Question About Flour

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by mrdecoy1, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. mrdecoy1

    mrdecoy1

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    Hi, 

    I'm still very new to cooking and have a question to ask. So many recipes call for flour. We just buy the all purpose stuff from Target. If I started buying other brands like King Arthur for example, would I notice an improvement in flavor? please share some wisdom on flour. Thanks.
     
  2. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    Well, first question: what are you using the flour for, i.e. roux, bread, cake, biscuits, pie crusts, etc.?
     
     
  3. mrdecoy1

    mrdecoy1

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    Oh I should have stated that, so far, Beef Bourgeinon, French onion soup, crepes, beer cheese soup, things like that. I plan on learning more about baking after I get more basics down. Thanks 
     
  4. mrdecoy1

    mrdecoy1

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    And chocolate chip cookies.
     
  5. mrdecoy1

    mrdecoy1

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    Anyone care to help here??
     
  6. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    OK, almost without exception, the dishes you mentioned do NOT derive significant flavor from flour! The primary purpose is structural.

    Thus, IMHO, all-purpose is more than adequate.

    Flavor comes from what you ADD to the flour in the listed uses.

    When you get into dishes where flour is a major component is when the flavor of flour begins to play a role, i.e. baking.
     
     
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  7. steelybob

    steelybob

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    even in baking and pastry, different types of (wheat) flour are usually more concerned with structure, eg cake flour, bread flour, AP flour.

    flavor comes into play more when you use something like rye flour, "almond flour" (which is really just ground up almonds), or a whole bunch of different flours mixed together (pumpernickel). but in bread-making flavor is more often affected by ingredients alongside the flour, eg salt, yeast (and its development), cheeses, seeds (sesame, etc), herbs and spices, or even things like wine or chocolate.

    for example, bread flour has a much stronger gluten content than AP, and will develop a much stronger crumb texture as a result, where cake flour will (theoretically) have a much more delicate texture (used properly).

    but flour also has many more properties that relate to it's result. For example: eg for bread, you don't necessarily want "fresh" flour, but rather flour that has some age to it; it's hydration is going to vary from one batch to the other - some flours may require more water than others to achieve correct consistencies/mixes. indeed the hydration of mixes is left to the end of the mix, and variable, for that reason (you add enough liquid until it's "right").

    This is what makes baking so interesting to me (and what many cooks detest!): Flour, yeast and the other things that go into quality baking are living things that are always different, and you need to adapt what you're doing to recreate the same effect as you do it each time.
     
  8. kippers

    kippers

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  9. mrdecoy1

    mrdecoy1

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    Great thank you for clearing that up. So does brand type ever matter? in baking for instance, would I notice a difference in Target/Aldi all purpose vs King Arthur (or other more expensive) all purpose? 
     
  10. petemccracken

    petemccracken

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    For baking, probably yes.

    For anything else, probably no.

    That being said, there are many that will probably disagree with me /img/vbsmilies/smilies/crazy.gif

    Different brands have different standards. As an example, King Arthur is generally higher in protein for the same grade/type.

    Different wheats are used for different brands, hard red, hard, white, soft white, etc.

    IIRC, many swear by White Lily (I think) for biscuits, others have their favorite brand/variety for pasta, while others have specific choices for bread, cakes, pastries, etc. It becomes a matter of personal choice.

    For what I believe is a majority of users, flavor is less important than the other characteristics of flours.

    TA, WTHDIK /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif
     
  11. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    Been using KA for sevferal years and now have switched to White Lily AP and Bread flour.  They're milled in the south and therefore I believe that they consist of soft rather than hard wheat.  KA's is hard wheat.  That said, I've notice a softer crumb in my rye bread using W.L. flour.
     
  12. kippers

    kippers

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    Over here I use Canadian Red Spring white flour with a 15% protein content for bread and pasta, its fantastic.
     
  13. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    Hard spring wheat??

    EDIT:  checkout this map of American wheat regions and then extend the northern portion into your realm of Canada:

    http://www.pastryitems.com/baking_information.htm
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2012
  14. kippers

    kippers

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    Koko I live in England and a few supermarkets sell Red Spring. The wholemeal is fantastic too.
     
  15. kokopuffs

    kokopuffs

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    Having made only bread and neither pasta nor bagels, it would seem that at a 15% protein content, the bread would turn out really chewy instead of tender.  But then the flour you're using is not the stuff I use.  Onward and upward!  Best!