Author Topic: King Arthur Flour Absorption Rates  (Read 5929 times)

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Offline Pete-zza

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King Arthur Flour Absorption Rates
« on: February 03, 2007, 03:07:53 PM »
One of the things that has long perplexed me is why King Arthur does not publish the absorption rates of their all-purpose and bread flours sold at the retail level. For those who are interested in this sort of thing, the absorption rate of a flour is a technical characteristic most closely related to the hydration rate. In the past, I did find materials at the professional section of the KA website that gave the absorption rates for several of their flours, but not for the all-purpose and bread flours that we so frequently use. A good example is this document: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/professional/specifications-conventional-bakery-flour.html.  Another example is this one, for its organic flours: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/professional/specifications-organic-bakery-flour.html.

Since I was unable to find the corresponding numbers for the KA all-purpose and bread flours after scouring the KA website and doing several online searches, I decided to call KA. Through voicemail exchanges with Tod Bramble, the flour guru at KA, I learned that the KA retail all-purpose flour has an absorption rate of 61% +/- 2%, and that the KA retail bread flour has an absorption rate of 62% +/- 2%. Many of our members who use the KA Sir Lancelot flour are already aware of its 63% +/- 2% absorption rate. I also learned that there are professional counterparts to the KA all-purpose and bread flours. The professional counterpart to the all-purpose flour is called Sir Galahad.  For the bread flour, it is called Special.

My practice has been to use the rated absorption rates when in doubt. It is a conservative, but safe, approach. For example, if I were to suggest that one use 66% hydration for the Sir Lancelot flour (KASL), I know from experience and feedback that there will be many who will have a hard time handling the dough because it is too wet. So, 63% seems safe, although there will be those who will find even that value too high. I might add that there is an interesting correlation between the rated absorption rate and what is called the “operational absorption” rate, which is essentially the optimum hydration that produces the best results. I first learned of this correlation from member scpizza who was kind enough to send me a link to this article: http://www.bsimagazine.com/feature_stories_print.asp?ArticleID=37104. As noted in the article, the operational absorption rate can be 2-4% higher than the rated absorption rate. That would suggest that a flour like the KASL can tolerate a sizable increase in hydration above its rated absorption of 63% +/- 2%. That might also help explain why some members are able to get, say, 65-70% hydration, with a high gluten flour like the KASL.

Peter

EDIT (1/16/14): To read the article at the above inoperative bsimagazine.com link, see Reply 9 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,8419.msg72940/topicseen.html#msg72940
« Last Edit: January 16, 2014, 09:25:17 AM by Pete-zza »


Offline abatardi

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Re: King Arthur Flour Absorption Rates
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2007, 12:50:27 AM »
Another reason people get higher absorption rates: their flour is older and no longer at the ~10% moisture it came from the mill with.

- aba

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Online pkasten

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Re: King Arthur Flour Absorption Rates
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2007, 01:06:43 AM »
Another reason people get higher absorption rates: their flour is older and no longer at the ~10% moisture it came from the mill with.

I suppose that depends on the relative humidity in which it's stored. 

Of course, if you remove more water, then it can take more in mixing..

sort of like using a little more bench flour to form a ball at a supposedly higher hydration %... just because your dough is at 65 when mixed, doesn't mean you're not taking it down to 60 by the time it's portioned/balled, or 55 by the time it's shaped into a disc and ready for topping.


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: King Arthur Flour Absorption Rates
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2007, 02:59:13 AM »
Those are all good points.

As the links referenced above note, the maximum rated moisture content of the King Arthur flours are 14%. For some European flours, it can be around 15.5%. As pointed out in this Lehmann PMQ Think Tank reply, http://www.pmq.com/cgi-bin/tt/index.cgi?read=21536, depending on storage and other conditions, the moisture in flour can get down to as low as 10.5%. See also, Reply 1 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,3331.msg28181.html#msg28181 for additional detail. Differences in protein level apparently will also mandate higher absorption as noted in this Lehmann PMQTT reply: http://www.pmq.com/cgi-bin/tt/index.cgi?read=15053 and also in the article referenced by scpizza. That article does not mention flour moisture, so it is not clear whether and to what extent it was taken into account in drawing the distinction between rated absorption and operational absorption. I suspect there would be differences even for fresh flour and, for purposes of the tests described in the article, I would think that they would be done with fresh flour rather than random flours in the field.

Peter

Offline avecletemps

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Re: King Arthur Flour Absorption Rates
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2007, 05:59:40 AM »
Peter,

I would like you to know that I appreciate this information.

Moon


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: King Arthur Flour Absorption Rates
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2007, 09:40:58 AM »
Moon,

I'm glad. Thank you.

Peter


 

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