Bread flour question

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Odsox
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Bread flour question

Post: # 290726Post Odsox
Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:40 pm

I know there is at least one member of this forum who knows more about bread making than I do.
So, I have a weird problem that I can't work out the reason for.

I have been making my own bread continuously since the mid '80s, so I've made quite a few loaves.
I now make my bread with the help of our Kenwood, I don't "prove" the dough, just put it straight into tins, and when it's risen stick it in the oven.

I used to use Marriages Canadian flour because that was all that I could get here. It's very expensive and when Te$cos started selling strong flour a few years ago I switched to that. All was OK until our local Aldi started selling strong white and wholemeal flour quite a bit cheaper than Te$co, but I began to notice variable rising when I switched to that.

Last Saturday I did a telling test, I made 2 x 2 kilo batches of dough, both EXACTLY the same, one with Aldi flour and one with Te$co flour, both white. Result, the Te$co one rose as expected but the Aldi one just made it to the top of the tin.
This is what I'd noticed before, it just doesn't rise enough however long you leave it.
The Aldi texture is quite dense, although edible, where the others are nice and light, but no large holes in either.

So, I can't work out why. If the Aldi flour is not strong high gluten flour I would have expected the yeast to continue working until the loaf collapsed in on itself, not just stop.

I've obviously got to go back to Te$co flour, that's not a problem, but Aldi is "local" (15 miles away) and the other is a 120 mile round trip.
Tony

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Re: Bread flour question

Post: # 290727Post Flo
Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:06 pm

What you've proved is that not all equivalent items are equal and that buying cheap doesn't always pay.

Which doesn't answer your question - you need people who have succeeded with Aldi bread flour.

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Re: Bread flour question

Post: # 290728Post Odsox
Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:45 pm

One of each, you'll have to guess which one is which :iconbiggrin:
Bread.jpg
Bread.jpg (185.98 KiB) Viewed 579 times
Tony

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Re: Bread flour question

Post: # 290729Post Green Aura
Tue Feb 13, 2018 5:35 pm

The rise in the dough is due to CO2 from the yeast gobbling up the sugars. I don't use added sugar, just leave it to do its thing but certainly give it a first rise in the bowl then another proof in the tin/tray or whatever.

The rise in the baked loaf comes from something called oven spring - the high heat in the oven causes the water to boil which gives you the bigger holes, or crumb and of course a taller loaf.

So, I don't know what the difference is between the flours but a few things spring to mind -
1) the more expensive flours may have improver added (I'm guessing in small enough quantities it doesn't need mentioning in ingredients). It's unnecessary, the yeast can get everything it needs from the flour itself given time, but improver speeds things up and helps ensure consistent results - big manufacturers add it for that reason. You can buy it or you could try adding a tiny bit of Vit C powder,
2) different flours require different amounts of water so it may be as simple as adding a little more/less (again, I'm guessing probably more). You could try letting the flour and water autolyse before adding the other ingredients. This allows the gluten to form more easily and you get better rise etc
3) it may well be that Aldi and Lidl, producing flour for the entire EU sell a flour or flour blend suited to that market, that will always produce a denser loaf - fluffy, white sliced bread is not as prevalent as here. So you may try all the above and it will still give you something not much different from what you have.

Try this - just once (I know you like experimenting)
Night before - 500g flour
350g water (that's 350ml water is same weight and volume)
10g salt (or 7g if you must)
7g yeast
Mix everything together in a large mixing bowl - it will be a bit wet. Cover with a cloth and leave overnight. Next morning, knead briefly to shape and put in your tin or make it into a boule on a tray. Heat oven to 230C and put tray for water in bottom.
When the oven's up to temperature slash the top of the bread with a sharp blade, put the bread in middle of the oven and throw a cup of water into the hot tray. Shut the oven quickly and time 15 mins, then turn the oven down to 200C. I always turn my bread round after another 10-15 mins so it browns evenly and then bake for another 10-15 minutes until it's as brown as you like it and is cooked through - hollow bottom.

It's dead simple, very little hands on time and bakes the best bread ever (with the exception of sourdough of course :lol:) - no matter what the flour.
Maggie

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Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

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Re: Bread flour question

Post: # 290731Post Odsox
Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:31 pm

Green Aura wrote:certainly give it a first rise in the bowl then another proof in the tin/tray or whatever.
No, I haven't done that for at least 25 years GA, I started doing it text book but did an experiment (again :iconbiggrin: ) by comparing bread that was proved twice against just the one rise. OK, it probably wouldn't win any prizes at a WI flower show, but saved a second knead when I did it by hand, and as you can see in the photo is very edible.

Both those slices in the photo were treated almost exactly the same. Not exact because the left hand loaf was mixed and kneaded 10 minutes after the right hand one, but was left to rise more while the right hand one was baking, so got about 25 minutes more time to rise.

I use frozen yeast. I buy about 100g and mould it into 15g balls which I defrost in half a cup of hot water that has a teaspoon of honey dissolved in it. I wait for it to wake up and froth before using.
The amount of water is not measured as such, I start with 400 ml for a kilo of flour and then add more as the machine is mixing, so whatever the flour needs, a lot more for my wholemeal of course.
I always have a tray of boiling water on the floor of the oven throughout the baking process.

I just couldn't understand why the yeast appears to stop working. I know from experience when I've forgotten I'm actually making bread, that it usually continues until you end up with a Quatermass experiment.

I will try your recipe the next time I have to make more bread and let you know how I get on
Tony

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Re: Bread flour question

Post: # 290732Post Green Aura
Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:37 pm

In the bakery we always used Shipton Mill's French flour - fabulous flour, silky smooth, not too high gluten but more than cake flour. We didn't get our order on one occasion so we had to go to the cash and carry to buy what looked to be a similar product. It was a different colour and texture, mixed differently, proved, baked.....you get the picture. The end result was very decent bread, just not what we were used to.

I don't think the yeast isn't working just that flours react differently. You just need to adjust things until you get the right result.
Maggie

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Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

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Re: Bread flour question

Post: # 290733Post BernardSmith
Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:46 pm

Not a scientist but I do make my own bread and I wonder if the key difference is in the amount of protein each flour has. Sure the yeast produce CO2 but that CO2 needs to be trapped in a net of gluten and I would imagine that the stronger the protein chains, and the more of them the more CO2 that the same yeast will produce will remain trapped. Think of cheap and expensive balloons and how quickly the cheaper ones deflate because the spaces between the molecules are not small enough to trap the air. So even if both bags of flour state that they have the same (or similar ) amounts of protein by weight the quality of the protein and its ... um stretchiness, its stretchability may be quite different.

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Re: Bread flour question

Post: # 290735Post Green Aura
Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:41 am

Indeed, Bernard. All wheat flour has the proteins to make gluten. Different levels in each strain of wheat but all will make a decent loaf - even cake flour, which is very low because you want your cake crumbly rather than chewy. It just takes a bit more time and effort.

Both flours used were sold as "strong flour" i.e. high gluten though so, although you could expect minor differences, the end result should be reasonably similar. In truth, both loaves look pretty good, but the slightly denser loaf doesn't appeal to everyone.

The only reason for yeast to stop working is if it is starved or exhausted. In such a short process it's unlikely to starve, especially as you add honey to activate it (+ sugar in the recipe?). If there's too much sugar around the yeast will feast and then collapse, rather like me at Christmas, but that also doesn't seem to be appropriate here. The dough would rise really well and then fall again as the structure isn't strong enough to hold itself. So I still don't think it's the yeast.

I still keep coming back to the wheat strain/flour blend being more suited to many of the denser, European loaves, or style of baking.
Maggie

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Re: Bread flour question

Post: # 290738Post Odsox
Thu Feb 15, 2018 1:00 pm

Green Aura wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:41 am
The only reason for yeast to stop working is if it is starved or exhausted. In such a short process it's unlikely to starve, especially as you add honey to activate it (+ sugar in the recipe?). If there's too much sugar around the yeast will feast and then collapse, rather like me at Christmas, but that also doesn't seem to be appropriate here. The dough would rise really well and then fall again as the structure isn't strong enough to hold itself. So I still don't think it's the yeast.
Yes ... this was what I was trying to point out earlier.
BTW, I've never added sugar to plain bread, and even less likely to do so now.
I appreciate what you're saying about different flours, but what I don't understand, like Bernard pointed out, why does the yeast appear to stop working. No matter what flour it is, if you leave yeasted dough it should just keep on rising.

I will definitely stick with Te$co flour unfortunately, I like reliability, but the left over Aldi flour will still be used as it makes rather lovely Yorkshire puddings.
Tony

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Re: Bread flour question

Post: # 290748Post BernardSmith
Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:28 am

But gluten is like an elastic band. Like an elastic band you can overstretch it, and like an elastic band it can suffer from fatigue. So the yeast can still be pumping out CO2 but that CO2 fails to be trapped by the gluten. And if the gas is not trapped then the bread simply does not rise. Try making bread using a gluten free flour.

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Re: Bread flour question

Post: # 290753Post ina
Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:52 pm

I think that using the modern, gluten rich varieties of wheat that produce the so-much-loved-by-the-British fluffy types of bread which, as has been noted correctly, are not liked by the rest of Europe (at least traditionally - sadly that's changing) is responsible for at least some of the large numbers of coeliacs that are being diagnosed these days...
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Re: Bread flour question

Post: # 290754Post Odsox
Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:13 pm

BernardSmith wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:28 am
if the gas is not trapped then the bread simply does not rise
Yes I understand that, but assuming the yeast is still pumping out CO2, where does the gas go?
There are no holes in the dough surface to leak it out and no large hole in the middle. I could accept either of those, but I'm still mystified as to what's going on.
Tony

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Re: Bread flour question

Post: # 290756Post Odsox
Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:35 pm

ina wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:52 pm
I think that using the modern, gluten rich varieties of wheat is responsible for at least some of the large numbers of coeliacs that are being diagnosed these days...
You could well be right Ina.
It possibly doesn't help that "modern young" people are eating larger quantities of bread products, such as hamburgers and pizzas as well as breakfast cereals and breadcrumb coated nuggets.
Not much gluten in meat and potatoes. :iconbiggrin:
Tony

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Re: Bread flour question

Post: # 290757Post BernardSmith
Sun Feb 18, 2018 8:00 pm

The CO2 is probably lost in much the same way that the alcohol is lost. Half the sugar that is converted to ethanol is converted to CO2 and no one I know has ever got even a buzz from eating bread*** but that's because the alcohol is blown off in the oven by baking. You don't see those holes in the crust where the alcohol boils off (evaporates) either, do you? My guess is that the spaces between the molecules in the dough are - when gluten is present but weak - large enough to allow both the alcohol and the CO2 to escape. When the gluten is strong the nets of protein are sufficiently tangled to trap the CO2 molecules.
*** OK I do concede that the amount of alcohol produced in baking is tiny but tiny is not none.

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Re: Bread flour question

Post: # 290758Post Weedo
Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:26 pm

This may be a little off subject But I have done a (very) quick check around re % wheat protein (gluten) levels which will affect how they perform in baking etc. Some figures are very sketchy; there seems to be a reluctance from some countries to publish data (or perhaps they don't test or set standards?)
Of course that different wheats are grown in diferent parts of the world - basically red spring wheats in Northern climates, Red Winter a little further south and Hard white in the South. Levels also vary from year to year. I have picked the average milling wheats and ignored the high end speciality wheats from a single year.
Broadly, European wheats (mostly red spring) are about 11.5% - American (mix of red Spring and Red Winter)11% - Australian (hard white) 11.5% - Canadian (red Spring) 13%.

So, Odsocks, your Canadian flour would have been significantly "stronger" than the Aldi product which could have been anything; even a cocktail of a range of grades. Australian soft is our lowest grade (except for animal feed grades) at 9.5%. Not being at all capable of cooking anything containing flour, I can't comment on the chemical complexity of the process.
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