Sourdough, sourdough, sourdough, oh yea, sourdough!

King Arthur’s Organic Bread Flour

I was sent a five pound bag of King Arthur’s Organic White Bread Flour from the mainland (Thankyou Andrea!). I tried using the standard flour test which you can find at:

http://northwestsourdough.wordpress.com/2009/09/15/comparing-flours-and-warm-weather-baking/

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However, I had so much trouble with the dough breaking down, that I threw the batch away. The preferment was wet and sticky, the dough felt way too wet for the 65% hydration. It felt like 70% hydration or more. Then the dough turned sticky, ragged and felt rubbery. The flour itself had a chalky feel and was very clumpy, which may have been the humidity here in my home.

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I only had enough flour for one more test. So I mixed up another batch but I added an extra ounce of flour because even this batch didn’t feel right. The dough felt like it was a higher hydration….again. It also had that rubbery feel.

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The gluten didn’t break down badly like the first batch, although it was slack, so I went ahead and proofed the shaped loaves and baked them.  The loaves were really disappointing, plus the crumb had a greyish cast to it. I know the dough didn’t get too warm, because the temperatures were a little cooler in the house when I prepared the dough. Here are the results:

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The dough spread in the oven and had a very poor oven spring. The crust was good though, it was crunchy, crispy. The flavor was pretty good, although the crumb was tacky and had a greyish cast to it.

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I am going to go ahead and test the Stone Buhr Bread flour I have using the same starter/water/salt and see how it performs. It is possible that my catchment rainwater caused this trouble with this flour (rainwater is so soft). I didn’t have this trouble with any of the other flour I tested though.

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I tested the regular Bread Flour from King Arthur (it is in an earlier post) and found it baked up some terrific loaves. Unfortunately, I can’t get any more King Arthur Organic Bread flour to retest it to give it another chance. I can’t find any on the big island here in Hawaii. It is possible that this testing was a fluke and perhaps this flour usually fares better. I would be happy to see some comments by anyone who has used King Arthur’s Organic Bread Flour using wild yeast to bake up some bread.

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Check back to see if the next batch, tested with Stone Buhr Bread Flour, fares any better….

Please see here to see the final outcome of the King Arthur’s Organic Bread flour testing: http://northwestsourdough.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/king-arthur-organic-bread-flour-vindicated/

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9 Comments

  1. Tom Passin Tom Passin
    January 13, 2010    

    I’ve baked with KA organic a couple of times, and I don’t remember anything unusual about it. In general, I’m a lot happier with my loaves made with Gold Medal unbleached flour – either all purpose or bread flour – than I am with KA (the regular, not the organic). It’s not that KA has been bad, but I consistently get better handling, oven spring, and texture with the Gold Medal, and it’s a lot cheaper too. It holds up well during my 16-hour fermentation cycle.

  2. karyn karyn
    January 14, 2010    

    This came at the perfect time as I have been searching the internet and my cookbooks for a good sourdough starter and bread recipe. I’m at a high elevation so I am doing a lot of reading before I try my hand at baking sourdough bread.

    I’m now going to wait a bit and see what happens with your next batch before I try it, but I have my fingers crossed for you.

  3. Tom Passin Tom Passin
    January 14, 2010    

    I live at 6000 feet, and I don’t really see a difference baking bread here vs sea level. I do bake to a lower internal temperature, though, usually 196 – 198 deg F (you can’t bake to 205 when the boiling point of water is 201). Works fine.

    • karyn karyn
      January 14, 2010    

      Thank you, Tom.
      I don’t see much difference here either and we are at about the same elevation. I do see a difference with cookies sometimes, but that’s a whole different thing. I also lower the temp and sometimes adjust flour and /or liquid in certain recipes, but I hadn’t tried sourdough bread yet.

      I’m getting anxious to try it soon.

  4. MC MC
    January 14, 2010    

    Reminds of what happened to my starter when it was fed flour that hadn’t aged enough. I can’t see how that could have been the problem though if the flour was bought from a supermarket and then shipped out to you… It must have been at least 3 weeks old, right?

  5. January 14, 2010    

    Hi MC, I loved reading your account of your starter troubles on your blog. I thought about that when I had this trouble but the flour sent to me was sent over two months ago and was in the mail for a week, plus bought at the store on the shelf, so it had to be old enough. I did the Stone Buhr test today and will post the results soon. Thankyou for your input, Teresa

  6. January 18, 2010    

    Hi there,

    I’m sorry you didn’t have great results with KA flour in your sourdough. I’d encourage you to contact our Baker’s Hotline (bakers@kingarthurflour.com or 802.649.3717) for some advice – we usually find that sourdoughs love our organic flours, so I’m surprised yours didn’t work well. Meanwhile, if you give me a shout I’d be glad to ship a new bag for you to test.

    Happy baking!
    Allison

    • January 18, 2010    

      Thanks Allison, I was also baffled by the results and wondered if it was just a fluke. I would be happy to retest your flour and post my results on it, contact me at northwestsourdough@gmail.com and I will send you my address. Teresa

  7. Mary Rex Mary Rex
    January 30, 2010    

    I found your lovely website while looking for sourdough raisin bread (which is proofing right now). I have only made 2 other loaves prior to this, and I seem to have caught the sourdough bug! I am using starter that began as a gift of “Amish” friendship starter in December, but which I have been feeding according to basic sourdough guidelines. I have also been using KA Organic Bread Flour & Whole Wheat for each baking with wonderful results. Beginner’s luck perhaps;) Thanks for all the helpful hints and recipes!

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  1. King Arthur Organic Bread Flour Vindicated!! « Discovering Sourdough on February 25, 2010 at 6:23 pm

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