Now that I’m more experienced at bread baking, you could say that being a bit of a Captain Obvious. But when I first started baking it wasn’t at all. I thought I’d just merrily use any old AP or bread flour and that would be that. And it was fine for the first few times. The loaves I made were tasty, if not necessarily aesthetically pleasing to look at; a little misshapen, or risen so much in the Dutch oven that it was a perfect imprint of the inside of the pot, or a replica of a flying saucer.
But as my initial interest starting transforming into the obsession it is now, I started looking into different techniques and ingredients that would improve the quality of the bread I baked, and one of those things was flour.
Like many, I jumped on the King Arthur bread flour bandwagon. It seemed that most home bakers used it and quite frankly, it’s great flour. And for the first couple of months I was baking, I used either that or the KA Special Patent flour which creates a real smooth, fluffy texture as it is geared towards buns and pastries.
But as I’ve shared a few times in previous posts, because of health reasons, I had to seriously reconsider not just the visual and taste quality of my bread but also its nutritional value and quality. So I started to make 100% whole wheat loaves. They looked pretty good, but ugh! They felt a little grainy and also tended to be a little dense as whole grain bread can be.
This led me on a quest for flour that I could work like regular bread flour but had the nutritional value of whole wheat. And that brought me to the flour that I use now and that I’m absolutely crazy about: The Unifine White Whole Wheat and Ultra-Unifine Bread Flour. Used in a 25-75 ratio, I get the feel of working with a bread flour but the nutritional benefits of a whole wheat flour as the bread flour is a high-extraction flour.
But more importantly, the taste of the bread that this combination produces is unlike any bread I’ve ever had. No matter if I create a sourdough or straight dough, I’m always rewarded with a slightly sweet aftertaste and an absolutely wonderful, chewy texture. The Unifine milling process smooths out the particulates in the flour so you don’t get that graininess that you normally feel with whole grain bread. But from a taste perspective, you know you’re eating whole wheat – or at least close to it.
So this is now my master flour despite having claimed that in another post for a completely different combination. And for me, having discovered this combination completely changes the game for me because I can focus all my baking efforts and skill development around working mainly with this flour. It just removes some of the guesswork and I can create a more consistent process.