Not all flour makes good bread. While it is true that a skilled baker can make bread from most types of flour, using our designated bread flour will ensure the best results for the home baker.
These flours are also called “Strong” flours, and are generally made from “Hard” wheat . This type of flour has a higher protein content and as the title suggests, plenty of “muscle”. When made into a dough, they absorb more water and with kneading produce long elastic chains of gluten/gliadin proteins forming a superstructure which enables bread with more volume and an open texture.
These proteins form the elastic structures-tiny envelopes/balloons enclosing the gases caused by fermentation, which maintain their integrity and expand as the gases expand when the bread is baked. This is an “open” texture being pleasing to look at and to eat. These flours are prized by bakers because they provide some tolerance, which means the baker knows the dough will not collapse from having insufficient strength.
Strong flours are also more useful in long fermentations as they will “hold on” longer than weaker flours. Strong flours have always been added to weaker or softer flours to provide more structural integrity.
A famous early blend was that of the first flours coming to England from the American colonies, with softer English or “home” wheat. Commentators were rich in their praise of these flours particularly as an extra loaf resulted from the batch as the strong flours could absorb more water thus giving more dough.
Good bread flours usually come from hard or harder wheat which tends to be from climates with a hot dry short summer, such as the Canadian/North American prairies, Kazakhstan, the Ukraine and Hungary among others. Even in the UK, the best bread flours have traditionally come from the warmer south or east Anglia which is drier than the rest of the country.
It has to be said that good bread can also be made from flour which is not really strong, in the hands of an experienced baker. However, using designated bread or strong flours will ensure a more successful bake for the home baker.
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Looking for a unique gift for the baker in your life this Christmas? Well we might just have the answer, one of our beautiful Christmas Hampers.
Choose from The Baker’s Starter Kit, designed for the passionate home baker, some of the essentials to get you up and running to produce mouth-watering goodies. Or The Shipton Mill Special, a limited edition hamper including Uncle Tom’s cold-pressed olive oil, our Shipton Mill apron, a hand carved British bread board and more.
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Ideally flour should be kept in a sealed container in a cool dry place with stable temperature. Typically white flour has a shelf life from milling of 12 months. Wholemeal flour will be good for 6 months. More ...