The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Which flour are you using and why?

ridnovir's picture

Which flour are you using and why?

Good flour is one of the essential variables in sourdough. I am currently using Center Milling Organic Artisan Bakers Craft Plus (11.5% protein) at 80% and Center Milling Organic Whole Wheat Hi-Pro Fine (13.5% protein) at 20%. I started with these and stuck to them until I was able to make good loaves consistently. I am thinking about changing the ratio (90% -10%) and/or changing flours. I am contemplating trying a loaf with 100% of Center Milling Organic High Mountain (13.5% protein). Can you please share which flour or combination of flours you like the most and why.

Yeast_Mode's picture

I live in the Pacific Northwest and we are lucky to have some fantastic mills up here.

My favorite bread flour is Expresso T85 from Cairnspring Mills. I get 50 lbs of it at a time and use it for rustic loaves and to feed my starter. (Tartine bakery uses flour from Cairnspring Mills.) Expresso was the flour that showed me how important good flour is to bread. I discovered Cairnspring Mills during the Great Flour Shortage of 2020 and haven't looked back since.

I use hard red and hard white flours from Bluebird Grain Farms. Their flours are very fresh, and they have a nice CSA program that makes it easy to get their flours. I really love working with this flour, and I make a 100% whole wheat bread with this flour that I think has a great flavor and texture.

Fairhaven Mills is another great local mill. They make a 100% whole wheat bread flour that I really like to work with. I typically use their rye in my starter. (80% Expresso and 20% rye.)

Nash's produce makes a nice hard red wheat flour that I like to incorporate with my rustic loaves. The ratio here is 90% Expresso, 5% Nash's hard red wheat, and 5% Fairhaven Mill rye.

happycat's picture

I'm sure better flour tastes great. 

That being said, I use cheap no name all purpose plus some gluten, as well as cheap durum and some rye from the bulk food store. Works fine in croissants, baguettes, loaves, etc. Tastes great to me.

The upside is my AP flour is CAD$8.50 for 22lbs, my durum is CAD$9.00 for 20lbs. Rye I can't remember but it was reasonably priced compared to fancier stuff. I get plenty practice making bread at low cost, tweaking flour mixes, and I really enjoy the results. This hobby is so inexpensive and so much fun I wish I'd started decades ago.

Sourdough does not require expensive flour to make nice loaves and taste good. I decided to start with building skill first then put off expensive stuff later.

When I started roasting coffee I made the mistake of buying all kinds of fancy beans.

Then I learned to buy a whole lot of beans of one varietal and work with them to get the most out of them and develop my roasting skills. They also happened to be reasonably priced in large amounts. I saved a lot of cash, learned more, and enjoyed more.

I will probably end up milling grain by this time next year... I've found an intriguing local source that sells in bulk for great prices and I have a commercial coffee grinder that can be repurposed.