Strong Bakers Question
July 28, 2010 5:43 PM   Subscribe

What is "Strong Bakers Flour"? I'm in Canada. I'm a baker. I understand that this flour is higher in protein, but the bags never specify what the protein content is.

Is it regular hard red winter wheat, or something particularly strong? I just took a job at a restaurant and I'm doing their breads for service. The flour they call "Hard" is actually strong bakers flour, not standard bread flour. In another bakery we used strong bakers flour in conjunction with unbleached AP to give our doughs extra structure. At this new place, they expect me to use all strong bakers flour in many formulas. The resulting doughs absorb lots of water so that they feel unusually dry, even at higher hydrations. The doughs are also tight feeling, and lack extensibility. I don't know exactly what my question here is, but I want to figure this out and decide if we should consider switching hard flours.

I hope there is a professional baker or two out there who can offer some insight. I have tried the Fresh Loaf archives but the participants there are mostly amateurs who don't understand the world outside the King Arthur catalogue.
posted by Evstar to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There's no regulations for flour naming or labeling in Canada to my knowledge so the only way to find the protein content would be to ask the manufacturer. Is there nutritional data on the label? (probably not for commercial packaging, but who knows) That might give you an idea of the protein content.
posted by GuyZero at 6:15 PM on July 28, 2010

Response by poster: I think they have nutritional information on the bags so I should check that. Thanks. With regards to flour naming/labelling, it may be true that it's unregulated but since I've worked with "Strong Bakers Flour" in at least a few places, there must be at least some loose industry convention around what constitutes this flour type. Or maybe not.
posted by Evstar at 6:23 PM on July 28, 2010

Best answer: Take a look at the nutrition information and calculate the percentage of protein. For standard bread flour you are looking at least 11%-13%. But your stuff is hard, red winter wheat and labelled "extra strong" so you are looking at 13.5-14.5%. With that said also look to see if it is bromated which makes the flour have stronger gluten. Also your product may have malted flour added to help with yeast fermentation. Using this high of a percentage gluten flour with possibly even more strength added by the potassium bromate or bromate replacer indicates that this flour is best used with bagels, hearth style breads and hard rolls. In other words, where chew is important and you are using a yeast raised method. High protein flours can make for very chewy breads.

Now if you are using something like artisan bread flour which is also made from hard, red wheat it will NOT be bromated or have other agents added to it or be bleached. The protein content is 11.5-12.5% The fermentation process is long with artisan so the gluten holds up well even at a lower protein percentage.

Hope this helps.
posted by jadepearl at 7:13 PM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh yeah, based on bread you are doing I would cut it with AP to get the right percentage for the application.
posted by jadepearl at 7:14 PM on July 28, 2010

I feel your pain. When I came into my new gig my flour options were Giusto's 00 (an Italian style flour)and KA Sir Lancelot (a high gluten flour), neither of which behave (separately or in combination) quite like any of the AP or bread flours I'm used to. I'm going to second jadepearl and guess that this is a high gluten flour around the 14% range. Definitely try cutting it with some all purpose and see if you can make at work, but my results improved dramatically when I got my hands on some bread flour. The high gluten flour does come in handy when working with rye, which lacks some of the proteins that wheat has. Good luck.
posted by clockwork at 7:59 PM on July 28, 2010

This site may tell you more than you want to know:
posted by Old Geezer at 12:44 PM on July 29, 2010

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