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Old 04-26-2013, 05:32 PM
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Default What is the best flour

Hey gang, the oven is pretty ready to cook in, so i need to look for flour, i will have my grandparents teach me how to make the dough and yeast, as they have done this for many many years. I know nothing about flour so i would appreciate any help. I would like flour for pizza and wheat flour for bread baking. Thanks.
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Old 04-26-2013, 11:25 PM
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Default Re: What is the best flour

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Originally Posted by V-wiz View Post
I would like flour for pizza and wheat flour for bread baking. Thanks.
Isnt it all the same beast?
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Old 04-26-2013, 11:55 PM
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Default Re: What is the best flour

I guess so As you can see i know nothing in this department
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Old 04-27-2013, 09:59 AM
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Default Re: What is the best flour

First I would suggest using something that is readily available - at least while you are learning - and consistent in properties. If money is an issue that will tend to push you to the larger mass flour manufacturers like Gold Medal or Pillsbury. Their AP is pretty consistent and I think reliable - but you want straight flour - not self rising or with weird additives! Gold Medal AP makes quite appropriate pizza and bread doughs for artisanal loaves. IF you want bread flour also (which I use for neoNeopolitan pizza dough - and only occasionally in specialty breads) then their bread flour is pretty good too.

If money is less of an object then King Arthur AP and Bread Flours are both very good. Again I use the AP for most everything.

And for more money yet, Caputo for pizza is nice and has lots of fans on this site but I don't find it particularly attractive relative to domestic flour. While the texture of the dough and its extensibility are wonderful, I find it less consistent and demanding of adjustment so....

I would strongly suggest avoiding specialty flours (like smaller producers) until you are consistent with one flour (for pizza and one for bread). Once you are consistent then you will be able to adjust for weirdness. And you will encounter weird flour - especially if you use specialty flours.

Good luck!
Jay
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:26 PM
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Default Re: What is the best flour

Ok thank you, i will start out with a standard flour then move on up. Could i purchase just about any of those mentioned flours at the super market?
Also how would i make yeast? ive been told to start out with good stuff and keep using it? Im sorry, i need to do my research and talk to a few folks to further grow my knowledge.
Thanks.
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Old 04-29-2013, 02:46 PM
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Default Re: What is the best flour

Gudday
On yeast... I know there's probably some very good but specialized yeast around for you to experiment with but the good old dried is a good place to start. 100 ml of tepid water (never to hot ) 1/2 teaspoon sugar a sprinkle of citric acid ( its not critical but they like acid) dump in the dry yeast a quik stir and cover.
Sat in a warm spot 20 mins later the yeast will multiple and start to bubble. You now have a live culture in a short time. Its not the amount of yeast thats important its it activity. I'm sure there are better ways but this is simple and works
Regards dave
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:01 AM
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Default Re: What is the best flour

Gold Medal and King Arthur are both available everywhere in the US. Once you get consistent results there are some wonderful specialty flours (like Giusto's) available in the LA area that you may want to explore. But for now, given your lack of experience and knowledge I would suggest Gold Medal All Purpose because it is cheap and you will minimize your losses.

For yeast I suggest Red Star or Fleischman's Instant yeast. Again, it is to my knowledge available everywhere. Don't buy little packs - buy a pound (about $4 as I recall). Once you open it, roll the top down, close it with a clip, and keep it in the freezer and it will last virtually forever. DO NOT BUY active yeast as it is less reliable and more trouble. You can mix dry instant yeast with dry flour when mixing dough. With active yeast you have to mix it with water, some use sugar, and revive it before mixing the dough. Instant saves 15 minutes and mess.

Buy a copy of Peter Reinhart's bood The Breadmaker's Apprentice. Lots of good breads and doughs and is for beginners. But the recipes make really good bread. His book Artisanal Breads Everyday is even more beginnery. Either should do and answer many of your questions.

Good luck!
Jay
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:53 AM
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Default Re: What is the best flour

Quote:
Originally Posted by V-wiz View Post
Ok thank you, i will start out with a standard flour then move on up. Could i purchase just about any of those mentioned flours at the super market?
Also how would i make yeast? ive been told to start out with good stuff and keep using it? Im sorry, i need to do my research and talk to a few folks to further grow my knowledge.
Thanks.
There's two (broad) kinds of yeast--wild and commercial. The commercial yeast generally comes freeze dried in little packets or jars. Definitely buy the jars. If you can find the 1lb packets Jay is talking about, definitely snag one--I've never seen one in the places I've lived, and the jars will run $6-$8 and have about 4 oz in them. The dried yeast comes in "active dry" and "instant" or "bread machine". Both are the same stuff--freeze dried yeast cells on little bits of yeast nutrients--the instant just has a higher concentration of active yeast.

In contrast, wild yeast are pretty much everywhere in the environment, and you can create a culture by leaving out a mix of flour and water for them to eat, better known as a sourdough starter. Sourdough is it's own beast, so start with commercially yeasted hearth breads before you make that plunge. If your grandparents are into sourdough baking, they can probably just give you some starter to create your own culture with, rather than starting from scratch. But cross that bridge later.

I'd agree with almost everything Jay had to say about flour, although I've been baking both bread and pizza with Caputo 00 since I finished my WFO, and find it wonderful to work with, and give better flavor and texture than the King Arthur (although the King Arthur is excellent, don't get me wrong). But then I probably haven't been using it long enough to notice differences in consistency. King Arthur also has an "Italian Style" flour with similar properties to the caputo, which costs an arm an a leg per pound, but might be a good way to try it out for pizzas without buying Caputo in bulk.

Some other flour suggestions: Given that you're in CA, you might be able to find Stone-Buhr White Bread Flour or Bob's Red Mill Unbleached White Flour, which are higher quality flours like the King Arthur, but might be a bit cheaper than KA, depending on the whims of your local grocery store.

And definitely buy one of Peter Reinhart's books.
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Old 04-30-2013, 01:48 PM
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Default Re: What is the best flour

I love and use the 00 Caputo flour my pizza is bubbly the dough is easy to work with and makes the best pizza around!
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Old 05-01-2013, 07:36 AM
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Default Re: What is the best flour

Thanks for all the help guys, really appreciate it. Ill go out and get some simple stuff and start working with it. Ill also get that book
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