Originally Posted by deathvalleydan
Do you know if bleached or unbleached flour makes a difference? I have often wondered that.
I've always use *unbleached* AP flour since I could never understand why flour had to be bleached anyway and my general philosophy is to go with the least processed food stuffs.
Unbleached is also recommended by Peter Reinhart, who says (in The Bread Bakers Apprenctice
) "...it is preferable to use unbleached...because the yellowish tint in unbleached four is caused by beta-carotene...the presence of beta-carotene...contributes better aroma and better flavor to the bread...the use of unbleached flour is especially important in simple lean breads...such as baguettes and other French, Italian and Vienna-style breads"
I do recommend using bread flour rather than AP in your bread recipes, at least in the beginning. I had untold failures using AP flour in bread when I began baking and when I switched to bread flour I had a much greater rater of success getting a well-risen loaf.
How about the % content of wheat flour?
Since your success rate is about 10% (though perhaps it is higher with some types of breads than others) I would go with a white bread first and then branch out to whole grains. If you want to use whole wheat, make it, in the beginning, no more than about 25% of the total flour content and use bread flour
, not AP, for the white flour. The higher the proportion of WW flour, the heavier the bread. I always use some bread flour even in my "whole grain" loaves.
When you buy WW flour, make sure to get stone ground whole wheat flour
. There is a noticeable flavor difference. Commerical milling processes heat flour to very high temperatures; stone-grind is slower and produces much less heat. High heat during milling reduces flavor in the final product.
Always read the label on your WW flour - some brands of WW flour in the supermarket leave out the germ of the wheat kernel (longer shelf life for the supermarket - inferior flour for the consumer). The King Arthur line of flours, if available in your area, are excellent.
I use the RED STAR QUICK RISE packets, and the only bread machienes I use are my two arms.
When I read the blurbs on the Red Star Yeast Products
page, it looks to me like the you do *not* want RED STAR® QUICK·RISE™ Yeast but rather RED STAR® Bread Machine Yeast (or just get Active Dry yeast to be on the safe side - the descriptions on this site are a bit hard to decipher).
If you are near a wholesale supermarket (like Costco, Sams Club, etc), see if they carry baking yeast in one-pound packages. This will save you mucho $$$.
The instant yeast packages look like this
and you'll notice they just say "Instant Yeast", which (thankfully) tells us exactly what it is without any marketing babble.
The active dry packages look like this
and you'll notice they just say "Active Dry Yeast", which (thankfully) tells us exactly what it is without any marketing babble.
(you can buy one-pound bags of yeast on-line but the cost of shipping doubles the price so it is hardly cost-effective).
The expiration date on yeast refers to the amount of time it can be stored without refrigeration unopened
. I keep opened yeast in my freezer. The bag is clipped closed and double bagged in a resealable plastic bag. The longest I have kept yeast this way was 4 years, with no noticeable decline in rising power. Many other posters to this forum have reported similar results.
The amounts of Active Dry vs Instant Yeast for a recipe vary slightly, so if you need to convert from one to another check out http://breaddaily.tripod.com/yeast.htm
for a conversion table.