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Feb 12, 2008 06:58 AM

Bread yeast and flour in SD

I am looking for ingredients to bake bread, such as Saf yeast from france, good quality bread flour.... I tried Whole Foods, but failed. Can anybody tell me where to go in San Diego?

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  1. For bread flour I use King Arthur, which can be surprisingly difficult to find. (Their all purpose flour is usually what I see in most aisles...) However Henry's Marketplace has been a good source for the KABF, and just recently I found it also at the Encinitas Ralph's.

    Sorry I can't help you on the SAF yeast. I've certainly seen it around, but cannot seem to recall where! (It may have been CostCo...) I'm sure others will chime in on this one...

    1. I found KA White Whole Wheat at Henry's in Encinitas and at Major Market in Escondido. I haven't used it yet, but I am trying to understand how the Costco/Kirkland whole grain bread can be so light without white flour. I expect that the White Wheat is the answer. Please let us know what you eventually come up with. Ever heard of Ultragrain?

      11 Replies
      1. re: Leucadian

        Leucadian: Sounds very interesting... Do you know if Ultragrain is locally available off the shelf? I don't thiink I've ever come across the Eagle Mills' product...

        1. re: cgfan

          cgfan: I will try KA definitely. maybe I should check out COSTCO for SAF.

          Leucadian: yes, I would like to know where you can buy Ultragrain around here.

          1. re: cgfan

            No, I don't know if it's available here. The website doesn't show any distributors in CA. But I think the KA WWW (white whole wheat) may be the same thing.

            There's a reference to WWW as a grain in Maggie Glezers book Artisan Baking (page 43): 'White wheats, which have a tan seed coat instead of a red one, are the breeders' darlings, and have generated a lot of interest among growers, millers, and bakers. ... The university (Kansas State) plans to gradually replace the hard red wheats with the whites in Kansas; in fifteen years, Kansas may be planted entirely in hard white wheats. Many prefer whites wheats: Millers can extract more white flour from the grain, making them more profitable, and bakers find the whole grain flour looks lighter and tastes sweeter and less astringent than the whole grain flour milled from red wheats'. Maybe in the future we'll be wistfully remembering the old days of flavorful, chewy, hard red whole wheat bread.

            Anyone have professional baking contacts out there for a reading on this? I haven't made anything with the bag I bought over the weekend.

            As to the SAF yeast, I don't think Costco has it, but you might look for it in the specialty European markets like Cedars in Escondido or North Park Produce. I was in Utah a couple of months ago, and in one store counted 16 different yeasts, from three manufacturers. Here we're lucky to find more than a single vendor, and three different packages/types.

            1. re: Leucadian

              For me it's not so much a matter of the color, but of the lack of rise with WW, and to a lesser extent the taste.

              Although I realize that it's an area of some controvery in the reading that I've done, my current understanding is that the lack of rise may be due to the presence of the bran that acts as sharps which causes damage to the gluten strands and thus tends to puncture the hole structure and thereby tends to suppress the rise. Looking at Ultragrain's site, it seems as if they overcome this by a unique milling process that grinds all components down to a particle size similar to that of white flour.

              In that case I wouldn't expect switching to white wheat to necessarily make a funcitonal difference in this regard.

              Leucadian, reading your (very informative, well-researched, and truly impressive) posts elsewhere on these boards, I know that you have a deep understanding of even the arcane areas of baking, so if you don't mind me asking, what are your thoughts on this matter?

              1. re: cgfan

                Thanks for the compliment, but I am strictly an amateur baker and cook. I have good reason to be modest!

                That said, I heard the same things about the bran cutting the gluten strands, so when I first saw the Kirkland Whole Grain bread, I thought maybe the mill sifted out the bran, processed it some more, then added it back in. But I haven't seen anyone advertise that, whereas I have seen this new white wheat mentioned. I agree with you about color, I'm looking for a higher loft, not lighter color. My wife objected to the earthy taste of the last batch of whole wheat and white bread that I made, so I'm still working on this. I'm hopeful that the WWW will do the trick. Note that in the Glezer quote, she said that many people thought the WWW tasted sweeter, and the millers were able to get a higher extraction out of it, so there appears to be more than just color involved.

                1. re: Leucadian

                  Hey Leucadian,

                  I am also in Leucadia and bake bread. I mill my own flour with a Nutrimill. I started out using KA WW white flour and found it to be too bland, so now I use half WW white and red flour. I doubt Kirkland is 100% whole wheat, most commercial WW flour has a lot of the components of the wheat berry removed such as the germ and possibly some of the bran. I find I get the best results by using buttermilk and sourdough starter. I still use yeast because it is faster and more reliable than depending on the sourdough culture to do the rising, but the sourdough seems to improve the dough performance. I highly recommend Peter Reinhart's book Whole Grain Breads.

                  1. re: Leucadian

                    I forgot to mention this great web site for bread baking if you have not been there yet:


                    1. re: pantani

                      Hi neighbor!
                      I just baked a batch of 50/50 KA WWW/UBAP, with my sourdough starter as a pre-ferment in the fridge, and then 1/2 t active dry yeast before the intermediate ferment. The flavor was good, and it browned nicely (I added some of my own honey), but I wasn't patient enough on the final ferment, and the loaves were rather dense and fine grained. I made it with 65% hydration, and probably let it rise too long before shaping, and not long enough before baking. It tasted great when toasted though.

                      If you're interested, sign up on SDCHOW on Yahoo. Local CH'ers use that channel to schedule chowdowns and such activities that are off topic on CH.

                      1. re: Leucadian

                        Hi again,

                        When you do the first bulk rise, use a container with vertical walls so you know when it has doubled. Don't let it go too long. King Arthur sells plastic container called doubling buckets that are good for this. On the final rise it should take about 45 minutes in a warm place. If you let it go too long it will collapse. Presoaking the flour overnight also helps.

                        1. re: pantani

                          I plan on baking again next week, and I'll let you know how it turns out. Your thinking is the same as mine: I did pre-soak the flour that wasn't in the sourdough pre-ferment, then combined the two doughs plus salt for the bulf ferment, followed by shaping and final ferment. I just wasn't patient enough. Smart and Final has some Cambro containers that are fairly straight-sided, although I don't use them. Thought about it though.

            2. re: Leucadian

              Check the label. Many breads that claim to be 100% whole wheat are often made with vital wheat gluten. This is from the 'white' part of the flour, so I don't know how they get away with calling the bread 100% whole wheat. These breads also seem to include many other not so great ingredients such as many different types of sugars and chemicals to lighten the bread. I think it's like any other type of food where someone is trying to get something to be different than it's natural state. Like lowfat mayonnaise which is full of added sugar which to me not only is a random substitution, but just plain tastes bad.

              1. re: LarryP

                All the Trader's that I've ever been to had the King Arthur All Purpose and I believe their Whole Wheat too, but not their Bread Flour (light blue package). But if you've come across the KABF at Trader's, it'll be great to know which branch carries them...

                1. re: LarryP

                  The bread flour comes in the light blue bag. Henry's had it over Christmas. Unsure if they still carry it.

                  Nijiya market on Convoy has small bags of KABF.

                  The french yeast used to be carried at Major Market (one in Escondido and one in Fallbrook) Unsure if it is still there, but ask and they will get it for you.

                  1. re: Cathy

                    Henry's North Park consistently carries KA bread flour. I also enjoy the Bob's brand of yeast, cornmeal, etc. that they carry. It's worked pretty well in my projects.

                2. COSTCO sells yeast and good quality bread flour.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: cstr

                    I can't believe how difficult to find SAF! Does anybody know good quality yeast besides SAF?

                    1. re: mayuchico

                      They must have been listening. Trader Joes in Encinitas has KA WWW and regular WW, plus AP. Didn't see any bread flour though. BUT they do carry SAF yeast, in 7g triple packets, both active dry and instant (I think they call it Perfect or something like that).

                      I think that Costco's flour had a dough conditioner, although I don't remember what it was (ascorbic acid??)

                      1. re: Leucadian

                        Speaking of dough conditioners, some time ago I obtained some amylase enzyme from the Home Brew Mart in Linda Vista. By chance would you have any experience using amylase in what I believe to be in its pure form, versus the diastatic malt extract that's normally called out for in the books?

                        I know that distatic malt extract would contain the amylase enzyme, but I'm assuming that a product labelled as distatic malt extract would have a lower concentration of the enzyme than a product labelled as amylase enzyme. Any thoughts on this? Am I assuming too much? If they do by chance differ, does anyone know how to adjust the quantities of one for the other?

                        Many thanks in advance!

                        1. re: cgfan

                          It's my understanding that when adding diastatic malt to dough, the standard is one teaspoon per cup of flour. I'd guess (and this is only that, a guess) that if your amylase enzyme is stronger, go with less per cup of flour. Maybe 1/2 tsp. per cup? It's a good place to start experimentation, anyway.

                          Also, I want to mention that gluten will help enormously when added to whole wheat bread dough made with 100% hard winter wheat flour. I'd also go for recipes that give you a long, slow rise, especially an overnight cold rise. That way, enzymes can convert more sugars during the rise. Most people prefer this slightly sweeter, but also more complex flavor in ww bread.

                        2. re: Leucadian

                          Now that I'm looking, everyone has SAF. I found a huge block in Smart and Final in Kearney Mesa/Clairmont the other day. I think it was the 500g compressed block instant yeast that's advertised on ebay. It was under $3. I looked on SAF Yeast web site though, and that package did not appear. May be commercial packaging.

                          1. re: Leucadian

                            Leucadian: I didn't know there was a S&F in Kearny Mesa. Where about is it? I'm in the area often and it might come in handy, though their Encinitas store is just an off-ramp away from where I live...

                            (I recently picked up some SAF-Instant at the Encinitas branch, where they also had it in good supply...)

                            1. re: cgfan

                              It's on Clairemont Mesa and Limerick Ave., just a little west of the 805 Clmt. Mesa off-ramp.

                              1. re: geekyfoodie

                                geekyfoodie: Thanks for the info!

                                1. re: cgfan

                                  Not a problem, cgfan! :) That S&F branch has the added bonus of being very close to a certain coffee cart...

                                  SAF yeast is very intriguing. I don't know if I bake bread often enough for a 500g block, though.

                                  1. re: geekyfoodie

                                    Yes, a certain coffee cart... :-) (The espresso cart in front of the Kaiser Permanente on the other side of I-805, for those who are wondering...)

                                    I know what you mean about the quantity, as I generally feel the same way. But on the other hand I'm a bit tired of using only a tiny fraction of the little foil packs and throwing the rest away, so it does make a lot of sense to get the brick. And it's nice not having to proof the yeast, and it's higher potency is an additional plus...

                                    I initially took a useful portion of the yeast out of the brick and into a vacuum sealed bag and now keep it in the frig for regular use, while the rest of the brick I also vacuum sealed and keep it in the freezer for longer-term storage.

                                    The vacuum bag that I made for the frig I kept particularly long so that I can continue to cut open, dispense, revacuum and reseal several times over. (The nature of the vacuum sealers is such that the bag gets substantially shorter and shorter with each and every reseal...)

                    2. Was in Boney's Marketplace in Oceanside (on Oceanside Blvd right off I-5) and they have a large assortment of whole grains and flours in these big buckets that you can buy as much or as little as you want. Quite a find, actually...

                      They had traditional wheat flour, a lighter wheat flour, soy flour, rice flour, pancake mix, flaxseed (2 kinds), wheat berries, about 8 kinds of granola, all kinds of nuts, dehydrated fruit, etc. Wow, I could go on and on!

                      Anyway, maybe they have the yeast you are looking for...I'd give them a call.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: LisaSD

                        The store seems really interesting. I will give them a call to make sure if they have it, before I drive there. Thank you!