Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Flour School, Differences in Flour

Opening this mornings paper, there lo and behold were recipes on pizza, then I started reading my new Sunset magazine and it had a whole section on pizza and chocolate (my 2 favorite food
groups). So I thought I would address what the difference is between bleached and unbleached flour as it can make a difference in the results of your baking adventures.
Bleached Flour has a slightly lower protein content than unbleached flour because of the chlorination process it goes through. Protein develops into gluten, which provides structure in baked goods. Less protein in bleached flour means less gluten and a softer, lighter texture and finer grain, just the qualities you want in more delicate pastries like cakes, pastry dough, muffins and shortcakes.
Unbleached Flour is better for sturdier baked goods, like yeast breads or pizza dough. Its higher protein content allows the yeast to rise and still support the structure of the dough.

Now to get even more technical about some of the wheat we grow on our farm. Each class of wheat has its own characteristics and are used by the buyers as such:
Soft White Wheat (winter & spring wheat) - mainly used for pastries, pancakes, cakes, cookies, crackers, flat breads, snack foods and cereals.
Hard Red Wheat (winter & spring) yeast breads, hard rolls, bagels, Asian noodles, flat breads
Hard White Wheat (winter & spring) blended flours, Asian noodles, steam breads, domestic foods made with whole wheat
Durum: pasta

Idaho wheat production is usually between 85-95 million bushels/year. Wheat production plays an important role in the Idaho economy. The value of production in 2008 was $646 million.

I will try the recipes listed in the paper and the magazine, but for now, here is my personal favorite pizza recipe and a yummy chocolate recipe to round out the meal.
Pizza Dough
Combine in a mixing bowl
1 cup warm water
1/2 teas salt
1 Tbl olive oil
1 teas sugar
1 pkg yeast or 2 1/2 teas yeast (if you buy in bulk)
Once the yeast is bubbly, then add:
2 cups unbleached flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
Then add 1/2 -3/4 cup more flour to make a firm dough.
Let rise to double, punch down and prepare as you normally would. My personal favorite is brush the pizza stone with a mixture of olive oil and about 2 teas of minced garlic, then spread the dough out on the stone. Then add more olive oil and garlic ( 2-3 Tbl of olive oil and 1-2 teas minced garlic) just enough to cover all the dough. Then add your favorite toppings and add mozzarella cheese. I like to bake mine on the convection setting of 425 for 17 minutes.

Chocolate Shortbread Cookies
1/2 cup softened butter (no substitutions)
3/4 cup bleached flour
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
3 Tbls unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. With electric mixer, beat butter until creamy, add flour, sugar and cocoa until combined. If dough is too soft to handle, chill in refrigerator 10 min). Pat dough into an 8 in round greased cake pan, press edges down with the tines of a fork. Bake until firm, about 30 min. Immediately score into 8 sections and cool completely. Turn out of the pan and break wedges apart.


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