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Flours for Baking

Bob's Red Mill, Stone Ground

Coarsely ground

Q: I want to use a white flour with higher protein, how do I adjust the recipe?

A: We wrote the original white-flour Master Recipe in our first book with typical all-purpose white flour in mind (such as, Gold Medal) which has a protein content of about 9.8-10.5%. The following flours have a greater protein content and will require you to add more water to dough that is entirely made from these white flours.  You don’t need all that extra water if white flour only part of the loaf’s flour mixture.

Gold Medal Better for Bread 12.5% protein (add approximately 1/3 cup extra water to the full recipe)

Canadian all-purpose flour, most brands:  add approximately 1/4 cup extra water to the full recipe

Dakota Maid All-Purpose:  add approximately 1/4 cup extra water to the full recipe

King Arthur All-Purpose, 11.7% protein (add approximately 1/4 cup extra water to the full recipe).

King Arthur Bread Flour 12.7% protein (add approximately 1/3 cup extra water to the full recipe)

Most flour labeled as “bread flour” is 12-13% protein (add approximately 1/3 cup extra water to the full recipe).  In Europe, this flour is labeled as “strong flour.”  If a flour is labeled as “high-gluten” it’s probably 14-15% protein (add approximately 1/2 cup extra water to the full recipe).

Q: What should the “hydration” of the dough be?

A: Again, we tried to avoid confusing professional language in the book, but several people have asked about bakers percentages and hydration levels for white flour. The hydration needed for dough storage will vary with to the type of flour you are using.  “Hydration,” when the term is used by professional bakers, means the ratio of the water weight to the flour weight, expresed as a percentage.  High protein flours absorb much more water and will require you to add more water. Here are the hydration levels we’ve used, but remember, this applies to dough made from white flours(whole grain is a different story, requiring higher levels of hydration):

When using most all-purpose flours (eg., Gold Medal):  75% hydration

When using Gold Medal Better for Bread:  83% hydration

When using King Arthur all-purpose:  81% hydration

When using King Arthur bread flour:  83% hydration

When using most bread flours:  83% hydration

When using most high-gluten flours:  85% hydration

 

 


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