Does bread flour need more yeast?

Somebody gave me 50 pounds of bread flour. I’ve never worked with anything but all-purpose flour, and long-time readers know it took me a very long time to learn how to bake reliable bread.

Now today I tried working with the bread flour not expecting much difference. I figured for the first attempt I’d make no recipe changes at all, only the flour. It was a lot more different than I expected. The texture of the dough was far different, much more grainy and it took far less flour to make a ball with the same amount of water. And then although it seemed to rise well enough at first, it baked into a couple of unappetizing bricks.

Not encouraging, plus I’m not sure what I need to change to get it to work.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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9 Responses to Does bread flour need more yeast?

  1. Ben says:

    The Interweb is full of articles on the difference between bread and all-purpose flour. This nugget sounds vaguely helpful.

    “Bread flour is a high-gluten flour that has very small amounts of malted barley flour and vitamin C or potassium bromate added. The barley flour helps the yeast work, and the other additive increases the elasticity of the gluten and its ability to retain gas as the dough rises and bakes. Bread flour is called for in many bread and pizza crust recipes where you want the loftiness or chewiness that the extra gluten provides. It is especially useful as a component in rye, barley and other mixed-grain breads, where the added lift of the bread flour is necessary to boost the other grains. ”

    “All-purpose flour is made from a blend of high- and low-gluten wheats, and has a bit less protein than bread flour — 11% or 12% vs. 13% or 14%. You can always substitute all-purpose flour for bread flour, although your results may not be as glorious as you had hoped. There are many recipes, however, where the use of bread flour in place of all-purpose will produce a tough, chewy, disappointing result. Cakes, for instance, are often made with all-purpose flour, but would not be nearly as good made with bread flour. ”

    It appears that you may simply need a different bread recipe. 50 pounds of flour is certainly worth a bit of experimentation.

  2. Joel says:

    I read that very piece. And others as well, that say pretty much the same thing. What they don’t say is how to fix it.

  3. UnReconstructed says:

    You *could* use a tad more yeast, but I think you are already on the right track with using less flour.

    What I have read says that you need to lower the protein content by putting 1 Tablespoon cornstarch/Cup of bread flour, in other words dilute the bread flour with cornstarch.

    This:

    http://community.kingarthurflour.com/

    is an excellent site for the very last word in bread, pastry etc.

    Personally, I only use bread flour, but I’m pretty weird about my breadmaking. Most of the time I only use four ingredients, water, yeast, salt and flour, and lately, I only use three, because sourdough.

    I know you have a recipe that you use that works splendidly for your climate/altitude. Try the cornstarch dilution.

  4. s says:

    I worked in a bakery for a while.

    Bread flour doesn’t require as much kneading. It has a lot of gluten and if you work it too much you get the tough, chewy product you describe.

    You have to use your hands and eyes. Try kneading your next batch as little as possible, just enough to get the dough elastic and shiny. That may prove to be too little, but if the next loaves rise and bake well you’ll know you’re on the right track.

    It could also be rising; how did your first loaves look after the second rising?

  5. MamaLiberty says:

    That’s interesting, Joel. I use bread flour when I can get it, and find no significant difference. But remember that I use half white flour and half home ground whole white wheat. In any case, it rises just fine. I think S is right. Try not kneading it so long. And use that flour up fast, or find some way to store it in a cool place. It will get stale fast in the heat of summer.

  6. Zelda says:

    What s said. I make all of my own bread, have not tried the cornstarch UnReconstructed uses. Do you have or can you borrow/make an insulated, cool storage place that the mice can’t get to? Is digging a hole and putting metal barrels (mice will chew through fiberglass or foam) or a small non-working refrigerator or freezer in it, putting a piece of wood over the top, with straw/hay on that, a possibility for cool storage? It would work for storing veggies too.

  7. RKflorida says:

    About 1% higher protein and used for bread, pizza dough, bagels, etc. Not for cakes, cookies, or pie dough. It will actually raise higher than All Purpose flour but needs more time. You need recipes that are specifically for bread flour as it is not directly interchangeable with AP flour. Try King Arthur’s site http://www.kingarthurflour.com for more information, especially under “Flour Matters”. BTW 50 lbs of bread flour is worth finding a use for. Bread machines especially use it.

  8. Matt says:

    Will it make tortillas?

  9. C-90 says:

    http://www.kingarthurflour.com/flours/

    click on the bread flour entry for recipes

To the stake with the heretic!