flour is not always easy to find

Plain or all-purpose flour is a bit weaker, less stretchy and
will not rise as much as very strong flour – it makes bread
with a softer texture.

Cake and pastry flour is weaker again, even less stretchy,
and does not make great bread although it does make great
cake and pastry (funny that).
Rye flour does not have stretchy gluten and
cannot really be shaped at all. Gluten-free flours need to be
handled much like cake mixture. Even spelt, emmer, kamut
and einkorn – wheat’s older cousins – will behave
differently from wheat. You can substitute them for wheat
in any recipe but be prepared to adjust.
Wholemeal/whole-wheat flour (flour made from the whole
grain) performs a little differently from white flour. The
bran and germ run interference in the dough, making it less
stretchy and heavier.
Different types of flour make different kinds of dough and
different styles of bread. Even if you stick to one kind of
flour, you have to remember that from season to season and
field to field, grain differs, and from bag to bag, flour
differs. Every time you change the brand or the bag of flour
that you use, you will notice a difference.
Further, countries categorize flour in different ways. This is
one of the reasons it is difficult to replicate bread from
place to place. Shopping for flour can be confusing, and
good-quality flour is not always easy to find. Healthfood

stores are often the best places to get flour and the owner
can usually advise you.
Thankfully, flour is relatively cheap, so disasters are not
expensive. Besides, everything is good toasted. Even if it’s
ugly.
Stone milling
Stone mills process grain more gently than most industrial
mills. The result is a better product from both a
performance and a nutritional perspective.
Further, because mill stones (see photo, below) are
‘dressed’ by the miller by hand, every mill stone and, thus,
all stone-milled flour is unique to the miller. There is
individuality and humanity in stone-milled flour and
although it is dearer, I am certain you will decide it is
worth it.
If you would like to know more about flour, the Real Bread
Campaign in the UK is an excellent resource.

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