Is King Arthur Flour worth the price?
I enjoy baking a lot, but I'm definitely home-style -- bread, muffins, cookies, cakes, pies, but nothing super-fancy. No Dobosch tortes or macaroons or croissants. I'm usually pretty happy with my results -- but I know that what I make isn't spectacular, and that's fine (that's what bakeries are for). That said, my usual shop was out of the inexpensive unbleached AP flour I usually buy (Gold Medal) and I really needed flour -- so I went ahead and bought KAF organic flour. $9+ for 5 lbs!
Do you think I'll be able to detect a difference between my usual cheap flour and the good stuff? What should I look for?
Is there something I should make that will give me a sense of why folks rave about KAF?
IMO, there's no reason to pay the premium price for KAF. It is a very good product and it certainly does provide a foundation for good quality baked goods but, from my experience, there isn't much (if any) difference in my baked goods using KAF or other good quality super market brands of flour.
Only if you need some kind of special flour that isn't otherwise available. I've used their 'artisan bread flour' before and it does make really good bread, but I've only bothered to buy the 'regular' KAF flour once because I didn't think it made a difference.
Hmm, my perspective might be a bit different...
When I lived in the States i used to buy KAF whenever possible, as it was the closest to the kind of flour I was used to using in Australia.
So I would say there is a detectable difference, but that it may be a plus or a minus depending on your expectations.
I found it was a little lighter in the end product, and had the 'right' taste for my palate.
Also it had no added salt - some flours from the supermarket seemed to have added salt, which - as a foreigner - I found beyond weird.
I wont buy anything but King Arthur's bread flour and their Round Table pastry flour. However I don't think that their AP is significantly better than Gold Medal(my preferred AP) or Pillsbury, and I would never pay the price for organic flour.