If you have been following the last few posts, you will know that this post is about testing Bob’s Red Mill bread flour. So far I have tested King Arthur and Gold Medal bread flour, which you can see in the two previous posts. I made up a formula to follow when testing each flour and it can be found in the King Arthur post here:
While testing Bob’s Red Mill flour, I found a bit of a problem with hard to handle, sticky dough. The bread also did not bake up with a good crumb or crust color. Following the same directions as found in the link above, I found that this batch of sourdough bread had a hard time achieving a good crust color.
So for the second loaf, I left the oven on 450F the whole baking period and extended the time 5 additional minutes. I was able to achieve a nice looking loaf by keeping the oven hotter and extending the baking period:
However, I still found the crumb a bit disappointing. It was somewhat stiff, not soft and chewy, kind of like when your sourdough loaf is a day old.
This flour reminded me the most of the Con Agra Mills flour which produced such poor quality results, that I began this flour testing. I want to mention that Con Agra Mills produces many other types of flour which may be quite good (if they want to send me some of their other flours to test, I would be happy to do so!). I only used the in house brand that Costco sells, which may be set to Costco’s standards (ie, perhaps the poorest quality flour left over from the flour sorting).
However, I was able to bake up a much better looking loaf with the Bob’s Red Mill flour than the Con Agra Mill flour. So although I would take the Bob’s Red Mill over the Con Agra Mill flour, Bob’s Red Mill rated third in the three that I tested so far. Here is the rating list:
Gold Medal – 1st with Gold Medal edging out ahead because of price
King Arthur – 2nd – first in quality with Gold Medal but high priced
Bob’s Red Mill – 3rd – you can coax an acceptable loaf from this flour
Costco brand Con Agra Mill bread flour – the lowest quality bread flour I have ever used
I wanted to do this testing because I realized with the amount of emails I get with people not being able to bake up a great loaf of sourdough, that maybe low quality flour might be the culprit in many cases.
I know that after using poor quality flour for a while, even though I knew it was the flour, I just began to think I lost my ability to bake anything anymore. I know we all have times like that, next time that happens to you… think..maybe it is the flour’s fault, it just might be. If I can obtain any other brands of flour here in Hawaii, I will test them using the same formula and post the results.
If you have tested any bread flour brands out there, using the same formula as the one listed in the link above, send me in your picures and your observations and I will post them.