Best flours to make bread(spoiler: with almost all)
One of the most common doubts we face when making bread is the type of flour that you want to use. If you search the Internet, chances are you’ll find recipes that say you have to use strength flour, yes or yes. Experienced bakers, however, often lay their hands to their heads in the face of the simple mention that bread can be made with strength flour. “Always with breadless flour,” they’ll say.
But what’s that about the force? What about the breadable thing? Can I mix flours? What if I make bread with non-wheat flours? What about exotic ones, like quinoa, chickpea…? In this article you will discover everything you always wanted to know and never dared to ask about the fascinating world (it is a saying) of flours to make bread.
Let’s start with the force
Bread is fluffy because wheat flour has gluten, a network of proteins that causes the carbon dioxide bubbles that yeasts release during fermentation – and also some lactic bacteria – to get trapped in the dough. A more protein, more gluten; and more gluten, more “strength.”
Therefore, to know the strength of a flour, we only have to look at the percentage of proteins it puts in the container: if it has 9% or less, it is a loose flour, ideal for battering, for example. If you have between 10 and 11 %, it is breadable flour (labeled in the super almost always as “for all use”). Finally, if you have 12, 13 or up to 14 % protein, it is a strength meal. The ideal for bread? Depends on.
In general, the best is the breadsome, which is for something called that. But we can replace it in whole or in part with strength flour if the fermentation is going to be very long, if it is very hot or if we are going to add any ingredient (oil, butter, nuts…) that requires the dough to have more gluten, so that the bread “holds”. Loose flour can also be used, but mixing it with other flours with more gluten (yes, what you’re thinking can also be done: by mixing loose flour and strength flour in equal parts, the resulting combination equals the pan-methyl flour).
The force thing is clear, let’s go with the cereals. As we all know, the king of cereals to make bread is wheat. There are two main varieties: hard and soft.
The first gives a yellow and not very fine flour that is used to make pasta (macaroni, spaghetti…), and the second produces the white flour (or wholemeal) that we usually use to make bread. So we can’t make bread with durum wheat flour? Well, yes. You can use one with a very fine grinding, as is, or add a part of semolina-shaped durum wheat flour (you’ll find it in the super in small packages) and complete with bread wheat flour. That period of durum wheat will give the crumb and bark a pleasant golden color and a deeper aroma.
So far, the wheat, the Elvis Presley of bread. What about the other cereals? Well, you can make bread with almost everyone, either by mixing them with wheat flour if they don’t have gluten (oatmeal, corn), or alone, like rye.
Once again, flour mixing is the best choice, and a touch of rye will incredibly enhance a bread made with white flour. Our SECALE,for example, is made with an organic whole rye flour of the highest quality. If you mix it with white flour, you will have a rustic bread with the crumb a slightly toasted color. But if you combine it with more rye or other wholemeal flours, you’ll have a wholemeal panazo with a great depth of flavor. Try this recipe, halfway between the above: 1 seCALEenvelope, 300 g of strength white wheat flour, 100 g of whole rye flour and 200 g of whole wheat flour; 400 ml of water, one tablespoon of honey, salt… And that’s it. You’ll tell us.
Finally, there are flours that do not come from cereals: buckwheat flour (it is not really wheat, since it is not a grass, but a polygona, no matter how bad the wording sounds), quinoa, chickpea, carob or even olive bone flour. All of them give powerful flavors, and that is why it is advisable to use them very sparingly. A few grams are enough to give a touch of aroma – and often also color – and customize a wheat bread with an exotic and different point. Experiment, it’s worth it.
In short, you can make bread with plenty of flours, but in the face of doubt, opt for a wheat with a protein content of 10-11 %. For long fermentations, it is no blasphemy to use only strength flour, or, alternatively, a mixture of strength flour and breadable flour. If you want to make a semi-whole bread and use a mixture of wholemeal flour and white flour, it is advisable that the latter is of strength.
Keep this: an extraordinary bread requires three things: quality flour, sourdough and time. At Masa Mater we have developed a range of mother masses powder that combine the natural microorganisms that will lift the dough with selected flours that can be mixed with almost any other type of flour to make a good bread. With our flagship product, SECALE,we have started with rye, but soon the family will grow with other cereals from our fields, and even with some unusual mix between the best of the land and the best of the sea.
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