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Oct 23, 2011 04:26 PM

what flour do you use

i like to have unbleached ap flour, cake flour, and self rising on hand. no longer keep bread flour. mostly gold medal. i see all those 50# bags (generic?) at costco and wonder if that's the way professionals go. or is it worth it to get specialty flours like king arthur and bob's red mill. or what about the nutrition and flavor of home ground flour, though i now use very little whole wheat flour.

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  1. I'm not a pro, just an avid baker. I've gotten 25# bags of bleached AP flour from Costco and for general baking (cookies, cupcakes, even pancakes) it works very well.
    King Arthur Unbleached AP flour has a touch more protein than the bleached AP flour I got at Costco, but I've used both and can't say I've seen a huge difference in the 2 in things like choc chip cookies and basic cupcakes. Using Unbleached instaead of bleached does make more of a difference in things like Madelines, genoise, (what I like to call simple-but-difficult recipes)

    I'm not sure what you mean by home ground flour... do you have a grindstone available to you?

    I guess the best way to answer your question is to ask you one first... what will you be making with this 50# of flour? And is cost a factor to you?

    5 Replies
    1. re: iluvcookies

      costco does have unbleached flour, but not always, even staples there change. i mostly make bread, pizza, quick breads, less often sweet things like cookies. i would easily go thru 50# in less than a year, estimate that is about 2 1/2-5 gallon buckets. 50# is cheaper per pound but since i am considering a grain mill that runs from $200-600, i wonder if the flavor and nutrition of fresh milled is worth it, again with thought i haven't used much whole wheat flour. i guess i should try that first.

      1. re: divadmas

        For bread and pizza, I use either KA or Gold Medal bread flour.
        I can't speak for the nutrition or flavor of home ground flours, but I imagine what you get out of your grain mill is only as good as what you put in.

        1. re: divadmas

          Yes, you definitely should acquaint yourself with regular use of whole wheat flour before buying a grain mill. Freshly milled grain is completely different in application than anything else including bagged whole wheat or whole grain flours. None of the things you describe being a regular baker of will lend themselves well to use of 100% whole wheat flour, and especially not freshly milled which is another entirely different animal. You will have a VERY steep learning curve. Adapt all of your regularly baked items to 100% whole wheat or as high a proportion as you are happy with and then consider the added twist of freshly milled flour.

        2. re: iluvcookies

          I use all KA products - AP, bread, and sir lancelot. The KA distribution center did not have sir lancelot so I bought it from a company in wisconsin - price was good, shipping was not idea. I bought a 25lbs bag then.

          For AP and bread flour, I bought 50lb bags and it was so much cheaper at the KA distribution facility - about $20 each. I store then in 22qt cambro containers purchased from Katom for about $20 each. You need 2 for a 50# sack of flour.

          I use bread for bread and pizza. Sir lancelot for pizza - i love chewy crust pizza. AP flour for everything else - cake, cookies, etc.

          I'm thinking of getting cake flour from the distribution center - if they have it. I currently use Swansdown for delicate layer cakes.

          1. re: iluvcookies

            iluvcookies, we do own a small flour mill, which we use to grind wonderful whole wheat flour!

          2. I do alot of baking, mostly breads, cookies and muffins. I use mainly store-brand all purpose, with very good results. I occasionally buy Gold Medal bread flour and whole wheat, and Bob's Red Mill for some specialty flours. I haven't bought the 25 or 50 pound bags mainly for storage reasons. Having had bug problems, I keep my flours in the refrigerator or freezer, where I don't have the space to store large quantities. But i wouldn't hesitate to use a generic brand.

            1. Flour is one of my "brand loyalty" things. I use Gold Medal all purpose and self rising. If I were ever to need cake flour, I'd use Swans Down. Highly unlikely that will ever happen.

              1. I normally use King Arthur AP and bread flour for bread and general baking.
                I use Molino Caputo flour for pasta, and for pizza a mix of KABF and Caputo for the extra protein.

                1. I always have organic AP unbleached white, bread, and whole wheat at home. Never keep self rising or low gluten varieties because they can be substituted quite easily. 1 cup of self rising flour is just 1 cup of AP + 1.5tsp baking powder. 1 cup cake flour = 14 Tbsp AP + 2 Tbsp cornstarch. Some even says it could go up to 25% cornstarch and 75 % AP. Try these substitutions and see if they work for your recipes. If so, then you really need to focus on one kind.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: cutipie721

                    i used to use bread flour esp for pizza but now use ap with no great difference. self rising flour is from a softer wheat i think and really does make better biscuits.

                    1. re: cutipie721

                      I use self rising for biscuits. It is made with softer wheat than all purpose.

                      1. re: Plano Rose

                        I was under the impression that softer flour can be created by mixing AP with cornstarch, like the cake flour substitution I mentioned above.


                        The same type of flour may behave differently if it's from a different brand. There will always be experiments involved when making substitutions. If it means this can help me consolidate the number of types of flour I have in the pantry, I'm all for it. :-)

                        1. re: cutipie721

                          Well, I guess it depends on how often you make biscuits. I make them about once a week. Bread, fussy cakes, etc., not so much. All purpose is fine for thickening. So all purpose and self rising work for me.

                          1. re: cutipie721

                            I had never heard of using cornstarch. I can't reliably get White Lily at my Kroger any more, so I usually use cake flour per Julia Child's instructions on how to simulate soft-wheat flours such as that.