Author Topic: Data for flour- comparison between US and other brands?  (Read 3994 times)

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Offline Henrik

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Data for flour- comparison between US and other brands?
« on: November 28, 2005, 08:06:26 AM »
Hello Group,

I have a proposal to try establishing a knowledge sheet with relevant data for flours well suited for pizza making.

Being located (in Denmark) outside of the US, discussions here on various brand names of flour that you advice and are happy to use are of limited use (to me) as the flours are not readily available here.

I have just made an experiment with an Italian flour sold here in 1 pound bags for about a dollar a bag, named Zeze – elastic, for pizza.
No further declaration apart from moisture content and a protein content around 10,5 %.
A good standard flour with 12% protein is usually sells around half or less the price of the Zeze.

The Zeze with 65% hydration, mixed in my DLX according to Varasanos suggestion and 15 minutes autolyses, gives me good window-paning for the first time. It therefore seems to me, that other issues than mixing regime and protein content significantly influence the paning ability?…..This flour also made the pie forming very easy and provided a crisp but still flexible crust…..so very very good indeed!

The Italian 00 flour may have different milling characteristics than other flours available here, which does not reach window-paning under my manipulation, and it has been mentioned that the 00 flours perhaps are finer in particle size?

I fell over the specification for an other Italian pizza flour, which contains specifics which I struggle to understand, so your help is appreciated, and though most flours here do not have such a detailed specification it may provide valuable information of what to look for.


Flour 00 S 25 Kg recommended for pizzas
Flour obtained by grinding national and foreign soft force wheat

Use: suitable for pizze and and medium time of rising paste.
W = 250-280   P/L 0,60 - 0,70
GLUTINE SECCO   min. 11,30%
PROTEINE (Nx5,70)   min. 12,30%
FALLING NUMBER   sec. 280-310
ASSORBIMENTO   55-57%
TEMPO DI SVILUPPO   1' 30" - 2'
STABILITA'   6' - 9'


Size: kg.25
Packaging: paper bag

“Glutine secco” means  dry glutine, proteine (Nx5,7) I trust is Kjelldahl nitrogen times 5.7 for the analyses of proteine content, while the rest of the specification I do not understand….




I do appreciate, that the type of pizza, dough management and oven characteristics may call for different flours, but some sort of over view may enhance our ability to select the local alternative to KASL…..

Is it possible to make such a fact sheet which gives meaning?


Thanks for reading

Henrik
« Last Edit: November 29, 2005, 05:18:17 AM by Henrik »


Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Data for flour- comparison between US and other brands?
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2005, 04:05:23 PM »
Henrik,

I believe that in circumstances such as yours, where the flours available to you differ so much from what our U.S. members use and discuss, it would indeed be helpful to understand the specifications for the flours you have available in your home markets. However, it takes some work in understanding the specifications, since most of them are based on laboratory tests using specialized equipment. To complicate matters, not all millers around the world use the same specifications and standards. For example, few U.S. millers report "W" values for their flours. Many, if not most, European millers do. In some cases, U.S. data has to be adjusted to be comparable to European data.

I believe I can decipher most of the specifications for the Italian pizza flour you referenced in your post.

To begin, the fact that national and foreign wheat grains are milled to produce the flour tells me that the flour will have a higher protein/gluten level than if only national wheat grains were used. 

Looking at the W factor, 250-280, also suggests that the flour has a fair amount of protein and gluten. Based on the above value for W, I would estimate the flour is a medium strength flour. FYI, the W factor is a laboratory measurement that represents the amount of force it takes to deform a bubble of dough to the point where it ruptures. A typical range deemed appropriate for bread baking is above 200, and as high as 400. Because a flour with a high protein/gluten level will usually have a high W value, a dough made from such a flour will also usually tolerate a long fermentation time, and also a higher absorption (hydration) rate. As indicated above, most U.S. sources of flour, including King Arthur, do not report W values. For comparison purposes, the W value for the Caputo 00 pizzeria flour is 240-260.

The P/L value is believed to be a reliable measure of the balance between elasticity and plasticity (extensibility) of a dough. The "P" and "L" parts of the ratio have specific technical meanings relative to laboratory farinograph charts, but for your purposes, it is the ratio that is most useful. The higher the ratio, the greater the elasticity, and the lower the ratio, the greater the extensibility. The range of values for P/L deemed appropriate for bread making is around 0.40-0.70. The Caputo 00 pizzeria flour has a P/L of 0.50-0.60. If King Arthur reports P/L data for its flours, I have not been able to find it.

The falling number is a measure of amylase activity. Once fermentation of a dough starts, certain enzymes in the flour, mainly the alpha-amylase, starts the process by which sugar is extracted from damaged starch to feed the yeast in the dough. Some flours have higher amylase activity than others, and some millers (and occasionally bakers) will add additional amylase activity in the form of diastatic malt (or fungal amylase). The way that the falling number is established is through a laboratory test in which measured amounts of water and flour are put in a tube and stirred with a plunger while the tube is heated to the point where the flour and water gelatinize. The plunger is then put on top of the mixture and the time it takes for the tube to fall to the bottom is noted. The plunger will drop faster for a higher amylase flour than a lower amylase flour. A high amylase flour will have a low number, and a low amylase flour will have a high number. For example, the KASL flour, which is a malted flour, has a falling number of around 250, The Caputo 00 pizzeria flour, which is unmalted, has a falliing number of 340-360.  The flour you noted, with a falling number of 280-360, has a higher amylase activity than the Caputo 00 pizzeria flour.

The absorption figure is a laboratory figure that represents the capacity of a flour to absorb water. It is not identical to the hydration ratio that is frequently discussed, but it is reasonably close. From the value indicated, 55-57%, I know that the flour will be a fairly soft flour with only modest amounts of protein and gluten and a reasonable degree of extraction of bran, germ, etc. By contrast, the KASL has an absorption rate of 63 +/- 2%.

The stability measurement is purely a technical one based on chart analysis. In a more practical sense, the measurement is based on the amount of force it takes to move a couple of mixing arms in a mixing chamber in which a sample of dough of a specified hydration is placed. A dough made from a low protein/gluten flour will offer less resistance to the force, and a dough made from a high protein/gluten flour will offer greater resistance. For a flour such as the KASL, the stability factor can have a value of around 13 minutes (the difference in times for a dough to reach and leave a specified value on a farinograph chart). For a low protein/gluten flour, such as a cake or pastry flour, the stability factor can have a value as low as 2 to 3 minutes.

I do not know what the time of development factor (tempo di sviluppo) represents. Maybe some one of our other members can help with that one.

Peter

Offline Henrik

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Re: Data for flour- comparison between US and other brands?
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2005, 05:28:42 AM »
Wow, great…thanks Peter.

Inspired from your explanations I Googled for “tempo di sviluppo”, and found a reference  at
 
http://www.pizza.it/lnk_english_faq_ingredients.asp

(which comes in both Italian and “English”, and it seems a good starting point for explanation of flour chemistry and flour mechanics) and it translates “tempo di sviluppo” to ripening time, and it is also explained under dough FAQ:

Question: Where is the difference between riping and fermentation?
Answer: Fermentation is the transformation of amid into ethylic alcohol and CO2. The riping ist he modifiing process of the gluten net, which includes over 300 chemical processes.


The ingredients link also discusses salt and yeast, when to add salt f.ex. depending of the flour strength being high or low (Think that was a topic else where), and there is a baking/cooking FAQ too...so really an eye-opener for me....hope some of you less experienced like me will have benefit from it!



I would kindly ask you Peter and others, please, if you would elaborate on window-paning too. The importance, how to achieve it (including selection of flour) etc……

As the American flours seems to be higher in gluten, addition of gluten could be a choice for me, but my experience has not proven it to be a good solution in itself, so
does addition of gluten to a weaker flower bring it up to par, or is there a difference in performance between an “original” high gluten content and that of added gluten to obtain the same protein (gluten) level?

Thanks again for sharing your insight!


Henrik
« Last Edit: November 29, 2005, 05:38:27 AM by Henrik »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Data for flour- comparison between US and other brands?
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2005, 08:02:06 PM »
Henrik,

You shouldn't have a problem with getting a good window-pane (aka "gluten window") in your dough because your DLX Electrolux does a better job with the kneading than most other stand mixers in the same general (or lower) price category. As somewhat of a generalization, higher gluten flours will generally produce a better window-pane than lower gluten flours, simply because of the higher gluten content. But even then, the dough has to be properly kneaded. With stand mixers like the KitchenAid units, and especially the lower-priced ones, it is a constant battle to get the right consistency and texture and smoothness to the dough, including passing the window-pane test. I personally worry more about not overkneading than passing the window-pane test. You, and our other members who have the DLX machine, have an advantage over most KitchenAid users.

As far as supplementing a lower gluten flour with vital wheat gluten (VWG) is concerned, you will indeed raise the protein/gluten level of the underlying flour, but the combination will not be identical to one that is naturally higher in gluten. Apparently the way that VWG is produced changes its character somewhat, and simply adding it back to a flour doesn't make up for the changes. A naturally higher gluten flour will almost always be better than one supplemented to the same protein level. But, VWG-supplemented flours have a place in the pizza universe, especially where high-gluten flours are not readily available. I even once made a passable pizza dough using a combination of cake flour, which is very low in protein, and VWG. You could not do that with cake flour alone.

Peter

Offline Henrik

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Re: Data for flour- comparison between US and European brands?
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2006, 09:57:37 AM »
Hi Peter,

I just fell over this interesting publication from King Arthur on the subject of understanding flour data:

http://web.archive.org/web/20060208023504/http://www.kingarthurflour.com/stuff/contentmgr/files/15ec5c94af1251cdac2d7a25848f0e27/miscdocs/Flour%20Guide.pdf

Speaking earlier of our difficulty to obtain very high gluten flours in Europe, there is an interesting piece of information in the publication:

Quote:
It is very important to note that most protein values in the US are
reported on a 14% moisture basis whereas in the France and much of Europe
protein (and ash) is reported on a 0% or “dry matter” basis. This is a powerful
tool and allows “apples to apples comparisons” between flours that, as we
discussed above, may have different moisture contents. It can, however, lead
to confusion when you are talking about European flours and want to compare
them to US flours. Basically, reporting on a 14% moisture basis gives you a
corrected value of protein regardless of the actual moisture content. For those
of you who must know here is the formula used for the correction:
Protein 14% m.b. = Protein % as is x (100 – 14) / (100 – Moisture Content)
This same formula is used to correct ash content to a 14% or “dry matter”
moisture basis.
Unquote.

However, the misery for us Europeans continue, if high protein is the key to perfect (Neapolitan) crust, as comparison to our European flour gets even worse:
If you report 14.5 % protein in KASL @ 14% moisture, it would convert to
16.9% if reported @ 0%, while our best standard flour is 12.5 @ 0% moisture.  :-[

An other surprise from surfing on the KA homepage is, that their recommendation for pizza flour is an 8.5% Italian-style flour....

Please explain, as I am sure you understand why they advise as they do, and the kASL is so highly praised here...

Thanks,
Henrik
« Last Edit: March 15, 2013, 05:09:05 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Data for flour- comparison between US and other brands?
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2006, 12:24:52 PM »
Henrik,

Some time ago I stumbled across the King Arthur document you referenced, including the excerpt you posted. In fact, I found the article very useful when I was working on several of the terms for the Glossary (at the front page of the pizzamaking.com website, at http://www.pizzamaking.com/pizza_glossary.html).

I would not pay too much attention to the King Arthur recommendation to use the "Italian style" flour they sell. The flour does indeed have a protein content of 8.5%, but the flour is only a domestic "clone" of the Italian 00 flour, not the real deal. In fact, I think the protein content is too low to make a really good Neapolitan style dough, especially when there are now more 00 flours of high quality available to home pizza makers, and in many cases at a lower price per pound. I often read comments of people on other forums who swear by the KA Italian-style flour. Far be it for me to tell them that they are wrong, but I suspect they haven't tried the real Italian 00 flours. I might add that at one time I complained to King Arthur about their Italian-style flour (I told them in an email that it was one of the worst flours I had ever used), and the only reply I got was that the flour was low in protein.

The above notwithstanding, I believe that the basic King Arthur flours are so popular with our members for good reason. Except for the King Arthur cake flour, all of the King Arthur flours are non-bromated. They are also unbleached. And they generally have a higher protein level than competing brands. And since King Arthur has just about the tightest specs in the industry, if not the tightest, there is very little variation in their flours from bag to bag. My main criticism of King Arthur is that their prices to consumers are too high (for just about everything in their catalog), their shipping costs strike me as being too high (despite their claims to the contrary), and they don't seem to particularly care about satisfying the flour needs and wants of people such as ourselves on this forum. We apparently are too small a group to warrant greater attention. This is one of the reasons why I recommend that our members try whenever possible to locate 50-pound bags of the King Arthur flours through the King Arthur distribution system. The per-pound price differences are astonishing.

Peter
« Last Edit: March 26, 2006, 11:32:38 AM by Pete-zza »

Offline avecletemps

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Re: Data for flour- comparison between US and other brands?
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2006, 02:38:53 AM »
 :) Hi Henrik,

Quote : If you report 14.5 % protein in KASL @ 14% moisture, it would
convert to 16.9% if reported @ 0%. unquote.

A question, please! Can you please explain how did you come up with
a protein 16.9% on a 0% moisture basis using the KASL formula, Protein
14% m.b. = Protein % as is x (100 – 14) / (100 – Moisture Content.)

I had problems in converting the protein content of Italian flours(0% basis)
to 14% moisture basis but could not figure out how. Would appreciate your
advice.

Offline Henrik

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Re: Data for flour- comparison between US and other brands?
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2006, 02:57:54 AM »
Hi Avecletemps....

Let us make an example where we look at 100 g flour which has 14 % moisture content, and look at contents after drying the moisture away:
If you know there is 14.5 g protein in the mixture which also holds 14 g moisture and dry the moisture away, you still keep 14.5 gram protein but only in 100-14=86 g (moisture free) flour or dry matter.

14.5 gram protein of 86 grams in total is 14.5x100/86=16.9% (based on dry matter)

Kind regards
Henrik

Offline avecletemps

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Re: Data for flour- comparison between US and other brands?
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2006, 03:43:07 AM »
 :) Hi Henrik,

Thank you for the enlightment. I appreciate your advice.

Greetings from Korea.

Moon


 

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