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Favorite Brand of Flour for Bread Baking

Father Kitchen Aug 12, 2007 02:56 PM

Has anyone done a comparison of flour brands? I've used quite a few, from pricey brands to cheapo. The least expensive flour I used was Dakota Maid. In many ways it was exceptionally good. Sourdough bread made from it had exceptional flavor and texture. Price is not everything in flour.

  1. WCchopper Aug 14, 2007 10:51 AM

    I'm not experienced enough to make to much commentary, but I have had good results form King Arthur's White Wheat! I prefer to use as much whole grain as I can without altering the recipe beyond recognition, and the white wheat keeps things pretty light. I have used it for quick breads and Challah, and a multi grain loaf recipe from Cooks Illustrated.

    1. b
      bakergal Aug 14, 2007 09:29 AM

      I recently tried that new Harvest King (from Gold Medal, General Mills) that was developed for the artisan bread industry. Didn't like it. Also tried Whole Foods Market special Baking Flour. Didn't like it. Went back to King Arthur. Love it!!

      2 Replies
      1. re: bakergal
        Kelli2006 Aug 14, 2007 09:59 AM

        King Arthur. I have baked professionally and I need to be able to trust my ingredients. They have flours to fit all of my needs. it isn't full of extras that I don't want, and I know I can trust their support if I have questions

        I've tried Hodgson Mills and white Lilly, and they have always left me wanting. Gold Medal's AP isn't bad for general baking needs, but I prefer KA. I wish the Round Table pastry flour, the European Sir Galahad and Sir Lancelot were more available in markets, but I have access to it in 50lb bags.

        Their organic flours are very good and bit pricey, but I am slowly adapting all of my recipes to the whole wheat flours.

        1. re: bakergal
          amyzan Aug 14, 2007 10:41 AM

          Yeah, I didn't like Whole Foods' 365 brand flours either. The unbleached is particularly strange--it seems much higher in protein than other Gold Medal, even though the label says not.

        2. Gooseberry Aug 14, 2007 05:28 AM

          I can't give you any brand suggestions (in a different country) but I've found sourdough starters to be quite picky with flours. Mine has always been sluggish and indifferent when fed with your basic supermarket white bread flour (bleached, intensively farmed wheat, etc) but adores stone-ground, unbleached flour (I think the brand I use is organic in practice if not certification, too). It makes sense; there's more nutrients there for the yeast to snack on.

          Aside from flavour, it's useful to look at the protein content of flours, too, since it is the gluten (a type of protein) which gives bread dough the strength to stretch and trap air bubbles provided by the yeast's fermentation (forgive me if I'm repeating things you already know here!). I've been surprised with how little protein their is in many brands of intensively farmed flours. I've always read that bread flour should ideally have between 11 and 13 percent protein. So I think it would be interesting to see if your findings are in favour of the higher protein flours.

          1. m
            meagan Aug 14, 2007 05:10 AM

            I always use King Arthur Bread Flour for breads. They have an even higher gluten flour called 'Sir Lancelot' that I use for pizzas, bagels and bialys. I have visited their store in Vermont....lovely. I can buy King Arthur Bread Flour at my local grocery, but for the Sir Lancelot flour and other goodies, I order online and have it shipped here.

            1. BarmyFotheringayPhipps Aug 13, 2007 12:26 PM

              Yet another vote for King Arthur here. Their shop in Norwich CT is a regular stop on our annual pre-Thanksgiving game supper trip.

              1 Reply
              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                Gio Aug 14, 2007 08:50 AM

                Yes, we use King Arthur too but stop at their shop in Norwich VT. 135 Route 5 South, Norwich, Vermont 05055 Phone: 802.649.3361

                Sometimes though, when making beer bread, I use any good quality self-rising flour I can find. How do I know it's good quality, you ask? $$$$$

              2. d
                debbiel Aug 13, 2007 12:21 PM

                I some times get wheat or white wheat from the farmers we get our CSA share from. Otherwise, I use King Arthur flours. I've not done any taste tests. Many of the KA flours are available here, and I saw it mentioned on numerous bread-related blogs, so I went with it.

                I've not seen Dakota Maid.

                1. amyzan Aug 13, 2007 11:38 AM

                  I haven't seen Dakota Maid in the groceries here. I mostly use various flours from King Arthur for yeasted breads because they're reliable and available. I use Gold Medal organic unbleached all purpose for non yeasted breads and White Lily's self rising for biscuits. I don't make sourdough, or at least not recently that I can recall.

                  1. Bat Guano Aug 13, 2007 10:12 AM

                    I always use King Arthur, but that's just because my mother told me it's the best flour. She's been baking a lot longer than I have.

                    1. chowser Aug 13, 2007 09:44 AM

                      I would love your comparisons, if you've written it down. Have you tried white whole wheat? I've found I can substitute half for white and get a more substantial loaf than white but not as heavy as all whole wheat. The only brands of flour I can get are the general ones like Gold Medal and King Arthur so I stick with King Arthur.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: chowser
                        debbiel Aug 13, 2007 12:23 PM

                        I'd also be interested in reading some of your notes on other comparisons, Father Kitchen. I always enjoy your bread baking posts!

                      2. C. Hamster Aug 13, 2007 09:37 AM

                        King Arthur is my go to brand for most all flours.

                        1. Cheese Boy Aug 13, 2007 08:53 AM

                          Try these: http://www.hodgsonmill.com/roi/673/Br...

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