Confused about flour in the UK
Posted: 20 May 2009 05:02 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hello, everyone.

Well. My RBB arrived today. My first impression, after a skim read through, is that its great to see the background science and methodology explained so clearly. However, already I’m totally confused about the difference in flour terminology depending which side of the pond we happen to live. I live in the UK (Devon).

Is unbleached all-purpose white flour the same as plain flour (10.5ish % protein) in the UK? If so, not a single one of the UK brands, including Shipton or Bacheldre seems to contain malted barley (RBB, pp549-50) as do Gold Medal and King Arthur avaialbale in the States.  UK strong bread flours don’t contain malted barley either and they are all 100% wheat.

As Rose seems to be so insistent on using the correct ingredients, this is a little worrying and it makes me think the results might not be so good using the flours available in the UK. But as Rose has so many devotees over here I should imagine this problem is easily solved with a little knowledge, so I’d be very interested to hear any advice from UK bakers using RBB before I commit myself to ordering my ingredients.

Thanks in advance for any help anyone can offer

Best wishes to all

Phil

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Posted: 21 May 2009 05:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hi Freshkid, Jeanette, Annie.

Thanks to all for the prompt advice which is very much appreciated. 

I had a go at the Hearth Bread today, used the Shipton bread flour,  and was very pleased with results. The texture is great and the crust is the best I’ve ever done - the icecube trick worked a treat.  It didn’t rise above the tin as much as I’d hoped but that may be my fault. First I used fresh yeast, cos I happened to have some in the fridge; second I didn’t have any wholegrain wheat in stock so I substituted it with spelt; third, my handling technique probably isn’t all that it could be just yet.  But on the whole, the result is very satisfying.

One thing somebody might be able to clarify for me: is the sponge supposed to be already started for a couple of hours when the remaining ‘flour blanket’ is floated on the top or do you add it immediately after whisking the starter? I did the former and it seemed to work OK.

Looking forward to having a go at the baguettes and sandwich loaf next, just to get my confidence up before trying sourdoughs again.

Jeanette, I know Darts Farm well its quite close to where I live. We often go there if we want to buy something tasty but reassuringly expensive, or cast an envious eye over the Agas and Rayburns. A rather disappointing range of baking ingredients tho.  I’m pleased to hear Rose and yourself enjoyed your trip to Devon and I hope it stayed dry for you.

Yo’all take care

Phil

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Posted: 21 May 2009 07:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks Freshkid. That sorts that out.

No need to worry about the sponge getting too hot over here in the UK tho. You might have a problem in Vegas, but here we think we’re having a phenomenal summer if the temperature reaches 75 degrees!

Phil

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Posted: 24 May 2009 04:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Hi everyone - me again.

I made the BB basic sandwich loaf today. Superb crust, lovely buttery flavour and good texture.

However, I am disappointed because the finished loaves were less than half the height they should be. Same thing happened with the hearth bread too. The first and second rises were spectacular, rising to at least double in size, probably more. But when I gently knocked back the dough with my fingertips and carefully folded into the tins as instructed, it seemed to lose its puff, less than half filling the correct size tin, where the instructions say it should only be half an inch below the top. I let it rise in the tins for two hours and although it seemed to come up again, when I slashed the top, it suddenly deflated to just below the top of the tin and never regained the height that I was anticipating from the instructions. It didn’t seem to rise much in the oven at all.  Strangely however, the bread is very pleasant.

Once again your comments and advice would be very gratefully received.

Best wishes and happy Whitsun

Phil

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Posted: 25 May 2009 08:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Thanks FRESHKID

So is this a yeast deficiency problem or is it to do with my timing? I’m tending to follow the timings in the recipes at the moment which means I give each of the risings the time stated regardless of the size of the dough. Should I be acting when the dough has doubled, or when the time is up? I don’t possess one of those handy rising containers so estimating the doubled volume is a rather imprecise science for me. 

Cheers

Phil

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