There's flour and then there's flour, can someone help me with the difference - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 02-04-2003, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi there

What's the difference between WW bread flour and WW pastry flour?

I've been having trouble making WW breads in my breadmachine (and sometimes by hand) and many of the recipes just say to use WW flour (don't say whether it should be bread or pastry). I normally use bread flour, but am wondering if overrise and fall is part of my problem. Any ideas on this?

I've got a huge sack of WW bread flour in the freezer and I need to start using it up LOL

Thanks
Angie

Angie, Mama to Finn (6/01) and Theo (4/05)
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#2 of 15 Old 02-04-2003, 05:38 PM
 
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Let me start out by saying that I am not a bread expert, but here's what I know.

Pastry flour has had the gluten removed/reduced, so that cakes and muffins will have a more tender crumb. Gluten is necessary to proper bread development; it's the "elastic" that you're working up and developing when you knead bread, that in turn will create structure in the bread for those air holes (that result when the yeast grow and die). So you do not want to use pastry flour for regular bread.

Whole wheat flour is great, but it can make a very heavy bread. A lot of bread recipes don't do well when they call for all-purpose white flour and you substitute in whole wheat flour, because you'll end up with bread that's overly heavy and tough. Start out with a half and half mixture and see how that works for you.

A lot of American recipes are really poorly written because they go by volume measurements rather than weight measurements, so you have no idea how much flour to use. The way you measure a cup of flour makes a huge difference - up to 50% between the dip and sweep method vs. the spoon in and level method. A good bread cookbook will tell you how much flour to use by weight, or at the very least will tell you what method of flour measuring to use. This might be a good place to start when you look at your bread machine recipes to figure out where your results might be going wrong.

Good luck, I hope this helps a little.

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#3 of 15 Old 02-04-2003, 06:20 PM
 
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The weight of the flour is part of your problem. Several things could help... but some of them you may or may not be able to control with a breadmachine. I'll throw them all out, play around and see what works.

Try substituting 20-50% of your flour for standard bread flour. If you have WW pastry flour you could try subbing in some of that in place standard bread flour. Part of the rise issue is that because WW has the bran, which contains oil and is heavier than other flours. It would seem that would still be an issue with WW pastry flour, so that solution may not be useful.

Use the shortest mixing time and shortest rise you can. Bake it 25F lower than you would the same loaf made of white flour and bake it longer.
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#4 of 15 Old 02-04-2003, 07:28 PM
 
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WW bread flour is made from winter wheat and has gluten and ww pastry flour is made from spring wheat which has no gluten and will not rise with yeast so it is unsuitable for bread.

I have not used bread machines but make bread by hand all the time. WW flour usually requires more kneading than white flour so I don't know if the machines compensate for that. Are there any instructions for ww breads in the information for the breadmaker. They may not be designed for total whole grain bread.

If you can adjust the rising time to less, that might help. I have had the same problem of bread falling when I let my dough rise too long.

There are some good breadmaker cookbooks out - maybe there is one for whole grains. My favorite bread cookbook (for making by hand) is Laurels Bread Book. It is awesome with lots of recipes and also troubleshooting techniques.

Cathe Olson, author The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook, Simply Natural Baby Food, and LIck It! Creamy Dreamy Vegan Ice Creams Your Mouth Will Love.  
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#5 of 15 Old 02-04-2003, 07:51 PM
 
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Forgive me. I am going to be pedantic about gluten for a minute.

Wheat flour (all wheat flours, bleached, whole, etc) contain two proteins called glutenin and gliadin. These two proteins in the presence of water and energy (ie the physical energy of kneading) combine to form gluten. You can add water to flour and if you don't knead it no gluten will form. You will have paste, not dough. You can also knead dry flour til the cows come home and there will be no gluten.

The relative strength of the gluten strands depends on a variety of things, including the level of glutenin and gliadin in the flour, how much kneading, etc. Also other additives, like sugar can greatly effect gluten developement.
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#6 of 15 Old 02-04-2003, 08:48 PM
 
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kama, you are my new hero! Are you a professional baker or a dedicated amateur or just a collector of cool culinary factoids?

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#7 of 15 Old 02-04-2003, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm also impressed. So, it looks like I will have to play around a little bit (I hate to experiment, I don't know why, I just do ). The breadmachine cookbook I have does have a whole set of whole grain breads and my bread machine does have a whole grain setting, so I should be able to figure it out, right? I just want fabulous whole grain, organic bread now

Thanks for the tips. I'm going to choose one whole grain recipe and make it every other day until I get it right, tweaking it as kama, cathe, and jane mentioned. I didn't major in chemistry for nothing, you whole grain demons...

Thanks again
Angie

PS - I love Laurel's book and wish that she could help me with the "machine." Some day I'll make it fully from scratch, someday, it's on my life list.

Angie, Mama to Finn (6/01) and Theo (4/05)
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#8 of 15 Old 02-04-2003, 11:41 PM
 
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pssst- if you can afford it, KILL YOUR BREAD MACHINE. get a kitchenaid mixer. the only thing you need a machine for is to beat the crap out of the dough. now that i got my kitchenaid (THAT was on my life-list, lol) homemade bread twice a week is nuthin'. my 2 yr old presses the buttons. just measure half-assed and toss it in. (and of course, you can moniter the amount of flour easily this way- i start with about a cup or two less than the recipe calls for, and just keep adding till it seems 'right'- you'll know it when you see it. Practice!)

and here:http://home.att.net/~carlsfriends/
get you some free sourdough starter from the oregon trail. it rocks.

suse

btw, i never use all purpose flour for quick breads and cookies any more- ww pastry flour tastes so much better. whatta scone that makes, with cultured organic butter! *drool*
btw, that is why biscuits are the traditional bread choice for the south- you cannot grow hard wheat in the south- only the soft stuff.
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#9 of 15 Old 02-05-2003, 12:06 AM
 
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Jane... LOL Thanks. It's a drag how often I get flour on my cape though... darn thing flaps around constantly!

I am a grad of California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. I have baked pastry profesionally but not bread. I just dug into my "Intro to Baking" notes, cuz I knew that Chef Elizabeth, the flour fanatic, had covered this.
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#10 of 15 Old 02-05-2003, 12:53 AM
 
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Dang, kama, wish I'd known you when dh and I spent the first week of our honeymoon on the Big Island....I would have been very happy to let you practice your pastry skills on me!! :LOL

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#11 of 15 Old 02-05-2003, 02:10 AM
 
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The main reason I got a bread machine was the crappy oven in my apartment, not the work. I actually like doing the kneading myself. <sigh>

breastfeeding, babywearing, homeschooling Heathen parent to my little Wanderer, 7 1/2 , and baby Elf-stone, 3/11!

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#12 of 15 Old 02-06-2003, 03:38 AM
 
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aw, you poor kid, and here i was recommending you get some chickens sorry!

so i guess that adobe bread oven is prolly not a good idea just yet either yeah, i'm not quite there yet either! (and fwiw, only one burner on *my* crappy stove works, & the oven cooks 50' hotter than it is.)

all whole wheat can be tough- like a brick is tough , and kneading rye by hand is a sticky mess- maybe you can play on the strengths you do have, and try a nice rye bread? i've noticed people *like* a nice, dense rye more than a sodden lump of whole wheat. is that an option?

suse
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#13 of 15 Old 02-12-2003, 12:06 PM
 
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I only use WW pastry flour for non-yeast baking. We prefer it to the white for flavor.

I bought stone ground WW flour last time I bought flour and noticed a huge difference in my bread - I bake twice weekly with my kitchenaid also - it was much heavier and I added about a quarter white flour to make up for it. I usually add about a tenth white flour to get a gluten burst and ensure no matter how little I pay attention to my bread, it is still lighter than a brick. So, I now buy the WW bread flour, ground with metal?

Here's my question...if I grind my own wheat in my stone grinder, what kind of wheat do I buy? Can I still get the fluffier bread using stone ground flour?
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#14 of 15 Old 02-12-2003, 01:16 PM
 
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To grind your own wheat flour, make sure you get "winter" wheat berries. If you get "spring", your bread won't rise. The only problem I had grinding my own was when I didn't grind it fine enough and then my bread didn't rise (but it was a pretty bad grinder).

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#15 of 15 Old 02-25-2003, 02:02 PM
 
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I'm just starting to make my own bread. I have a cookbook titled What you Knead I love doing it. Howeveer all of the recipes call for White flour. My dh loves ww bread. I'm so glad someone pointed me to this thread. I have learned a ton
Thanks
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