Bread Flour brands - which is best?
For Christmas 2007, my husband bought me a Zojirushi mini bread machine. I find that I'm enjoying the bread made in it much better than store bought supermarket breads.
Since it's just the two of us, the 1 pound loaf is sufficient. I pretty much stick to basic white bread for sandwiches, but from time time, I make cinnamon raisin bread, potato bread and whole wheat using the King Arthur brand bread flour.
This past Sunday, I bought a 5 pound bag for $3.49. On Thursday, I went back to the same store for some other groceries and noticed that both the King Arthur Bread flour and Whole Wheat Bread flours had gone up in price to $4.99.
I'm wondering if any of the supermarket brands of bread flour (Gold Medal or Pillsbury) are any good. They are cheaper than the King Arthur flours, but will they still bake a good loaf of bread? Or should I just suck it up and stick with King Arthur?
I understand that there's a huge spike in flour prices now, but a $1.50 increase in four days for the King Arthur brand seems pretty steep.
Bread prices seem to have TRIPLED recently. I buy All Trump High Gluten bread flour at Costco. The price has gone from $6 and some change to $17 and some change. I don't know about one brand over another, but I do know that using bread flour in stead of AP makes a significant difference in the bread machine.
I would guess, like you say (Gold Medal or Pillsbury) will give you a "good loaf" but I think King Arthur is still the way to go. I am not sure if the gluten content is the same but I would stay with what works and cut the $$$ on something else.
King Arthur all-purpose flour has more gluten than most supermarket "bread flours." KA bread flour has even more gluten. To see the gluten content in the nutritional info on the bag, look at amount or percentage of protein.
By the way, you can buy KA flour and other ingredients online and right now, if you spend at least $75 (you can share with some folks,) shipping is free. All of the regular KA flours (AP, bread, whole wheat, white whole wheat) cost $3.95 per 5-lb. bag. Their store also sells a wide range of baking utensils and ingredients. It's pretty easy to spend $75 there -- I've done it quite often (sigh.)
I love King Arthur flours. Hard to justify the time it takes to make a good loaf of bread with flour that doesn't make the best bread possible. But now that you mention it, I should see how many additional quarters it costs per loaf.