The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baguettes & Type 55 flour

GAPOMA's picture
GAPOMA

Baguettes & Type 55 flour

My daughter just returned from a semester in France. When visiting her in Paris this spring, it was clear my baguettes needed to change from an Americanized "French Bread" to a more "Frenchified" true baguette with a much coarser crumb. When I asked the French woman that my daughter was living with for any "secrets" on making the perfect baguette, she said the secret was "a special flour", and she didn't think I could replicate it in the US.

My efforts to date have been pretty good, but not quite right. I can get a pretty course crumb using a recipe with all-purpose flour and 65% hydration, and I'm getting used to working with slack breads. However, my loaves tend to have a harder and somewhat darker crust, "taste" wet, and struggle to get the large/coarse texture of a true French baguette.

Last night, when my daughter returned, she was kind enough to bring me a cookbook of "French breads & pastries" (of course in French...argh!) from Paris. Its recipe for baguettes says specifically to use "Type 55" flour, which today I have learned contains a bit less protein (9-10%) as compared to the "All-Purpose" flour (10-12%) that I've been using. Apparently Type 55 flour is the traditional flour used in making bagguetts in France.

So my questions are ...

1) Will Type 55 flour really make a difference in my baguettes?

2) Is Type 55 flour (or its equivalent) sold in the US?

3) Can I "make" a Type 55 flour equivalent by combining some cake flour with all-purpose flour (thus decreasing the overall protein content)?

titus's picture
titus

RE: making Type 55 flour in the US

"Cooking Tips
For Type 55: try mixing some all-purpose (plain) flour into bread (strong) flour. Bread (strong) flour on its own is probably too strong for any French recipe. The highest protein content you'd want in a flour for French bread would be 12 to 12.5%, tops. You may also want to mix in some Fava Bean Flour (aka Broad Bean Flour), but only a very small amount: French flour has no more than 2% of Broad Bean Flour in it.)"

From: the website "practically edible".

I don't know what proportions to tell you, as I live in Luxembourg and have ready access to Type 55 flour. Sorry I can't help you with the baguette question -- I don't make them, as I can get good ones here at the boulangeries.

sphealey's picture
sphealey

I would submit that question to either the Baker's Catalogue or King Arthur Flour customer service e-mail address (the same person usually answers both). They have always responded to me within 48 hours with very helpful information.

It would seem you could start with a low-protein flour (such as King Arthur European Artisan) and cut in enough cake flour (KA's is 8% protein) to get the 10%, but cake flour also has a finer grind so I don't know how it would work. Can't see how it would hurt to try though.

I was trying to come up with an easy formula to allow you calculate the amount of each flour needed to achieve 10% protein, but it would require a nomongraph as the amount of each depends on the total you want to receive.

I think this is the general case though:

h = percentage of protein in the higher protein flour expressed as decimal
l = percentage of protein in the lower protein flour
H = amount of high protein flour (weight or volume doesn't matter as long as you are consistent)
L = amount of low protein flour

H*(h - 0.10) + L*(l - 0.10) = 0

Note that the 0.10 is the 10% target; you can replace that too.

So for 100g of the King Arthur flours mentioned earlier

53*(0.118 - 0.100) + 47*(0.08 - 0.100) = 0.14

which isn't quite right because H is really 52.7 and L is really 47.3 but I think the rounder numbers are fine!

My brain is too jet-lagged to take this any farther; I will turn it over to my son's math team.

sPh

bottleny's picture
bottleny

Isn't the proten % for all purpose flour about 10%?

titus's picture
titus

www.baking911.com is also a good resource for the information you need. You can ask Sarah and she will get back to you. It's a great site, if you haven't heard of it already.

KNEADLESS's picture
KNEADLESS

Since I've never been to France, (but I plan to spend my 70th birthday in Paris next March,) I don't know exactly what kind of crumb you are looking for. However, yesterday I made baguettes using Rose Rosanbaum's recipe in The Bread Bible and I was quite pleased how they turned out. One of the steps is to stretch the baguettes by hand to get long, large gas pockets.

manxman's picture
manxman

have you looked at Boulangerie,
If you click onto metiers then find how to make an official french baguette using flour with 10% protien The pictures help with your french

helend's picture
helend

Thanks for recommendation Manxman - I really enjoyed the site and found some useful advice regarding pain au levain as well as baguettes

PS are you a TT fan?

manxman's picture
manxman

I used to have a house where they stuck the 1st mile marker, brought up on the smell of Castrol R

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I was reading a site that made and delivered french bread and ingredients included yeast and levening. Interesting.... So the added baking powder in cake flour would probably help the baguettes. Or am I wrong, do they make cake flour now without baking powder? Mini Oven

filbertfood's picture
filbertfood

As an avid bread baker, chef, and culinary fanatic I embarked on a project to get type 55 flour.  This is not strictly an advertisement, but more of an announcement: I have the flour you are looking for.  It was milled to a French specification by a well-known manufacturer in Turkey.  I requested samples and knew I found it when I baked some baguettes with the flour.

Please email me: john@filbertfood.com for more information, I look forward to hearing from you!

John

tgw1962_slo's picture
tgw1962_slo

Hello,

Just been reading some of the posts here. I'm kind of interested in this too as making my ideal baguette has been an elusive pursuit.

But... I just noticed that KAF has an "Italian Flour" that is 8.5 % protein.  Would this work better than cake or pastry flour...?

Perhaps adding it to some AP or Bread flour to bring it up to something resembling this Type 55 flour. 

When I looked at the KAF site, both the French and European style flours had just a little more than 11%  That would seem higher than this Type 55 flour (which seems to be in the 9-10% range).

I don't know. Its just a suggestion.

Tory

 

P.S. I contacted KAF about this. They suggested blending some of their Italian with some of their French style flour together to achieve this "Type 55" flour.

quickquiche's picture
quickquiche

I've been told by several people that it isn't just a low protein count that matters, but also the "ash content" that supposedly makes French flour different from "run of the mill" (pun intended) AP flour. I was told this is part of the flour's mineral profile and that plays a big part in the flour's behavior as much as the protein percentage.