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What is the best flour for bread baking?

Mar 02, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose

All purpose flour is fine as long as it is unbleached as bleaching weakens the protein which is needed to give a good texture or crumb to the bread. Bread flour has higher protein and will make a chewier bread. Regional flours may be lower in protein than ones available nationally such as Gold Medal, or Pillsbury. For quick bread containing softened but unmelted butter, however, it is essential to use bleached all purpose flour or the center of the bread will fall and have a gloppy texture on cooling.

Comments

hi there when deep frying bread,its usually best to eat while warm, when cold after a day the bread becomes heavy an looses it soft inner texture? i used high grain flour or multipurpose either one has the same effect, is it even the flour? i wud like to know how i can keep the texture of the bread for longer

your help wud b most apreciatd

thank u
doreen

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melissa, i somehow missed your question and you may have solved the challenge by now. yes--high protein will require more liquid.

robin, i don't know what recipe you're using but i would use the flour recommended in it. there's no evidence that bread flour is healthier. but if you use unbleached flour the liklihood is the cake will dip in the center. maybe not with banana as it provides so much structure--you'll need to experiment if you want to go that route.

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Can I use Bread flour for bannana bread? I have a lot of problems with my stomach so I wanted to make the healthies-easiest b- bread I can. Any suggestions...

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I am a professional baker with a challenge: I have a brand new product to work I have been asked to experiment with: a high protein, low gluten flour. I have been asked to make a chocolate cake with it. What base recipes would be a good start? Do I need to consider adding more liquid to the recipe(s)?

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matthew--that's just what i was going to say! and joe i totally agree with you. even with extra water, high protein flour will not be as extensible so for baguettes, where you want the large holes, it's best not to use it.

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Hector,
Sounds like your flour would be good for bagels. I believe KA's high gluten flour is at 14% or somewhere in that range. I think their bread flour is 12.5%

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Higher protien flour requires more water. Try adding a couple tablespoons at a time to your recipe till you get what you are after. If you are looking for really airy, large hole baguettes, you should be aiming for 70% or higher hydration.

As for bread flour being too strong, I don't think you will ever have that problem, unless you add gluten flour or vital wheat gluten. Too much gluten will provide a very chewy bread.

As for using strong flour for baguettes...I guess that is up to you. Traditional french baguettes use flour that is somewhere about halfway between AP and bread flour.

HTH,
Joe

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Is there a case of too strong flour? I've started using PF Mills Power Unbleached Bread Flour, 13.5% protein, on Basic Sourdough Bread. The rises take a lot longer, and I don't get much of an oven spring. The bread is a lot denser than usual. I've tried all methods of baking: on parchment, directly on baking stone, on covered cast iron dutch oven. During mixing, the dough feels 'stronger.'

Help....... I am a little tired of having croutons instead of feathery bread! Should I increase the water %, can I use this 'strong' flour for baguettes?

By the way, Gold Medal Bread Flour, unbleached, available nationwide at most grocery stores, is the bread flour of my choice!

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Thank you Rose for explaining that bleached flour is needed for quick breads containing softened but not melted butter. I once made a humming bird quick bread ( it contained pineapple, shreaded coconut, and banana). When I tested it with a tooth pick before taking it out the tooth pick came out clean with a few moist crumbs, but the center sank after wards. It also tasted half baked in the middle. I tried to baking it longer, but the middle remained the same. After hearing you explain that I thought that was the reason because I had use unbleached all purpose flour. But now that I think about it I didn't use butter. I used canola oil. I think what happened was that I didn't cut back on my liquid when I added all of those moist ingredients. The recipe I used didn't have any of those components in it. I added them my self. Plus I think I might have used bread flour along with the unbleach all purpose thinking that I could get a chewier texture that way. I am obviously an amatuer in need of a lot of expirence and knowledge which is why I am so happy I found your site. One day I hope to work in the culinary world as what I'm not sure yet. I have yet to decide if I perfer baking or cooking more. Till then I dabble in both, but I think I secretly am leaning towards baking more right now! Thanks soo much!

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joe, i have also heard this about millers using softer wheats when milling bleached flour and there's also a rumor going around that the flour available in smaller bags is milled from softer wheat since it is assumed that it is not being used for bread baking! i'm not sure if this is true. but my flour experts do assure me that bleaching affects the flour molecule by weakening it so that while the protein content may be the same, the gluten-forming potential is not.

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I have had a lot of discussions about bleached flours, and from my research it is not that bleaching has any affect on protiens, but rather the tradition of millers to use softer wheats when milling bleached all-purpose flours. It turns out that national brand AP flours have the same protien content in either bleached or unbleached, and it is only a few regional brands (White Lily comes to mind) where the bleached AP is specifically lower in protien.

Joe

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