Question For Bread Bakers About Wheat Flour

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LifeIsGood
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Question For Bread Bakers About Wheat Flour

Post by LifeIsGood »

I was listening to a podcast recently and they mentioned the many benefits of so called "Old World" or "European" style wheat flour. It's superior taste, nutritional benefits and and the ability of people to consume it in spite of gluten intolerance were touted. Unfortunately no specific names of this flour or brands were mentioned. Does any of this resonate with anyone?
pepperz
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Re: Question For Bread Bakers About Wheat Flour

Post by pepperz »

I coincidentally made bread for the first time last week. I followed this recipe to the tee and loved it: https://youtu.be/OHJdHPKAMXg
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racy
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Re: Question For Bread Bakers About Wheat Flour

Post by racy »

I don't know, but a Google search yielded: "There are actually two main varieties of wheat: hard red wheat and soft wheat, the latter comprising the majority of European wheat and only around 23% of American wheat." More info at: https://tinyurl.com/y5yhlhwj
scifilover
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Re: Question For Bread Bakers About Wheat Flour

Post by scifilover »

See: https://sciencing.com/difference-betwee ... 66495.html

To get a good rise when you bake bread you need high protein content and gluten. Soft wheat has neither. Soft wheat may be better for cakes etc than bread.
forgeblast
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Re: Question For Bread Bakers About Wheat Flour

Post by forgeblast »

einkhorn is the variety i think your talking about. I have baked with it. It does not develop as much gluten on its own so I normally mix in whole wheat and bread four with it. I like the taste of it. Its better for free form loaves vs pan loaves. check out theperfectloaf.com it is a great resource.
TheGreyingDuke
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Re: Question For Bread Bakers About Wheat Flour

Post by TheGreyingDuke »

Einhorn contains less gluten and therefore may be an answer for people with gluten sensitivity. Its lack of gluten makes it less desirable for bread baking and while it is somewhat richer in nutrients as opposed to bread-making wheat, flour of any sort isn't eaten for its nutrition wallop.

Making sourdough also seems to have some benefit for those with gluten sensitivity.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Question For Bread Bakers About Wheat Flour

Post by ResearchMed »

TheGreyingDuke wrote: Tue Dec 01, 2020 7:56 am Einhorn contains less gluten and therefore may be an answer for people with gluten sensitivity. Its lack of gluten makes it less desirable for bread baking and while it is somewhat richer in nutrients as opposed to bread-making wheat, flour of any sort isn't eaten for its nutrition wallop.

Making sourdough also seems to have some benefit for those with gluten sensitivity.
Please be careful about suggesting that "less gluten" is okay for those who cannot tolerate gluten.
For some people, "gluten free" is just a "preference".
For others, such as those with a real gluten "sensitivity", etc., it's a possibly serious medical problem, so *no* gluten can be safely tolerated. (This can be in terms of comfort or actual damage, so... not necessarily trivial...)

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GrowthSeeker
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Re: Question For Bread Bakers About Wheat Flour

Post by GrowthSeeker »

I would not be surprised at all if some of these other flours bring a better taste. It is probably true that for any plant we eat, strains and genetic modifications done in the last several decades are more about economics (shelf life, yield per acre) than about flavor. But I have no specific experience with flour from old grains or grown in Europe.
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TheGreyingDuke
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Re: Question For Bread Bakers About Wheat Flour

Post by TheGreyingDuke »

ResearchMed wrote: Tue Dec 01, 2020 9:19 am
TheGreyingDuke wrote: Tue Dec 01, 2020 7:56 am Einhorn contains less gluten and therefore may be an answer for people with gluten sensitivity. Its lack of gluten makes it less desirable for bread baking and while it is somewhat richer in nutrients as opposed to bread-making wheat, flour of any sort isn't eaten for its nutrition wallop.

Making sourdough also seems to have some benefit for those with gluten sensitivity.
Please be careful about suggesting that "less gluten" is okay for those who cannot tolerate gluten.
For some people, "gluten free" is just a "preference".
For others, such as those with a real gluten "sensitivity", etc., it's a possibly serious medical problem, so *no* gluten can be safely tolerated. (This can be in terms of comfort or actual damage, so... not necessarily trivial...)

RM
I intended to make the distinction you suggested by using the term "sensitivity" as opposed to intolerance, the former a much less serious condition than celiac disorder. I regularly prepare meals for people with both "conditions" and I think that sensitivity does not include celiac or other gluten intolerance disorders.
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barnaclebob
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Re: Question For Bread Bakers About Wheat Flour

Post by barnaclebob »

LifeIsGood wrote: Tue Dec 01, 2020 6:22 am I was listening to a podcast recently and they mentioned the many benefits of so called "Old World" or "European" style wheat flour. It's superior taste, nutritional benefits and and the ability of people to consume it in spite of gluten intolerance were touted. Unfortunately no specific names of this flour or brands were mentioned. Does any of this resonate with anyone?
Take what you hear on podcasts or read on recipe websites with a grain of salt. These people have to generate content and extolling the benefits of a bag of costco flour wont fill up much time or screen space.

I'm not saying everything these people say is bunk but sometimes they over analyze things.

For your original topic, I think they might have just been talking about fresh ground flour which will go bad in a fairly short amount of time if you don't use it. Look into grinding your own flour.
adamthesmythe
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Re: Question For Bread Bakers About Wheat Flour

Post by adamthesmythe »

I would try the varieties available in US supermarkets before importing something exotic from Europe or grinding my own. In my (limited) experience, there is a lot to learn about just making bread before worrying about the fine points.

Gluten is essential in making dough stretchy enough to rise. This is the difference between bread and all-purpose flour- gluten content in the resulting dough.

There are people who have a disease that does not allow them to consume gluten, there are people with a moderate gluten intolerance, and there are people that imagine they have gluten intolerance. If you are in the last group the placebo effect that comes from using a "special" flour may help. But only if you believe.
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Bogle7
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sources For Bread Bakers

Post by Bogle7 »

Two great sources for flour in the USA. Expensive, but you are worth it.

https://www.kingarthurbaking.com - King Arthur Flour

https://www.bobsredmill.com - Bob's Red Mill

And, you need the right pan - https://challengerbreadware.com - Challenger Breadworks

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wanderer
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Re: Question For Bread Bakers About Wheat Flour

Post by wanderer »

While living overseas for a number of years, DW and I found that "European" flour and wheat products were easier to digest (less digestive stress). Coming back to the US we ended up with "issues" and not eating breads/wheat fixed us up. We attributed it to a non- life-threatening "gluten sensitivity". We agree the European flours are different, just no idea why. We stopped baking due to our "sensitivity" and are back to minimizing consumption of wheat products.

We tried lots of US flours, including King Arthur and Bob's Red Mill, without success. Alternative, non-wheat flours just didn't bake the same either. Our niece sometimes brings back flour from Germany that we look forward to baking with it for holiday treats, etc.

If you can find a source in Europe, give it a try to see if it's different for you. Good luck.
clemrick
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Re: Question For Bread Bakers About Wheat Flour

Post by clemrick »

Another vote for King Arthur flours. I have been using their unbleached All-Purpose for years and like it. I just tried their Bread flour and it does make a difference. I will make some more bread with both flours to see which I prefer. But I definitely recommend King Arthur.
rgs92
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Re: Question For Bread Bakers About Wheat Flour

Post by rgs92 »

Whole wheat flour is by far the best nutritionally. Whole grains are the absolutely best choice and they taste better too.
bhsince87
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Re: Question For Bread Bakers About Wheat Flour

Post by bhsince87 »

I don't bake professionally, but am a serious hobbyist. I've experimented with many different flour types. It does make a difference, but I don't think it's a case of one type being better than another. Personal preference and technique are very important factors.

Many European-style flours are made with a larger proportion of soft wheat than the common North American flours. This leads to lower gluten content, which alI don't bake professionally, but am a serious hobbyist. so leads to more dense loaves.

As long as you don't go crazy with additives, any bread you make at home should be easier to digest than most commercially made breads.

Here's a good site for purchasing actual European flours, and "European style" flours.

https://nybakers.com/index.php?main_pag ... cPath=9_15

After many years of experimentation, I have settled on King Arthur bread flour as the main component of most of my bread recipes. It's easy to find, and is consistent in quality and performance from year to year.

And if you want a good reference book, this is the best ever written, IMO. But at $500+, it ain't cheap....

https://www.amazon.com/Modernist-Bread- ... 982761058/
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nestorius
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Re: Question For Bread Bakers About Wheat Flour

Post by nestorius »

Check out Anson Mills. Their flours and other grains are superb and their efforts to preserve heritage varieties is impressive. This link contains a lot of interesting information on the history of wheat varieties and how they came to America:

https://ansonmills.com/grain_notes/14.

Happy baking!
wanderer
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Re: Question For Bread Bakers About Wheat Flour

Post by wanderer »

bhsince87 wrote: Tue Dec 01, 2020 3:17 pm
Here's a good site for purchasing actual European flours, and "European style" flours.

https://nybakers.com/index.php?main_pag ... cPath=9_15
Looks like a great site. Now I want to bake! Thank you!
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LifeIsGood
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Re: Question For Bread Bakers About Wheat Flour

Post by LifeIsGood »

Thanks everyone for all the amazing feedback. Virtually all the bread baking I've done is with King Arthur's Bread flour. After-the-fact research shows that the only flour they sell that is Roundup (glyphosate) free is their organic line or flour from their identity-preserved program. I was a bit surprised but probably shouldn't have been.
Wandering around on all the great links supplied I've come to the conclusion that mail order flour is REALLY expensive mainly due to shipping costs. I think I'll put my toe in the water and try some Einkorn which is available at my local Whole Foods. My wife abhors sour dough so I'll have to pass on that option.
BTW if you've never baked bread before, try making some No-Knead bread. It's incredibly easy and hard to mess up. I had a loaf come out of the oven last week when my 2 granddaughters and I were making some butter tarts. When it cooled we made some plain old ham & cheese sandwiches and the response was "This is the best sandwich I've ever had!".
Thanks again for all your feedback and suggestions. Much appreciated.
Point
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Re: Question For Bread Bakers About Wheat Flour

Post by Point »

Breadtopia.com is a great resource.

My daughter has no issues with gluten when my wife gives her sourdough she makes. She uses King Arthur, and several varieties of red fife and turkey wheat milled at home.
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Re: sources For Bread Bakers

Post by TomatoTomahto »

Bogle7 wrote: Tue Dec 01, 2020 1:17 pm Image
Oh man, for someone who has to restrict carbs due to T2 Diabetes, that’s carb porn!
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davemanjam
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Re: Question For Bread Bakers About Wheat Flour

Post by davemanjam »

wanderer wrote: Tue Dec 01, 2020 2:29 pm While living overseas for a number of years, DW and I found that "European" flour and wheat products were easier to digest (less digestive stress). Coming back to the US we ended up with "issues" and not eating breads/wheat fixed us up. We attributed it to a non- life-threatening "gluten sensitivity". We agree the European flours are different, just no idea why. We stopped baking due to our "sensitivity" and are back to minimizing consumption of wheat products.

We tried lots of US flours, including King Arthur and Bob's Red Mill, without success. Alternative, non-wheat flours just didn't bake the same either. Our niece sometimes brings back flour from Germany that we look forward to baking with it for holiday treats, etc.

If you can find a source in Europe, give it a try to see if it's different for you. Good luck.
I wonder if this has to do with wheat fortification. They add b-vitamins and iron in the US. I'm not sure if any brands sold in the US can escape this rule, even the ones mentioned in this thread.
jrbdmb
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Re: Question For Bread Bakers About Wheat Flour

Post by jrbdmb »

Assuming that European flour is generally made from soft wheat, I have read recently that the wheat grown in the U.S. South is much more likely to be of the soft variety and the resulting flour may be a substitute for European flour. White Lily is apparently a popular brand; it is not readily available in grocery stores outside the South, but you can buy it at (see updates below). Note that I have no idea of Southern wheat gluten levels vs. European.

Here is a related article where the author discovers that soft wheat is required to make a real southern biscuit:

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/arch ... ng/576526/

Edit - I just noticed that you can have this shipped by Wal-Mart for $2.78 a bag, plus a flat $5.99 shipping fee. Currently sold out though, probably due to the rush of holiday orders. I did see a link to buy directly from Amazon for $3.49 with Prime, but that appears to be sold out at the moment as well.
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LifeIsGood
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Re: Question For Bread Bakers About Wheat Flour

Post by LifeIsGood »

That's an interesting note about White Lily flour. I didn't realize that it is made from soft wheat. Living in the south, this product is a staple on grocery store shelves except when out of stock like so my other items that are in high demand due to Covid.
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