The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

is Robin Hood BREAD flour the "Homestyle White Flour" a ripoff?!?

TurboLover's picture
TurboLover

is Robin Hood BREAD flour the "Homestyle White Flour" a ripoff?!?

Guys is RH bread flour a ripoff? What's so special about it? I looked at Robin Hood All Purpose Flour and it has exactly the same amount of Protein in it so why should I pay more for their "bread" Flour? What am I missing here? Should I be looking at something else than just protein content?

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

I can't say anything about that flour, but protein content is not the same as protein quality, or the baking properties, or taste. Best way to compare is to just bake with both flour and see how they behave, and whether the bread is better with one than the other.

idaveindy's picture
idaveindy

I share your frustration in trying to separate meaningful specifications from flour industry marketing jargon.

If you're looking at "Nutrition Facts," be advised that the figures are rounded to the nearest gram.  

Where it says "4 grams protein" that could actually be anywhere from 3.6 to 4.4. Which, per 30 gram serving, would be 12% to 14.6%.

But also, as Ilya says, the "nutritional" protein is not exactly the same as "gluten-forming" protein.  I seem to remember mwilson saying that they are measured via two different methods.

Other differences: looking at ingredients,  RH bread flour has xylanase and L-cysteine added whereas the unbleached AP does not.  (Correction: both have ascorbic acid.)

Moreover, there are important measurable qualities of flour other than protein, such as "W" (strength) and P/L (ratio of elasticity to extensibility), plus others.

To read up on the measurable characteristics of flour see: http://www.theartisan.net/Flours_One.htm

In combination with the above web page, I used the Caputo flour website, that gives protein, W, and P/L values, to learn what baking purposes those figures serve. See:
https://www.mulinocaputo.it/art-of-baking/?lang=en
and:
https://www.mulinocaputo.it/linea-cucina/?lang=en

--

But all that gets way too academic. Ilya's suggestion to just try the two products and see how they bake up, will most likely be quicker and easier.

Benito's picture
Benito

The nutritional facts listed on our Canadian flours aren’t that helpful.  Most commercial mills list the protein based on 30 g of flour and round to either 3 or 4.  Never have I seen one listed without rounding.  As a result you cannot tell if the Best for Bread is any different from the All Purpose Flour by Robin Hood.  However, the best for bread is made from hard red spring wheat while the All Purpose is made from a blend of hard red spring and soft wheat, thus the best for bread will have a higher protein content.  I share your pain that our regulations don’t require that mills list the information in a more useful to bakers manner.

Benny

PANEMetCIRCENSES's picture
PANEMetCIRCENSES

This is the package I buy in Greece where I'm based. Here nutrition facts are given per 100g.

Reads protein=13.2% very good flour for bread making and not only.

 

 

mariana's picture
mariana

What's so special about it?

Its ash content. It is higher than in their all purpose flour. APF ash is around 0.45% and Best for Bread is around 0.55%, close to French T55 bread flour necessary for baguettes and other daily bread.

You can bake bread with both flours of course, or with all three of their white flours (all purpose bleached, all purpose unbleached, best for bread homestyle white), no problem, both have adequate levels of gluten, but their Best for Bread flour gives better white bread, tastier and with better aroma. The difference is remarkable, astonishing even. It really is "best for bread".

Due to its ash, it is also very suitable for maintaing white flour sourdough starter whereas their all purpose flour is not. 

I do not see any difference in price, I buy both when on sale. When Best for Bread is not on sale, I buy French T55 or Polish Type 550 flours, they are essentially the same.

TurboLover's picture
TurboLover

Wow, lots of good info. Thank you so much guys. I'm a newbie just starting to bake bread and can't really tell much of a difference between the bf and apf but I will take your word for it that bf is better when baking bread! 👍.... Anyways I'm trying to cut cost as much as I can so I'm looking at Walmart's great value bread flour too? Did anyone have any good experience with it and how does it compare to the Robin Hood bread flour? Would you pick Robin Hood apf over Walmart bread flour when baking bread? 

mariana's picture
mariana

Of course, in Canada, both APFs and bread flours perform equally well in bread. The difference is in taste and aroma which is not as important or even noticeable if one is a new baker.

So, go ahead and bake with the most affordable flours, including Great Value brand. I was baking with no-name APF from NoFrills initially, when learning, because it was so cheap and I needed to practice, only later I became curious about other flours and saw what was so special about them. 

I do not shop at Walmart at all, so I cannot compare their bread flour with RobinHood side to side in test bakes. But I am sure that it is as good as RobinHood, performance-wise.

Benito's picture
Benito

I have no experience with Walmart flours so cannot help you with that.  I have baked a ton with Robin Hood Bread flour and I agree with Mariana, it is excellent.

Benito's picture
Benito

Mariana, I’m curious where you get your French T55 or Polish Type 550 flours?  I’m not been able to find French T55.

Benny

mariana's picture
mariana

Benny, in my area, I live near High Park, there are a many Polish grocery stores (specifically, three along Roncesvalles and two in Bloor West village) where I shop for Typ550/T55. Although imported, it is cheaper that our homegrown Canadian flours!

They sell Typ 400, 450 (semolina rimacinata, essentially, milled from durum wheat), 500, and 550 and whole wheat, but not 600 nor 700 unfortunately which are even better for white breads with creamier colored crumb and fuller aroma and taste of wheat. They also sell white and medium rye flours, imported from Poland, and whole rye kernels. Polish, and European rye in general, is better for bread.

This is how the bag of bread flour with ash 0.55% looks like

I bought French T55 once in a Brasilian butcher shop, Nosso O Talho where I buy fresh Portuguese bread, near Dufferin subway stn! Go figure. A Serbian bakery, corner of High park and Dundas, not far from my place, also sells European wheat and rye bread flours cheaply, but not consistently, not all the time.

Benito's picture
Benito

Wow that is great to know.  Although I’ve walked along that stretch of Roncesvalles, I never went into those stores.  Now I have a good reason to head back in that direction.  Thank you Mariana.