Bleached vs. unbleached all-purpose flour
Posted: 04 January 2011 04:10 PM   [ Ignore ]
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In the Pie and Pastry Bible, Rose insists that you must use unbleached all-purpose flour for pie/tart crusts, or it would be very difficult to get a tender crust. I was doing some research into why, and according to Shirley Corriher’s Bakewise, it’s because manufacturers supposedly use higher protein content flour for unbleached. However, she also cited Bruce Healy, who claims that Gold Medal bleached and unbleached all-purpose flour have the same protein content, and she somewhat verified this with a qualitative water absorption test. Then I looked up the nutritional facts on Gold Medal’s website and found that their unbleached and bleached flour have the same protein content (at least on the label).

I have Gold Medal unbleached all-purpose flour in my pantry right now, and I’m wondering if I would get good results using it in Rose’s pastry crust recipes. If protein content is the only reason for using bleached, then it shouldn’t matter if I am using Gold Medal.

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Posted: 04 January 2011 05:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The proof is in the pudding, so to speak. I find unbleached flour does change the texture of pastry in a way I don’t like, but if you like it, then there is no reason you shouldn’t use it—many do. I would try a crust with it and see what you think.

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Posted: 04 January 2011 05:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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..and I will add, I don’t like using just bleached all purpose either. I usually use wondra or a blend of all purpose with something else to cut it like wondra or cake flour—or just pastry flour if you can find it. But I think the vast majority of pie makers are probably using bleached AP—I just think you get a more tender, lighter crust with the other options.

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Posted: 04 January 2011 05:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I didn’t look at the chart, but often the portion sizes on nutritional labels is too small to be of any use.

I have made pancakes (identical recipe, flours and all ingredients weighed) with Gold Medal bleached and with their unbleached, and there was a big difference in texture.  The bleached is lighter and more tender, while the unbleached is a little chewy/gummy in texture.  Based on that experience, it wouldn’t be my choice to use unbleached AP for pie crust.  Pastry flour, on the other hand, is unbleached but low in protein.

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Posted: 06 January 2011 05:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Rose says you can make your own pastry flour by combining bleached all-purpose and cake flour. Do you think it would work equally well if I combined my unbleached Gold Medal all-purpose with cake flour?

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Posted: 06 January 2011 10:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Probably, but you may need a higher percentage of Cake Flour to unbleached AP than is specified for bleached AP.

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Posted: 07 January 2011 06:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I have made pie crusts using bleached and unbleached. The unbleached is the winner hands down. the bleached pie crusts did not brown well, and the texture was just not right.  I prefer bleached flour for my cakes. I have tried cake flour, and I just don’t like the results, the cakes are too crumbly and tender for me.  I weigh everything, so it’s not that my quantities are off. 

I think the protein count you are seeing on the label is not the protein count that you are referring to. Shirley has a chart in her Cookwise book that explains the different protein counts of a wide variety of flour.

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Posted: 07 January 2011 07:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Rose’s Bread Bible, if you have that, also goes into protein content of flours in detail, by brand.

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Posted: 07 January 2011 06:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I guess I’ll try unbleached first to see how it goes. I don’t have bleached flour right now, and I’m reluctant to buy it until I finish the unbleached flour. I was looking at the nutritional facts on the bag of flour, and for both bleached and unbleached Gold Medal it says 3 g protein per 30 g flour, which makes them both 10% protein.

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Posted: 19 January 2011 01:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Yes, as Julie said, there is too much rounding in the nutritional facts to get the accurate % of protein. Rose has them posted on the main blog somewhere directly from the company—-they are also in the books as mentioned.

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