Sourdough, sourdough, sourdough, oh yea, sourdough!

Comparing Flours – Gold Medal vs. King Arthur

 

Bread made with Gold Medal flour

Bread made with Gold Medal flour

In my last blog post I decided to compare the bread flours I could find locally here in Hawaii, where different brands are somewhat limited. I decided to do this because at the Costco on the island, I bought 100 lbs of a flour which was giving me grief. There don’t seem to be many places here to buy flour in bulk. So to do a comparison test, I bought 5lb bags of flour at the local markets. I found King Arthur, Gold Medal and Bob’s Red Mill bread flours.

 In the last post, found here: http://northwestsourdough.wordpress.com/2009/09/15/comparing-flours-and-warm-weather-baking/ 

 

I made up a formula for the test and tested the King Arthur flour. The King Arthur flour did great and produced a lovely sourdough loaf. In this post I will show you how the Gold Medal bread flour did. I will say I was surprised by how well it did. The crust was crisp and blistered, the crumb was open and chewy, I thought the Gold Medal performed very well.

Here are some pictures of the bread. The first loaf of each batch didn’t turn out as well as the second loaf. The oven seemed to be more evenly heated and intense for the second loaf in each test.

The first loaf baked with Gold Medal Flour:

First Loaf

First Loaf

 

This was a nice loaf which sprung up well in the oven. The crumb was open, the taste was great, it also had a nice crisp crust, you can see it just wasn’t as “pretty” as the second loaf.

Second loaf baked with Gold Medal flour

Second loaf baked with Gold Medal flour

 

Closeup of the crust

Closeup of the crust

 

Crumb

Crumb

 

This testing has been so much fun after months of disappointing loaves. You get to the point when using poor flour, where you wonder if you can even bake any more. The two flours I have tested so far have been very good for baking sourdough bread with.

All of the flours are unbleached bread flour. Of the two tested so far, the King Arthur and Gold Medal, I prefer the Gold Medal slightly over the King Arthur flour. The dough was just a bit easier to handle and had a nicer hand touch. Not to mention it costs almost half the amount of the King Arthur flour.

I would have to test them a lot more to be sure though. Every batch using a single flour can be different, so it wouldn’t be fair not to test them several times. So my opinions are based on a first test only impression. If you have any comments to make on your experience using either King Arthur or Gold Medal, please feel free to do so.

For these tests, I used Italian starter and my kitchen was very warm, in the 80 – 90’s F. If you wish to follow the formula listed on the first post which is linked at the top of this post, you may need to double the bulk ferment times. Next test…Bob’s Red Mill flour….stay tuned….

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10 Comments

  1. September 26, 2009    

    Thanks for including us in your tests. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

    Happy Baking!
    MJR @ King Arthur Flour

  2. Marti Marti
    September 26, 2009    

    Thanks for doing this. I use a variety of flours here in Canada and really have no clue as to the gluten content or how “starchy” it is. I can get Bob’s up here and have been enjoying a Canadian flour from Quebec (yeah 100 mile diet) called Milanese. I try to use organic flour where possible, and this is. So your research is really helpful. Beautiful breads!

  3. September 29, 2009    

    They look divine, I would love to taste them. Are your starters changing that you can notice since you moved?
    I think your bread looks perfect.

  4. October 2, 2009    

    HI Karen, Thankyou. The starters are doing great. They are as vigorous as ever, however in warm weather they like to be fed more often. Happy Baking, Teresa

  5. sane1 sane1
    October 17, 2009    

    Hello,
    I have used Gold Medal, King Arthur, and Bob’s Red Mill flour with your sourdough. Of those three, King Arthur is best. My favorite flour is Honeyville unbleached artisan flour, which I buy direct from their website, although Amazon has it for a bit more.

    This has nothing to do with flour, but I just killed my NW starter ,after two years of satisfied use. Are you still selling, even though your original website seems to be down?

    Faith

  6. przytulanka przytulanka
    October 31, 2009    

    I use Whole Wheat Flour from Stop&Shop for $2.29 and I`m baking with it good sourdough bread regularly. I would love to use whole white wheat flour from Trader Joe`s more often but I can not afford it.I like Gold Medal Bread Flour too.

  7. lisa lisa
    November 30, 2009    

    I’ve been watching your u tube things. Just ordered some of your starter today. You made my day, really. I’ll keep learning sourdough lessons from you!!

  8. Bill (themuffinman) Beck Bill (themuffinman) Beck
    May 25, 2012    

    I have tried both King Arthur and Gold Medal with good results. I think the higher gluten content of King Arthur’s may give some problems and the cost is higher by far. Here in Honolulu, I have been using Safeway’s own brand and find that I get good results with it. Thanks for the very useful website.

  9. Ken E. Ken E.
    April 18, 2014    

    I was wondering what recipe you used for the flour test soudough breads, I have just gotten into sourdough in the last couple of weeks and love the way these loaves look, crust and texture-wise!

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