Recently, while I was in one of my local supermarkets, I noticed two bags of bread flour from General Mills sold under the Gold Medal name. One was an unbleached, unbromated bread flour such as shown at the GM website at http://www.goldmedalflour.com/ourflourstory/ourflour/breadflour
. The other was the Gold Medal Better for Bread flour, such as shown at http://www.amazon.com/Gold-Medal-Better-Bread-Flour/dp/B00DOOF9SC/?tag=pizzamaking-20
. A photo of that product does not appear at the aforementioned GM website. Previously, the Gold Medal Better for Bread flour was called Harvest King but from what I can tell, the Harvest King flour is no longer sold solely under that name and has largely disappeared from supermarket shelves. But, even then, I did wonder whether all three brands are/were for the same flour.
To determine whether the Gold Medal unbleached and unbromated bread flour that I saw in my local supermarket is the same as the Gold Medal Better for Bread flour that was also on the same supermarket shelf, I decided to send an email to GM via its website. My question was simply: Are the two flours the same? All that I was looking for was a yes or no answer. What I did not say in my email is that the UPC codes were the same which I took to mean that the two flours are the same. But I wanted to see how GM would answer my question.
Here is the reply I got:Hello Peter:
Thank you for contacting General Mills with your inquiry regarding flour substitutions. The Betty Crocker Home Economists generally recommend using ingredients listed in the recipe for best results; however, they recognize that periodically creative cooks wish to make ingredient substitutions in favorite recipes.
All flours should be stored in airtight canisters in a cool, dry place. Gold Medal all-purpose, unbleached, Better for Bread and Wondra flours should be used within 15 months; self-rising flour within 9 months; whole wheat and wheat blend flours within 6 to 8 months. If flour is to be kept over an extended period of time, it is recommended that it be stored in a moistureproof, vaporproof bag in the refrigerator or freezer. Bring flour to room temperature before using.
All flour is sifted many times during the milling process. The primary reason that older recipes called for sifting flour was to help ensure that the amount of flour measured in a cup was consistent from cup to cup, and from consumer to consumer so that recipes would turn out the same every time. If your old recipe calls for sifted flour and you do not want to sift it, there is no need to adjust the amount of flour in the recipe. To obtain the most accurate measurement of flour, spoon flour into a standard dry-ingredient measuring cup and level with a knife or spatula.
Paula A. Vaughn
Consumer Response Representative
GOLD MEDAL ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR
This flour is called all-purpose because it is suitable for all types of baking. It is a blend of select hard and soft wheats, which gives it this quality. Bleaching agents are used in small amounts to whiten the flour and improve baking results.
For best results, use recipes developed for all-purpose flour. If it is necessary to use all-purpose flour in recipes calling for self-rising flour, add 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt for each cup of flour.
When substituting all-purpose flour for cake flour, decrease flour measurement by 2 tablespoons per cup. This is not recommended for delicate cakes such as angel food/sponge cakes or cakes requiring several preparation steps (i.e., creaming, folding ingredients). Substituting all-purpose flour for cake flour may cause a heavy, dry or cracked cake.
Gold Medal all-purpose flour is distributed in 2-, 5-, 10- and 25-pound bags.
GOLD MEDAL UNBLEACHED FLOUR
Unbleached flour is an all-purpose flour without the bleaching agents. Unbleached flour is not as white as all-purpose flour; therefore, baked products such as white bread will have more of a creamy color.
Gold Medal unbleached flour is distributed in 5-, 10- and 25-pound bags.
GOLD MEDAL SELF-RISING BETTER FOR BISCUITS™ FLOUR
Better for Biscuits self-rising flour is an all-purpose flour with baking powder and salt added. Using recipes specifically developed for self-rising flour ensures success.
Recipes using self-rising flour are printed on each Gold Medal Better for Biscuits self-rising flour bag. In many Betty Crocker cookbook recipes, an asterisk and note indicate how self-rising flour can be used in place of regular flour.
Gold Medal Better for Biscuits self-rising flour is distributed in 2- and 5-pound bags.
GOLD MEDAL HARVEST KING BETTER FOR BREAD™ FLOUR
Harvest King Better for Bread (introduced June 2006) flour is an unbleached flour milled from a special blend of 100% winter wheats higher in protein than wheats used in all-purpose flour. This flour is the same flour used in our Bakery Flour business and is specially formulated for artisan style baking.
These qualities make Harvest King flour excellent for yeast bread baking and other yeast-raised baked products. It is also suitable for quick breads and cookies. It is least suitable for delicate baking, such as cakes and pastries.
Gold Medal Harvest King Better for Bread flour is distributed in 5 pound bags,
GOLD MEDAL BETTER FOR BREAD™ FLOUR
Better for Bread flour is an unbleached flour made from a special blend of wheats higher in protein than wheats used in all-purpose flour. Protein produces gluten that gives structure-building properties required in baked products, particularly in those made with yeast as a leavening agent.
Better for Bread flour absorbs greater quantities of water and has a more elastic dough-handling characteristic than all-purpose flour. It contains a small amount of ascorbic acid to improve dough handling and produce better volume and crumb structure in bread. These qualities make Better for Bread flour excellent for yeast bread baking and other yeast-raised baked products. It is also suitable for quick breads and cookies. It is least suitable for delicate baking, such as cakes and pastries.
Better for Bread is the ideal flour for use in automatic bread machines because it is high in gluten-forming proteins.
Gold Medal Better for Bread flour is distributed in 10- and 25-pound bags.
GOLD MEDAL BETTER FOR BREAD WHEAT BLEND FLOUR
Better for Bread wheat blend is a specially formulated flour blend of 100% hard wheat flour and wheat bran. The hard wheat flour provides the gluten structure needed for bread baking; the wheat bran provides the texture, taste and appearance characteristic of wheat bread. It produces wheat loaves higher in volume and lighter in texture than those made with 100% whole wheat flour. Better for Bread wheat blend can be substituted cup-for-cup in recipes calling for all-purpose, whole wheat and bread flours.
Gold Medal Better for Bread wheat blend flour is distributed in 5-pound bags.
GOLD MEDAL WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR
Whole wheat flour is milled to an even, medium-fine granulation from the complete wheat kernel (bran, germ and endosperm). Do not sift, as sifting will clog the sifter, and flavorful, nutritious particles that distinguish this flour will be lost.
Whole wheat flour produces satisfactory breads, quick breads, cakes, cookies and pie crusts. Success is ensured by using recipes specifically developed for whole wheat flour. However, whole wheat flour can be incorporated into all-purpose flour recipes by using half whole wheat and half all-purpose flour. Recipes using whole wheat flour are on each bag of Gold Medal whole wheat flour.
Gold Medal whole wheat flour is distributed in 5-pound bags.
GOLD MEDAL WONDRA® QUICK-MIXING FLOUR
Wondra flour is a convenient, instantized all-purpose flour. It is granular in texture, but retains the basic function of all-purpose flour. Wondra flour pours freely and evenly and is dust-free.
Wondra flour can be substituted cup-for-cup in recipes calling for all-purpose flour. Because it disperses instantly in cold liquids, Wondra flour is excellent for preparing smooth gravies, sauces and batters. Some doughs will look and feel different, but results will be the same. If dough seems dry at first, work with hands until dough holds together.
Wondra quick-mixing flour is distributed in 2-pound boxes and in 13.5-ounce containers.
Since I couldn't find the answer to my question in the above reply, I decided to further respond to that reply. I thanked GM for the information on its flours but added that they did not answer my original question. I now await a further response if it is to come.