I’m experimenting with different bread flours from different brands. Any feedback of White Lily bread flour, King Arthur bread flour and King Arthur Lancelot bread flour? I bake mostly a 30% whole wheat flour ground at home (fidibus xl) and the rest bread flour with a pate fermentee about 20%. I’m looking for a very open crumb with a crusty exterior. So far, the White Lily has been very good, but I can’t find it in my area for less than $2/lb. The other choices I can find a bit cheaper in my area. Would either be a good substitute? And any suggestions on cheap supplies for good, bulk, bread flour?
While I do think flour matters, I also think method matters … BUT so many variables and to your question. I use a local to me flour that is the antithesis of White Lily in that it is hard red winter wheat vs soft red winter wheat. I get good results. I use some King Arthur specialty flours and I’ve used Breadtopia flours. I really like the Breadtopia flours (I have no relationship with Breadtopia other than a forum member!). One “grocery store” flour that I have had great results with is Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour. It is reasonably priced and I see it in bulk some places. I’ve mixed it with my local WheatMontana when the WM has been unavailable. It has barley malt as do many bread flours. The Bob’s Red Mill is less expensive than the WheatMontana but my personal choice to buy “local”. I have also had good results mixing Breadtopia’s Diastatic Malted Barley flour (2 T to 500g WM) with my WheatMontana.
I think there are some very good flours on the market that you may be able to buy at your local grocery store, depending on where you live as some brands are more limited regionally. That being said, I admit liking both Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur bread flours. However, I made the personal decision to only use bread flour that was organic, unbromated and unenriched, with no barley malt flour added. Both King Arthur and Bob’s Red Mill flours don’t meet those criteria for me. I have been buying my bread flour here on Breadtopia only. I use the high protein organic bread flour for my husband’s breads exclusively due to medical dietary restrictions. I also love Breadtopia’s organic select bread flour which I also use, mixed with the high protein bread flour, or stand-alone, or mixed with whole grain wheat or rye as desired for my personal breads since my husband can’t have any whole grains, which is why I bake him his own loaves. To feed my sourdough, Cyril, I buy Arrowhead Mills organic all purpose white flour at my local grocer as it is not bromated or enriched, at least according to the label.
I live in Alaska and have very limited options for flours, mostly just the big brand names. Local is pretty much out of the question, except barley, which I do use in small percetages sometimes. Mainly, I use the King Arthur Bread flour regularly because it is the most available strong flour I can get. Not organic though, if that matters. Its not my favorite tasting flour though, I think it is bland, and kind of chalky, but it does give rise to the the more home ground whole meally type breads I make (up to 50%) which is where most of my flavor will come from.
Mail order makes the price of flour undesirable for me but I have tried Sir Lancelot for pizza and pizza type breads and have really like it mainly because of flavor. Used alone it is like trying to make a pizza out of a tire, but it can handle really long sourdough ferments and still be stretchable. But I think it has much better nuttier like taste than the regular bread, I’d use it instead if money were less of a consideration.
Other than that, I’ve tried Bob’s Redmill Artisan bread, and its so so. I don’t mind the added malted flour but it does seem to act faster than the KA. I sometimes add my own diastatic malt to my doughs. I’ve also tried Stone Buhr bread and don’t think its very strong or flavorful and seems to give up easy with my sourdough, I won’t use it anymore.
Central Milling all-purpose is a nice tasting fair strength but with low percentages of whole wheats. I would really like to try their bread flour or Guistos. Guisto’s seems to get a lot of accolades from serious bread folks. I’ve never tried Breadtopia flours. I probably should.
I use a local store brand Called Texas Pure Milling, supposedly from Texas Farmers. I use their AP, and BF for my starter, and I get fantastic activity/rise with it in the starter. I lno onger buy, or use King Arthur flours because I do not feel they perform well for baking sourdough. I am not a professional, just a home baker, so my statement is based on personal experience. A photo is attached to show my starters fed at the same time with Texas Pure vs. King Arthur. The parfait jar is the the Texas fed starter, and the right bowl is KA’s fed stater. No, KA’s starter is not after it rose, then fell, it is 2 hours after feeding.
I am presently using flours from Breadtopia, and so far I am happy. I buy already milled flour, and I mill my own Kamut seeds. I just want fresh flour is that what it is claimed to be on the packaging. It would be great to get local farmers to sell seeds right to consumers, but they will not even talk to you since they are lined up with various retail bread retailers.
I use King Arthur and White Lily for Biscuits, but not White Lily Bread Flour
I love Breadtopia’s Select Bread flour. It’s an organic stone ground high protein flour that contains both germ and bran, except that it is bolted (sifted through a fabric screen) to remove the larger bran particles, which can act like little razor blades and cut gluten strands, resulting in less rise. I have used this for the bread flour portion of my sourdough and have achieved excellent results. If you ordered before and were discouraged by the shipping costs, take heart, they have a new shipper and costs are VERY REASONABLE! At $1.45 per pound in the 10-lb size, I think it’s a bargain. Best of all, the flour is sealed in very durable, airtight, resealable bags that are perfect for the refrigerator or freezer. Love their Red Fife and other flours, too. Can’t say enough good things about this company and their freshly milled flours.
Full disclosure on our new shipper, SpeeDee Delivery service. Their rates and service are exemplary, but unfortunately, so far they are a midwest-only service so the rates that you see are unfortunately not available to many of our customers outside the midwest (all of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, as well as select cities and ZIP Codes in Michigan, Missouri, and Nebraska).
We’re rooting for SpeeDee to expand - they are great to work with.
I am new to Breadtopia’s forum. I worked for 35 years in a hospital laboratory before retiring to make bread. I just recently started with sourdough and have been using King Arthur flour without issue. In fact my jar fills very nicely. The reason I am writing is that you compare the two flours using completely different containers, one tall and narrow, the other short and wide. Also no marking where the starter started at. Just sayin’
You might check out Pendleton Mills’ “Power Flour”… It is high protein, high gluten made from hard red spring wheat. A 25 lb bag costs just under $10 at the local Cash and Carry.
I bake a lot for a home baker. I make nine loves at a time. Four are soft white with 18% whole wheat. Four are 3 to 5 seeds/flour, 25 to 30% and these have a more crusty chewy texture.
The last one is for me, an experimental loaf.
My wife and I distribute them free to members of the congregation we attend who are ill or shut-ins. I take a bread knife with us. We also take plastic bags to freeze some.
Having given you insight to my baking flour cost is important. Quality is also on the top of my list. After experimenting we buy Costco flour as a first choice and Sams Club as a second choice. They only sell in 25 or 50 pound bags. They only sell white flour.
For seeds and various flours we go to the 7th Day Adventist nutritional store or the Amish store. I like their Spelt flour. When we buy this we make a date or a day out and usually includes lunch. We try to do this every two or three months. They also have fruit and vegetables in season.
Hope this helps