stated every grain  has its own has its own Unique hydration point. Best of luck you have come to the right place happy baking 

Somaek's picture

I bake all the time with 100% Whole Wheat or Wholemeal flour.  It is VERY different from white or bread flour, but you can make tasty loaves.  I usually use about 10-15% more flour as the loaves don't spring and open as much as bread flour loaves.  

As others have said, I highly recommend doing an autolyse for at least 1 hour.  I have had my best luck at around 72% hydration.  Here is a typical recipe:

WW flour 91.11% 456g

water 64.89% 324g

starter (80% Hyd.) 16.0% 80g

salt 2.00% 10.0g

Good luck!

mariana's picture

Hi yan89, 

if it says bread flour, then it will give you good or great bread, with or without bran. So it is up to you, whether you want to sift it or not.

Simply add as much water as necessary to obtain dough of the same consistency as you are used to and let it rest for a while, to absorb water, for example an hour, then knead to develop gluten, until your dough is shiny and non-sticky at all, tacky maybe, but not sticky.

Strong bread flour or whole grain flour with bran in it, or coarsely ground flour, simply needs more water and more time to obtain soft elastic dough.

The rest of the bread making with this flour is the same, it will give you good bread, don't worry. 


LeonK's picture

During the flour crisis, having searched far & wide I finally discovered a supplier who I've stuck with since. They're called 'Buy Whole foods online' and they supply one of the better flours I've used. One I recommend for white bread is their Organic Strong White Bakers Flour & for wholemeal there's Organic Strong Wholewheat Flour. Both are beautifully soft flours that make delightful bread.  They supply 1, 2.5,  5 & 16kg bags. I rate them.


yan89's picture

Thanks a lot for all your responses - they're greatly appreciated!