All Purpose Flour Talk

With prices going up and up, on a whim I purchased a bag of Aldi’s flour for $1.50, just to see. Baked a batch of my mom’s yeast rolls and the flour performed more like a bread flour (the rolls were “sturdier” than when made with Gold Medal all purpose). But the label said it had the same protein content as my Gold Medal AP, and same as my El Rosal, which I find to be more of a cake flour.

Huh.

So here’s what I have found so far in my pandemic flour buying adventures. This is just regarding my all purpose flour purchases, not my bread, high gluten or whole wheat flour purchases.

Gold Medal flour purchased in a 25 pound bag from Smart and Final - behaves exactly the same as Gold Medal in the five pound bags. (It was listed as Hotel & Restaurant Flour so I wasn’t sure…)

Smart and Final Brand AP flour, 25 pound bag, was very close to Gold Medal. Not quite as nice, can’t really explain it, but very close. Maybe just that it smelled different, so I didn’t get that "I grew up with it” smell reassurance? Would buy again.

Harvest Mills/Ardent Mills all purpose flour, the brand you get from Costco in Los Angeles -

Harvest Mills seemed to have a slightly higher protein content as well. Not as tough as the Aldi flour but still acted like it had a tad more protein than Gold Medal AP. Prefer S & F brand to it.

El Rosal flours (both AP and whole wheat.)
I find these to give me a much more tender baked good, sometimes too tender if I am doing a yeast bread. So I save these for delicate items. And the whole wheat is a delightful swap at 33% or 50% in biscuits and coffeecakes. Gentle with a lovely flavor.

I’m love to hear other folks thoughts on trying generic generic or lesser known flours and their experiences with them. Has anyone tried the Target brand flours? And maybe Gold Medal does somehting to make the flour softer versus just protein content? Dunno!

Thanks for playing!

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“Ash content” can play into gluten strength as well as protein percentage, What Does the “Ash Content” of Flour Mean? – The Baking Network. It’s possible Gold Medal has a lower ash content.
I have been using Giusto’s flours with great success. I pick them up at Epicurus.

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El rosal is what el Russo uses for the flour tortillas.

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I’ve been really digging flour from Central Milling. Good stuff, purchased at Surfas

Product Specifications
Protein / 10.5%
Ash / 0.55%
Variety / Organic Hard Red Winter Wheat
Treatment / Malted with Organic Malted Barley Flour

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Very interesting @ebethdad! I will look that up, that could explain much, thank you! And, I know there are tons of good flours out there, just with these off and on shortages, wanted to share (and gather!) extra info about the off brands that tend to be available when the big ones are not.

@hppzz - Oh man! Now I need to check El Russo out! It is such a tender flour (makes great pancakes) I imagine that the resulting tortillas are softly wonderful. Must try!

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My potato roll made with ‘Beehive’ the organic AP from CM (based in Utah)

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Robert, it’s late and I’m pooped. And I tried one long eloquent reply on the website to you… And it didn’t go through. Sigh.

So I’m logging in again to just say thank you. Your post was exactly what I had hoped for and I now know that Pillsbury, and the moderate level of protein, is my next best choice.

Thank you thank you thank you. And happy baking to you!

Marcy Aka happybaker.

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Glad you finally got an answer to your actual question lol. I don’t have the patient personality it takes to explore baking in-depth, but I always enjoy reading your posts!

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I expect there’s also a discussion of “ash” content of AP flours somewhere on the web, though the Italians seem to care a lot more about that than American baking nerds.

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@TheCookie - Thanks for your kind words! I am not hugely patient about everything but baking? Somehow it’s a puzzle I am okay spending time on.

I learn so much from others on this site, it’s heaps of fun. And now I have new fancy flours to look for as well, thanks to @ebethsdad and @aaqjr.

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