Sorry for digging up an old posts, but couldn't see the use in creating a new one to further discuss pretty much the same topic.
I have recently come into the possession of a couple different high gluten flours from General Mills:
- Supreme 58353 (13.6% Protein, 14.0% Moist, 0.54% Ash, Non-bromated, Bleached, Ascorbic Acid, Enriched, Malted)
- All Trumps 50143 (14.2% Protein, 14.0% Moist, 0.54% Ash, Non-bromated, Enriched, Malted)
- King Kaiser 54472 (14.2% Protein, 14.0% Moist, 0.54% Ash, Non-bromated, Bleached, Ascorbic Acid, Enriched, Malted)
The key differences are:
PROTEIN: The dominant proteins found in wheat flour are glutenin and gliadin which, when combined, form gluten. See GLUTEN.
GLUTEN: An elastic, rubbery substance that results when certain proteins in flour, namely glutenin and gliadin, are combined with a liquid (usually water) and mixed together. Prior to this combination the gluten does not exist. When the gluten in dough is properly kneaded, a strong and highly developed gluten network forms that has a honeycomb-like structure which traps gases (i.e., carbon dioxide) produced during fermentation. As the gases are produced in quantity, the gluten structure expands, causing the dough to rise.
Flour that is bleached naturally as it ages is labeled "unbleached," while chemically treated flour is labeled "bleached." Bleached flour has less protein than unbleached. Bleached is best for pie crusts, cookies, quick breads, pancakes and waffles. Use unbleached flour for yeast breads, Danish pastry, puff pastry, strudel, Yorkshire pudding, éclairs, cream puffs and popovers.
ASCORBIC ACID: An organic acid more commonly known as Vitamin C and commonly used as an additive for flour and also for instant dry yeast (IDY), and sometimes with active dry yeast (ADY). When added to flour, it acts as an oxidizing agent (by virtue of acting with atmospheric oxygen), which makes it easier to form the gluten network (by preventing the gluten bonds from breaking down) during kneading of the dough. When used with yeast, it acts as a nutrient and provides an acidic environment for the yeast so that it acts faster and longer.
The protein difference I believe is understood, and which I do not have any immediate questions.
The bleaching I believe is basically a cosmetic issue, and may reduce the amount of proteins in the flour, but then the final protein count is generally listed by the supplier anyways and in the above example the bleached KK vs unbleached AT are the same protein count. So unless I'm grossly missing something here, I have no questions. (As an aside, I wonder when California is going to ban bleached flour like it has bormated flour, silly link
The Ascorbic Acid is what I am least sure about. I know it may promote yeast health by creating a more acidic environment, but if one uses SAF Instant Yeast (like I do at the moment) which also contains Ascorbic Acid, I'm guessing no additional benefit is had. Meaning I'm already seeing any benefit that Ascorbic Acid is doing, and the fact that it's in the flour as will means nothing. I am curious though whether there are any other factors like taste, browning, etc that anyone knows about that might weigh into a decisions on which flour to go with.