The Fresh Loaf

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cornstarch, strong flour and plain flour

mutantspace's picture

cornstarch, strong flour and plain flour

heres the thing. I want to make a good bread roll, a bap in particular. I have found a recipe that uses (im in Ireland) bread flour (12.5% protein) and cornflour (which is our cornstarch). The cornstarch gives the bread flour a softer, cakelike texture while the strong flour gives it chew and rise. ... Heres my question:

Why would I use a strong bread flour and cornstarch when I can use plain flour (9% protein) instead? is there a difference? I understand that the bread flour will give more chew and greater rise due to gluten formation but if im adding adding butter to shorten the gluten and cornstarch to give it a softer texture why bother with both and go for a plain flour.......any thoughts?...any bap recipes? Im using a 50% poolish with a rye starter to give the dough extra flavour and then a little instant yeast to kick it off after 12 hours. (i have fdone one lot. Taste fantastic but a little dense. 

oh, All other bap recipes call for bread flour. This is the only one that has cornstarch. 


thanks moray 


Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Some of our bread flour can fall within the range of what North Americans call AP flour. There is an overlap. AP flour is 11-12% protein and bread flour is 12-13% protein. Strong bread flour is 13% + protein. We don't have anything called AP flour however if you can find a bread flour that is 12% protein that would be a good substitute for AP flour.

I don't bake with corn starch (or the confusing misnomer of corn flour) so can't comment there. I would have thought that the butter with a flour at around 12% protein would suffice.

For a softer crumb I'd also incorporate an autolyse and add in a tangzhong.

Here is a lovely post fromLemoniewho has used 12% protein "bread flour" as AP flour equivalent and 14% protein bread flour as a mix.

mutantspace's picture

i have a 12.6% bread flour and yes corn starch just throws a spanner into the works....what ive been doing is the 50% poolish with a little rye starter, leaving it for 10 - 12 hours then adding to final trying to make vegan rolls so ive had to omit milk and butter (unfortunately) and thats why ive substituted oil (ive replaced the butter with 3/4 oil and adjusted hydration). the taste is great as the poolish really does its job but i cant figure out the corn flour.

going to try a 50:50 bread:plain in the morning (putting all bread into poolish and all plain into final dough)...see what the difference is. Its a variation o a dan lepard recipe but he makes a 3 hour sponge with all the yeast, 2/3 bread, 1/2/ plain flour and water and then adds that to final dough which has milk butter, etc....        

justread that post...lemonie post....looks good...but then 14% is very high so yes, perhaps youre right. I was reading up about corn flour today and apparently if you substitute 2 tbsp corn flour for 2 tbsp AP you get cake flour which is i figure what Dan Lepard is doing is using the corn flour to get a very soft mix....more than you would get if just using plain or half and half..

clazar123's picture

While softening the crumb, I thought (no direct experience) that cornflour (cornstarch on my side of the pond) would help make the crust crisp, also. It would be interesting to see.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

to me.  Most likely started off with one recipe and all or part of the flour was substituted.  

The result of several flours was so "nice" that the substitution became a new recipe.