As we have all been indoors much of the time in the past few months/years, many of us have been baking.
Early in the pandemic flour , among other things, was hard to come by. Our favourite brands were just simply out of stock. Thankfully here in Canada our flour mills went into overdrive to get flour out the door and to the stores.
While flour started to show up the brand your may have wanted wasn’t immediately available. I bought a brand of flour I had never purchased before. Suddenly the bread I had made a couple of times before didn’t turn out. Argh! A recipe not turning out when supplies are short just isn’t right.
Looking into things a little closer I found the issue was the protein content.
Here in Canada our major brands of all purpose flour have 13% protein. The bag of all purpose flour I picked up had 10% protein. When making bread this meant the recipe didn’t turn out.
I knew throughout the world different protein flour was used in other countries. But, who knew we had different protein contents in flour he in Canada.
Finding flour was a bit of a hassle. Upon arriving home from our vacation in early March we were a bit shocked to see the shortages in the grocery stores. We had heard about them, but seeing it was disturbing.
One of the last things I had trouble finding was all purpose flour. I recall seeing Robin Hood Bread Flour in one store and decided to pass .After all, I was looking for all-purpose. The quest continued. Eventually the hubster came home with some a Robin Hood all-purpose! Not sure how he did it!
While waiting for the Robin Hood AP flour I used up some of our non name flour I had purchased around Christmas. I tried to make some bread and the results came up less than desirable. The hubster tried his hand at it too with the same unsatisfactory results.
We’re we out of practice? Did we not know how to follow a recipe? 👀
I have been lucky enough to pick up baking books over the years while we have travelled. Over time I learned that the flour and butter used were different. Many French, German, Italian and Swedish recipes use plain flour. Here in North America this is mostly equivalent to cake/pastry flour. Substituting our AP flour results in lacklustre results.
I “knew” our AP flour in Canada was probably considered bread flour. I keep this in mind. I really haven’t had an issue with North American recipes using our AP flour. That was until Covid-Baking.
With the bread recipes not turning our I started wondering about flour again.
Looking at our flour bags a little closer I found what I think is the problem. The no-name flour I have been using has a 10% protein content while the brand name flours – here in Canada – are 13% protein. Equivalent to Bread Flour. Seems I should’ve have passed up that bag of Bread Flour I saw early on in my flour search.
So there we go! Problem solved!
Starts me thinking about my less than desirable results while making Pain Polâin recently. Possible wrong whole wheat flour?
Other notes: I mentioned different butter in Europe. Generally 82% butter fat or more. Sometimes cultured. Makes a big difference in taste especially when butter is a major ingredient.