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King Arthur flour

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I have been baking my own breads, bagels, focaccia, pretzels and other yeast products for decades but I never used King Arthur flour, so highly touted by its users. Is it really better than plain old bread flour? Is it worth the extra cost? I know it is somewhat higher in protein content but I can enhance my own bread flour with gluten flour to increase protein content to the same level.

What do you think, all you bakers?
George, Culinary Scientist and author of
http://whatrecipesdonttellyou.com
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George, Culinary Scientist and author of
http://whatrecipesdonttellyou.com
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post #2 of 8
All I know is the higher the amount of protein, the more elasticity it will have. As you knead it glutenin and gliadin ( the 2 molecules that make up gluten) form tiny cross liked nets and make a spider web like structure. This gives your baked good elasticity. If you made a pizza dough for example, and added the water with yeast CO2 will be formed and is trapped in these little holes of the network. Obviously the stabilization comes from baking which heats your dough up and heated proteins result in coagulation, and it's now a bread. Now, understanding this lets you pick what you'd like your flour to do. For what you're making(bagels, pizzas, focaccia etc.) I would say buy a bag, and test the same recipe out for lets say, bagels, just use different flours. Make one with whatever flour you usually use, then one with King Arthur flour, and then if you want even make a 3rd batch with another flour. Write down your results, and decide if it made a difference. Also, do it with more than one baked good so you can see if it's good some things like pizza for example, but doesn't help for focaccia's.

I hoped it helped
post #3 of 8
 all I can think of is that they got low ash content which is suppose to be good quality, though I don't understand what it means myself,maybe less impurities. Other than ash content I don't know how one would define which flour is higher quality based on protein(gluten) levels since that can be changes easily as you said with some gluten flour or have a blend of hard and soft flour to the right protein level.  
post #4 of 8

When I started baking bread seriously I found King Arthur to be everything it's cracked up to be. Much better than the mass-produced bread flour.

Since discovering that Weisenberger Mills is practically in my backyard I've switched to them, as they're every bit as good as the KA, and considerably less expensive---especially since I buy it in #25 bags.

I don't care for the results of high gluten flour. The color of the finished bread isn't the same, and I don't find that it actually improves the things I bake. So I don't use it even as a supplement.

I agree with MGChef that the best thing would be to use the KA and whatever your current flour is side by side, and see if there's any difference. But I don't think I'd do the test with something as dense as a bagel. Try something like a baguette or pane campagne. Any significant differences are more likely to show up there.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #5 of 8
I do very little baking, relatively speaking.  Most of it involves pizza crusts and variations of dinner rolls.  Well, I did make an easy crustless cheesecake the other day, but that's off topic.

I use King Arthur bread flour, and the results are noticeably better than using basic all purpose flour.  I can't say how it compares to other specific bread flours, I'm just a satisfied customer.

mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by gNnairdA View Post

 all I can think of is that they got low ash content which is suppose to be good quality, though I don't understand what it means myself,maybe less impurities. ...

Paraphrasing from Bread: A baker's Book of techniques and Recipes by Hamelman:  Ash is an indication of mineral content of flour...it indicates the degree of milling...the mineral and protein increases toward the periphery of the grain.  Low ash indicates milling toward the heart of the endosperm whereas high ash indicates milling farher out on the endosperm.
 

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
I currently buy my bread flour at Costco in 50-lb bags and I admit I haven't tested it side-by-side against other flours. However, I found that nearly any food item I ever bought at Costco is of high quality. But I'll follow your suggestion.
George, Culinary Scientist and author of
http://whatrecipesdonttellyou.com
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George, Culinary Scientist and author of
http://whatrecipesdonttellyou.com
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post #8 of 8
Is that Costco flour unbleached? I've never been in a Costco, so don't know how they do things.

Sam's also offers those big bags. But their bread flour is bleached, and I don't use that.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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