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Aug 24, 2012 01:41 PM

Cheap KA Bread Flour?

Anyone have a good source? I go through a 5lb bag a week it seems between a few pizza's and a few ciabatta's - especially now that I have Peter Reinhardts excellent book 'artisan breads every day' - but the stuff never seems to be on sale.

I've tried other brands, and don't mind them, but as I know most recommend KA for it's consistency, I'd rather just pay the extra 50 cents more and stick with it until I really know what I'm doing.

I've seen regular AP flour on sale in bigger bags at costco, but aside from driving to their mill does anyone have a good recommendation for the higher protein Bread flour?


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  1. Have you looked in Market Basket? I am not sure if they all carry KA bread flour but their other KA flours are cheaper than buying KA by mail or online, and super-economical when it's on sale, which happens periodically.

    I've never bought Trader Joe's flours, but they are packaged in bags that are of KA lookalike design. I am not saying they are made by KA (I have no idea), but they clearly are meant to convey a message that they are of the same high quality.

    1 Reply
    1. re: greygarious

      most definitely not:

      interesting story though (and a recipe for their peppermint joe-joes!). I really like the fact that KA is owned by its employees as well, but I admit I have used TJ's flour before to very good results.

      It seems their AP has 4g of protein, while KA's AP has 3 grams. I haven't compared their bread flour protein yet.

    2. I order directly from KA on line - among other things, they have good gluten free products and I'm fond of their scone mix.

      1. You can get 50-lb bags of KA "special" flour at Restaurant Depot for under $50. AFAIK this is pretty similar to their bread flour in its protein content, and I've had good results baking pizza and bread with it.

        18 Replies
        1. re: Luther

          Last I checked KA Special was closer to $20 a bag. And it produces excellent results for pizza--I was much less happy with the results from RD's "00" pizza flour, which is 50% more expensive. I'd be surprised if Perkins didn't have it as well, and they have warehouses open to the public in Taunton, Worcester and Providence.

          1. re: Luther

            You need to be a business owner with the proper tax certificate to buy at Restaurant Depot. Are there any ingredient suppliers like this in the Boston area that are open to the public?

            1. re: suepea

              Anyone can get a tax ID number...

              1. re: StriperGuy

                The last time I went there they wouldn't accept my tax ID number - said I had to bring in the certificate itself! Which made me a very sad chowhound. (I don't have a certificate,but I do have a tax ID.) sniffle...sniffle..

                  1. re: threedogs

                    What is the certificate, exactly? I would've expected that if you got an actual tax ID number (as opposed to the common claim you can use your SSN for this) it would arrive in the mail printed on a piece of paper. Do they actually ask for a DBA now? That can be cheap or expensive, depending on where you live.

                    1. re: KWagle

                      I think they just want the US govt form that you get when you get a tax ID number.

                      1. re: StriperGuy

                        Yeah - just the letter they send you confirming the tax ID #.

                  2. re: StriperGuy

                    Sorry -- unless I am missing something -- that doesn't seem honest or legal, if I am not in reality a "tax exempt reseller." Seems like a way to avoid paying sales tax. (Although there is no tax on grocery items.)

                    1. re: suepea

                      Let's say you are thinking of starting a catering business and need to evaluate some food products prior to starting a business.

                      1. re: suepea

                        You are missing something. They want you to show a corporate tax ID (EIN), not necessarily a tax-exempt one (which you would get if you are a non-profit). And as you said, either way, no sales tax on grocery items. Anyhow, any entity can get an EIN from the federal government. You don't have to incorporate or anything.

                        1. re: Luther

                          Perhaps I garbled the concepts of 'tax exempt 'and 'reseller' a bit. My point still stands. Here is what RD site says:

                          "Restaurant Depot is wholesale only. To qualify for a free membership account, on your first visit you need to show a valid reseller's permit (business license) or tax-exempt certificate (for a non-profit organization) and show proof that you are authorized to purchase for said business or organization."

                          A "valid resellers permit" is not an EIN.

                          Why does RD require this? Because otherwise RD would be obligated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to collect sales tax from its customers (on taxable items).

                          Sure, I can get an EIN (although technically I don't need one - my SSN would work as a sole proprietor). Either way, I can go to the state Department of Revenue and register as a business, and fill out this form - - and take it to RD and buy flour, stoves, etc. and probably will never be caught.

                          That doesn't make it right.

                          1. re: suepea

                            I will buy a loaf of bread from your new business and thus you are completely legit and will be able to sleep at night.

                            1. re: suepea

                              Oh hmm. Didn't realize that showing EIN was only for nonprofits. Anyhoo, this has nothing to do with "right." It's not like RD doesn't want your business, they just need to keep up their "only for the trade" charade so they can maintain deals with their suppliers, right?

                              1. re: Luther

                                Who said showing EIN was only for nonprofits? The EIN issue is a red herring. I can be a business with my SSN (sole proprietor, no employees). If you have to use the word "charade" I think you know the answer. I think RD doesn't want the hassle of dealing with small transactions and collecting and remitting sales tax on a weekly or quarterly basis. I spoke up about the legal/ethical issues only because I think that we as a society are too accepting of behavior like cheating on taxes - as demonstrated by the glibness about it here. "Everyone does it so it must be OK." You may have the last word if you wish to. Not gonna debate you or Striper guy any further on this. (Pretty soon the Chowhound administrators are going to delete these anyway for being off topic.)

                                1. re: suepea

                                  This is getting pretty far off-topic, as suepea noted. Can we ask that people let this sub-thread go?

                      2. re: suepea

                        Oh - Duh. Just realized you mentioned Perkins warehouses. Could've spared us this whole sales tax exemption debate (my bad).

                    2. Most Market Baskets carry KA flour. It does go on sale. not often, maybe every 3 months?

                        1. re: treb

                          I believe Costco has "All Trumps" whatever that is. Seems to come from General Mills.


                          1. re: KWagle

                            AT is the highest gluten product, similar to KA's Sir Lancelot. For thin NY slice style and bagels only.

                            1. re: Luther

                              I've been reading about bromated flour and now I want to try AT bromated. :-/

                              1. re: KWagle

                                What are the benefits of bromated flour?

                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                  IMHO the only benefit of bromated flour is that it is cheaper than using a higher gluten flour. Its use in banned in Canada and the EU, among others. Potassium Bromate is considered a carginogen, but because it was in common use before the Delaney clause of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act was enacted, it was grandfathered in.

                                  When used properly, all the bromate decomposes and the bromine is released as gas. They key is, used properly. Too much bromate, too cool or too short baking time for the size of the items, and some bromine compounds will remain.

                                  1. re: jira

                                    okay, but I still don't understand what bromated flour is supposed to do besides save money from buying a higher protein flour. Help develop more structure in the dough?

                                    1. re: Madrid

                                      Yes, the bromate ion acts as a dough strengthener. The result is a product that seems to have inherited some of Wonder Bread's genes: soft, doughy, and tasteless.

                                      1. re: jira

                                        thanks. I'll avoid it and go the slow rise, low yeast method I've been using. lots of holes, and deep flavor. As a child of the 60's in the south, I think I remember an ad campaign for the local regional version of wonder bread..look ma, no holes. Indeed. I won't try to make any connections to a certain national party's ....

                                        1. re: Madrid

                                          Bromated and Bleached seems to just mean 'over processed and poor quality' in my book. I've also heard the scary stories about bromated, so I've just stuck to KA and TJ's brand etc since then. For a few cents more, why risk it?

                                          I am a huge fan of the slow, cold rise in the fridge as detailed in Artisan Bread every day. It is super simple, although the doughs tend to be very sticky, because they are so 'wet' - really something you'd only want to mess with if you had a stand mixer. Whenever I've made bread or dough in the past letting it rise in a warm place for a few hours, I could never get rid of that yeasty taste, not sure if it didn't rise long enough or what, but the new cold rise method is cake. Just mix it in your stand mixer, cover it, take it out an hour before while your prepping other stuff, and bake it. Makes excellent pizza dough and foccacia and ciabatta so far.

                                          Anyways I've found a source cheap source for Double 0 / dopio cero flour over in the north end (Polcari's Market has bins of the stuff) ....I'm thinking of giving it a try for pizza's. Anyone ever use the stuff and does it work differently than regular US flour? More or less hydration needed per volume etc?

                                          1. re: jefskil

                                            00 flour refers to the grind, not the protein content of the flour. I haven't been to Polcari's in a while, but the 00 flour they had before was oriented towards pasta making. Capone's carries both 00 flour for pasta and pizza. For pizza the imported 00 flour does work differently and to be honest a lot of folks using home ovens prefer either US flour or mixing the 00. Hydration is going to depend on how you are baking the pizza and the style of pizza you are going for. For technical help I would suggest either forums or the Home Cooking board (which has some overlap).

                            2. re: KWagle

                              Costco has King Arthur flour from King Arthur Flour Co.

                              1. re: treb

                                Yes, in 25lb bags, but they only carry AP in Everett.

                                1. re: smtucker

                                  KA flour at Costco 35 cents per pound, KA flour at Market Basket 76 cents per pound, you do the math!