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Cheap KA Bread Flour?

jefskil Aug 24, 2012 01:41 PM

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. greygarious RE: jefskil Aug 24, 2012 02:06 PM

    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
      jefskil RE: greygarious Aug 24, 2012 03:57 PM

      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. t
      teezeetoo RE: jefskil Aug 24, 2012 02:07 PM

      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. Luther RE: jefskil Aug 24, 2012 02:09 PM

        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
          KWagle RE: Luther Aug 29, 2012 01:12 AM

          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
            suepea RE: Luther Aug 30, 2012 08:53 AM

            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
              StriperGuy RE: suepea Aug 30, 2012 02:35 PM

              Anyone can get a tax ID number...

              1. re: StriperGuy
                threedogs RE: StriperGuy Aug 30, 2012 03:27 PM

                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
                  StriperGuy RE: threedogs Aug 30, 2012 11:12 PM

                  Hmmm. that's a new wrinkle.

                  1. re: threedogs
                    KWagle RE: threedogs Aug 30, 2012 11:52 PM

                    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
                      StriperGuy RE: KWagle Aug 31, 2012 07:03 AM

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

                      1. re: StriperGuy
                        nsenada RE: StriperGuy Aug 31, 2012 10:40 AM

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

                  2. re: StriperGuy
                    suepea RE: StriperGuy Aug 30, 2012 04:26 PM

                    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
                      StriperGuy RE: suepea Aug 30, 2012 11:11 PM

                      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: StriperGuy
                        suepea RE: StriperGuy Aug 31, 2012 04:12 AM

                        You forgot the "wink, wink."

                      2. re: suepea
                        Luther RE: suepea Aug 31, 2012 03:21 AM

                        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
                          suepea RE: Luther Aug 31, 2012 04:11 AM

                          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 - http://www.mass.gov/dor/docs/dor/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
                            StriperGuy RE: suepea Aug 31, 2012 07:05 AM

                            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
                              Luther RE: suepea Aug 31, 2012 08:33 AM

                              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
                                suepea RE: Luther Aug 31, 2012 08:50 AM

                                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
                                  The Chowhound Team RE: suepea Aug 31, 2012 09:36 AM

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

                      3. re: suepea
                        suepea RE: suepea Aug 31, 2012 08:15 AM

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

                    2. g
                      gracenote RE: jefskil Aug 24, 2012 07:04 PM

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

                      1. t
                        treb RE: jefskil Aug 25, 2012 05:43 AM

                        Costco carries KA.

                        13 Replies
                        1. re: treb
                          KWagle RE: treb Aug 29, 2012 01:15 AM

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


                          1. re: KWagle
                            Luther RE: KWagle Aug 29, 2012 03:04 AM

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

                            1. re: Luther
                              KWagle RE: Luther Aug 30, 2012 01:56 AM

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

                              1. re: KWagle
                                StriperGuy RE: KWagle Aug 30, 2012 06:40 AM

                                What are the benefits of bromated flour?

                                1. re: StriperGuy
                                  jira RE: StriperGuy Aug 30, 2012 07:47 AM

                                  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
                                    Madrid RE: jira Aug 30, 2012 08:34 AM

                                    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
                                      jira RE: Madrid Aug 30, 2012 09:20 AM

                                      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
                                        Madrid RE: jira Aug 30, 2012 09:47 AM

                                        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
                                          jefskil RE: Madrid Aug 30, 2012 08:49 PM

                                          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
                                            itaunas RE: jefskil Aug 31, 2012 02:29 AM

                                            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 pizzamaking.com forums or the Home Cooking board (which has some overlap).

                            2. re: KWagle
                              treb RE: KWagle Aug 29, 2012 06:00 AM

                              Costco has King Arthur flour from King Arthur Flour Co.

                              1. re: treb
                                smtucker RE: treb Aug 29, 2012 05:32 PM

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

                                1. re: smtucker
                                  treb RE: smtucker Sep 1, 2012 06:39 AM

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

                          2. b
                            bear RE: jefskil Aug 25, 2012 06:37 AM

                            If you aren't opposed to shopping at Walmart, check them out. They have carried KA Bread flour as well as all-purpose flour in the past, and the prices are quite low.

                            I can't remember if Target does.

                            1. StriperGuy RE: jefskil Aug 29, 2012 07:15 AM

                              Target carries the Gold Medal "Better for Bread" flour which is supposedly 12.2-12.7%... decent stuff.

                              1. jira RE: jefskil Aug 29, 2012 10:30 AM

                                KA doesn't have a mill, they contract out the milling to local flour mills. You could go up to their bakery/store, but the prices are the same as their catalog. If you do go that route (store or catalog) try the First Clear Flour. Higher in protein and taste. I'd go for a more hydrated mix if you go that route.

                                1. r
                                  rachgrn RE: jefskil Aug 30, 2012 06:01 AM

                                  Market Basket has all varities of KA flour at the lowest price I have come across. They also carry Bob's Red Mill products, the largest variety I have seen anywhere.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: rachgrn
                                    gracenote RE: rachgrn Aug 30, 2012 09:24 AM

                                    If you're near an Ocean State Job Lot, they have an extensive selection of Bob's Red Mill products- a couple of dollars cheaper than MB.

                                    1. re: gracenote
                                      itaunas RE: gracenote Aug 30, 2012 09:39 AM

                                      gracenote Ocean State has carried Bob's Red Mill for longer and I doubted the "Market Basket has the widest selection," but when looking for a few things recently before a trip I found more available at MB and it turned out to be cheaper (than the Medford Ocean State). My selection of products is probably not representative, but it is worth giving both of them consideration.

                                      The important thing to note about Market Basket compared to other supermarkets is they regularly stock the KA Bread Flour and unlike other products it seems pretty uniform across their stores. As noted, they do have quasi-regular sales. So for those looking for a retail source its probably the better one. However, given the quantities the above poster is mentioning a cash-and-carry restaurant supply option or getting into restaurant-depot is going to be a lot more economical (and fresher than stocking up on similar quantities when MB has a sale).

                                      1. re: gracenote
                                        jefskil RE: gracenote Aug 30, 2012 08:43 PM

                                        On a related note, I often stock up on Polenta from Ocean State. The Bob's Red Mill stuff is the closest (an cheapest) course grit corn meal I have been able to find with any regularity. The only other kind I've seen in the US of that consistency on store shelves was Alpine (?) a swiss brand, and for about twice as much.

                                        If you were raised eating polenta as a staple like rice or pasta, as I was, you can't help but scoff at the expensive prices charged for the real stuff...so it was a nice find. Arborio rice for risotto is also always quite cheap at Ocean State as well, and since it's vacuum sealed, I never seem to notice a degradation in quality.

                                    2. t
                                      tweetie RE: jefskil Sep 1, 2012 12:29 PM

                                      5lbs.....$2.99 this week at Market Basket. I buy in plastic wrapped 8 bag bundles which the store is happy to provide. BJ's also has great prices on 10lb bags.

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