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: 20 May 2009 05:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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PHIL:
  Good evening. Yes Phil, plain flour is the same as our All-purpose flour, approx 10.5% protein level. Malt Barley is mixed into the flour for carmelization purpose. In the USA all flour has that ingredient except if you wish not to have it it is available thru private flour millers. In your case just insert honey or gran.sugar. That will help with your yeasted lean bread get that nice amber to rich tan color. Another trick is using steam or applying a film of water on the dough surface helps as well.
I hope this info will help you get started & then come back & tell us of the events.
Good luck to you in your baking & enjoy the rest of the day.

  ~FRESHKID.

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Posted: 21 May 2009 05:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hi Phil,  I live in the Uk, in N.Wales to be precise and I use Rose’s recipes from her Cake Bible and her Bread Bible, which I have had for just a few months.  I have made the Hearth Bread, the Banana Feather Bread (3 times), it’s that good, and the crumpets.  Oh and there’s a lovely recipe in the Bread Bible for a Cinnamon Crumb cake, it’s really good, you must try it!  A lot of the bread recipes specify All Purpose Flour, I use our plain flour for those and they have been successful.  I haven’t used any of the recipes for malted flour but there are other people on this site who can advise you, who live in the UK and do much more baking than I do.  Just ask and you will receive answers fairly quickly, allowing for the time difference!  In fact if you go to the main page, Rose’s Blog, you will probably be answered by the lady herself!  And what a lady she is!  I had the great privilege of meeting her last week, in DEVON!  If you look at my avatar that is me in the middle with Rose and Kate on either side, we met up with another fan of Rose’s at Dart’s Farm, do you know of it? 
I hope you have success with your baking from the Bread Bible, please let us know, it will be of special interest to me, living in the UK, and I will be interested to see what breads you attempt.  Best of luck. smile

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Posted: 21 May 2009 01:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Hi Phil,

Diastatic malt powder is readily available in the UK - try a health shop.  Rose indicates on pp552 of the Bread Bible how much to use should you wish to do so.  I personally never add it except when making bagels.  All Rose’s recipes work with Shipton Mill, Bacheldre, Doves Farm organic flours.  Have fun and don’t forget to try the Stud Muffin pp528!

Annie

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Posted: 21 May 2009 01:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Love your new avatar Jeannette smile

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Posted: 21 May 2009 05:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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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 06:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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PHIL:
  Good evening Phil. I am glad your baked product turned up well for you. I will answer your question you posed about the sponge. Either way is correct in essence but if you do it at the same time you save time as well When mixing the sponge & agitating it with your hand held spatula for about 3, minutes in the aggregate. Then spill the dough flour on top. I then place 2, large pieces of clear plastic on top & then a hand or clean dish towel on top. Then a heavy duty towel on top with a rubber band to hold it down. If any air reaches down there Phil a skin will form & you must throw it out & begin anew. You can place it in the refridge after about 1 to 3 hours out, if you like. I do not I leave it out overnite. In the summer months like now I feel safer in the refridge. We do not want the dough to exceed 90 degrees. Phil, I hope this info helps you get started to perfect bread baking my friend.

~FRESHKID.

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Posted: 21 May 2009 07:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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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: 22 May 2009 03:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Great Avatar Photo Jeannette!

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Posted: 24 May 2009 04:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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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: 24 May 2009 05:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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PHIL:
  Good evening Phil.I will be quick. Phil when you slashed your dough & it deflatted, that is a sure sign that the dough was “OVERPROOFED”.
When in the oven & it didn’t rise (oven~spring) means the there wasn’t any yeast power left in the loaf…the yeast was spent.
  Phil a good time to slash & bake is when it is still proofing maybe about 1/2 to 3/4 thru it;s cycle.
  Keep trying Phil I know you will soon succeed.

  ~FRESHKID.

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Posted: 25 May 2009 08:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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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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Posted: 25 May 2009 10:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Phil,  I am not an expert in dough making, there are many on this site much better than me, but as I seem to have the same problems as you perhaps I can add my twopennarth worth!  I seem to find the rising times a bit different for me too, different to the book that is,  but I think the best advice is to use the ‘double the dough’  rather than go by the time.  All kitchens vary in the temperatures and of course the time of the year can make a difference too.  I use a large Tupperware container with a lid to put the dough in when it is rising, I just mark the side with a piece of sellotape where I think it should rise to.  Sometimes I just go by eye, leaving it in the bowl and gauging where it should be, a bit hit and miss I suppose but all the breads I have made have been good.  Of course some people might think mine are not so good, it’s all a matter of judgement, if it’s edible/eatable I’m happy.  And it is always better than anything I could buy.  I have noticed a difference in the sizes of baking tins,  I am not sure I use the right size as stated in the book, because sometimes my dough seems too high in the tin, other times too low.  Over here we usually see tins sized as 1lb. or 2lb. size whereas American recipes state the size in inches which can be a bit off-putting if you haven’t got the exact size!  Keep in touch and let us know how you get on with the recipes, it will be especially interesting for me.  By the way the Banana Feather Bread is very good, I have made that three times!  I doesn’t taste overly of banana, just in case you don’t like bananas! grin

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Posted: 25 May 2009 05:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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PHIL:
  Good evening Phil. Phil I will try to give you the simple fundamentals in Yeasted lean bread baking. Always employ only enough yeast to do the job. Many recipes use to to much yeast. We can go into that another time soon on how much to use. In the future Phil I can help you better if you post the recipe & it’s directions…also Phil I am not familiar with the ingredients that are used the UK.

  Phil, after agitating the ingredients to develop the gluten is completed we must do a “FERMENTATION”... that is what some folks refer to as the 1st rise. Then Phil, after that event we do a gentle fold (,Knockdown) Now the FIRST RISE begins. Phil, what i have to say to you applies to both events. The dough may or may not ever get to double in volume…  MINE MOST OFTEN WILL BE CLOSE TO A TRIPLE there is no basis in fact that it must. It is stated as a referance to remind the amatuer baker what comes next
for whom the recipe is written for, in other words Phil the author doesn’t feel the home type baker is very intelligent.  If it doubles it may take 1, hour or 4, hours it may proof in 1.5 hours or 5, hours. TIME is not the criteria. Prof bakers will after 1, hour or so notice the volume is enlarging they then place their index finger into the dough (sometimes a whole fist) trying to go to about 1.5 inches deep. This is what may happen…the dough mass will show resistance to the poke…that means fermentation hasn’t taken place yet, every 12/15, minutes keep doing it again till the finger goes in & when lifted out the hole stays. It is said “FERMENTATION has now taken place. NOW the 1st proof event is to be done. Same story applies for that. Now then Phil remember if it took 1 hour & 40, minutes to ferment the proofings WILL TAKE LONGER in time. Phil after your first proofing notice the time then do you gentle fold & shape your product then about 1/2 way in time giving a 1/2 proof SLASH & BAKE. Remember internal temp is 190 to say about 200 degrees is good remove bread to the cooling racks.
  I hope this info will make bread baking a little easier for you. Enjoy the rest of the day my friend.

  ~FRESHKID.

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