minutes per mile blog

carbtastic chronicles #17: all-purpose vs. bread flour

Happy weekend! It is grey and icy here, so I can promise you zero beautiful sunrise running photos for the next couple days. BUT, I can deliver some pretty bread photos!sunflower_seed_bread_lily__DSC0300Lately my loaves haven’t been as light and fluffy as they usually are, and I was wondering what I was doing wrong. The bread was turning out well, but definitely on the denser side than usual.

Especially this whole wheat braided sunflower seed bread I made the other week. Delicious flavor, so-so texture!sunflower_seed_bread_lily__DSC0295I used about 1/3 whole wheat, 2/3 white flour for the recipe and then threw in a small handful of sunflower seeds for some crunch. sunflower_seed_bread_lily__DSC0297There’s even some vital wheat gluten to help the dough rise! But despite my efforts, the loaf still turned out a bit on the short side. The slices were perfect for toast, but too small for making proper sandwiches.sunflower_seed_bread_lily__DSC0303My little bread-making heart was about to break because I couldn’t figure out what went wrong. And then I realized that I was using ALL-PURPOSE flour instead of BREAD flour. Mystery solved!!

Just to be sure that the flour was to blame, I made the same loaf a few days later — this time using King Arthur bread flour instead of White Lily all-purpose flour. sunflower_seed_bread_2_DSC0362Look at that rise!sunflower_seed_bread_2_DSC0358The loaf still wasn’t super-duper fluffy (might have to do with the weight of the sunflower seeds), but was definitely an improvement from my last attempt.sunflower_seed_bread_2_DSC0364The slices were a bit more airy and soft — the sunflower seeds seem to distribute more evenly, too.sunflower_seed_bread_2_DSC0370And that’s that! All purpose flour = foe; bread flour=friend.


2 thoughts on “carbtastic chronicles #17: all-purpose vs. bread flour

  1. Try making a higher hydration dough. The dough will be much softer and harder to work with, but it will be able to rise higher. Give it enough time to rest and rise. Start with a very hot oven for the first 10 minutes of baking to maximize oven spring. Play with different shapes and be sure to score the bread to help with attaining a looser crumb.

    I recommend reading Serious Eats guide to making bread. It’s a TON of information, but it’s a very informative read: http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/08/bread-making-basics-everything-you-need-to-know-to-start-baking-awesome-bread.html