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:
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.
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….