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Why is it impossible to find bread flour in Manhattan?

  • E Eto Mar 10, 2007 04:40 PM

I've been to Fairway and Whole Foods thinking I could just get a bag of white bread flour since I've been into making bread lately. But all I could find are all-purpose or wheat flour or flour from other grains, but not bread flour. Maybe there's an obvious source, but I haven't found it. Where do you get yours?

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  1. Go to any bakery-- I know- a dying breed in Manhattan, but in Astoria, I always buy bread flour and yeast cake from my local bakery, Gian Piero's.

    1. Whole Foods carries Arrowhead Mills. They've got various flours for breads.
      Worth a look ---> http://www.arrowheadmills.com/index.php
      ...

      I vaguely remember International Foods carrying some also. I know they carry pastry flour. Give them a call before you go:

      Ninth Av International Foods Limited
      543 9th Ave
      New York, NY 10018

      (212) 279-1000

      1. D'agostino carries Gold Medal's Harvest King bread flour.

        1. I know this is the Manhattan board but every Super Stop & Shop in Queens carries bread flour. I saw 5lb bags just this morning, in case you happen to be in the area...also, have you checked Fresh Direct?

          1. if you want fresh (and expensive) the guy at Union Sq Greenmarket that has lots of hot peppers in the summer also sell artisanal flour - close to B&N, northside of the market.

            1. Hey EE: Note that Gold Medal's Harvest King bread flour is strangely packaged. It's easy to miss. It doesn't really say anywhere on the package that it's BREAD flour, except in relatively small, hard-to-notice print on the front of the package, where it says "better for bread" on white print against a blue line, on either side of the "Gold Medal" logo. The words "better for bread" are dwarfed by the words "HARVEST KING" and "Unbleached WHITE FLOUR." Don't let them fool you -- this is perfectly fine BREAD flour, and it's carried in a lot of supermarkets (although I have NOT seen it, or any other bread flour, in my local PathMark, surprisingly... but that's not either of the PathMarks in Manhattan, so who knows if they carry it... I got mine at Stop & Shop). In fact, if anything, my bread is rising a little higher than expected lately, particularly my wheat breads, although that might have more to do with the wheat flour I'm using (King Arthur) or my yeast or some other factor.

              Anyway, I bet this poorly-packaged bread flour is sold in many Manhattan grocery stores. One poster above mentions D'Agostino's. Of course, it probably costs three arms and five legs at D'Agostino's but that's Manhattan for you. It's probably hidden in plain sight in Fairway too. Just be sure to eyeball the fine print on all the flours and you'll find it. "Malted barley flour" should be a prominent ingredient. Sometimes ascorbic acid is, too, although Gold Medal's Harvest King bread flour doesn't have that. Both of those help bread rise, and generally, to my knowledge, one or both of those ingredients constitute the difference between all-purpose flour and bread flour. (Some all-purpose flour has a smidgen of malted barley flour, but not as much... it's at the end of the ingredients list.)

              But if you still can't find it, for whatever reason, then you can substitute all-purpose flour, plus some vital wheat gluten (a.k.a. plain old gluten), plus some vinegar in place of some of the water. The only problem is figuring out how much gluten and/or vinegar to use.

              Somebody in the Gold Medal company's design department does NOT get a gold medal!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Ike

                I think the main diff in bread flour (strong flour) is higher protein content.
                the rest of the stuff are additives that a particular maker of bread flour may or may not add (you can add them yourself if not)

                Im not big on bread making these days, but most of the breads I like making are crusty wet dough italians that actually dont need bread flour.

              2. I've started to make bread, too. I've found that using fresh flour makes more difference than using specifically bread flour. It's gotten to the point where when I mix the flour with water, salt and yeast, i can smell, and feel the liveliness of the flour. That said, i had been keeping an eye out for bread flour, too.

                Up until a few month ago I was able to get King Arthur's Organic All purpose, White Whole Wheat Flour, and Bread Flour at the Whole Foods in Columbus Circle. Then, more and more I find that the King Arthur Organic All Purpose is always scarce, and often missing. The Bread Flour have not been seen since that one time, and the 2nd bag of White Whole Wheat Flour was not fresh...kind of dead.

                Now, as of last week, the shelf is full of Arrow Head Mills flours and Whole Food's own 365 brand of flours. I saw a couple bags of King Arthurs flour, but clearly in the minority. They were also not in good shape. The bottom of the bag seemed to have been soaked in something, somewhat stained. One of the packaging has come undone. It didn't look like they're re-stocking it, either.

                IT's too bad. Now I don't know where to get King Arthur flour. It's one less reason to go to Whole Foods. (The other reason is their lack of sweet butter selection - anyone else find that Strauss brand expensive and tasteless?)

                2 Replies
                1. re: HLing

                  Super Stop & Shop carries King Arthur Bread Flour, I saw 5lb bags. The Forest Hills branch to be exact.

                  1. re: HLing

                    Hope this is not OT, but I gave up trying to find good bread flour in stores here. I order flour directly from the King Arthur website. It is cheaper than buying it retail in NYC (3.25 for 5 lbs. as opposed to ~$5 for 5 lbs. at WF) even if you pay for shipping. Sometimes the flour goes on sale--last month I got 20 lbs. for 12 bucks plus shipping.

                  2. I bet Eli's in UES has it. They have everything!

                    1. I bought a five pound bag of Harvest King today for $3 and change at the Associated Market on Park and 22nd.