07 February, 2009

Bob's Red Mill

No, I do not own a red mill. If I did own one, I would probably not be here blogging, because I would be busy sorting through grains in the silo out back. But what I do own is Bob's Red Mill flour. And what I have found is that there MAY be a reason why it is more expensive than other flours. As I think I told you, I have been using my new bread machine for a variety of purposes, most of which involve the preparation of dough and breads. One of my favorite things to do with it has been making pizza dough. The funny thing about pizza dough is that it is not trivial for the process to be consistent. And the reason for this is that making dough is not like baking a cake. And it's not like making a grilled cheese. Making dough is a process that involves the biology of the pesky eukaryote, Saccharomyces ceriviseae. I am about 50% sure I have spelled that incorrectly, but damn it, I am close!

And any time you involve biological creatures in your activities, whether they be dogs, cats, humans, or yeast, you are asking for a wild ride.

I have made pizza dough three times with my bread machine. Twice it has come out quite good. And the third time, I feel, it has come out quite below the standard that I would like to have. And given that I am now using a bread machine, and weighing and measuring ingredients quite accurately, I am inclined to blame the variations on the ingredients, if possible, rather than the process. And the third batch had one thing that was different from the first 2 batches.  The flour.

The first two times I made dough, I used Bob's Red Mill flour, which is an unbleached bread flour, that is advertised as "excellent for bread machines". The third time, on a whim, I decided to use King Arthur's All-Purpose flour. And the dough sucks. It has less flavor, it did not seem to want to cook well on the bottom, and it just doesn't have the chutzpah that I think pizza dough should have.

So, I say to thee, King Arthur, please get thee to hell, or at least out of mine kitchen.

Of course, the real test is to now go back to the Red Mill, and see if the 4th time is the charm, because that would really seal the deal for me. But I need someone to come over for pizza...

Any takers?


  1. Hey Mick - I think probably a graceful exit from your kitchen would be better than a trip to Hell... However, perhaps you'd like to try a test with our bread flour, rather than AP, since your successful batches of dough were made with Bob's bread flour. That extra percentage point of protein might just add the chutzpah you're looking for. Thanks for inviting us into your kitchen, and I hope we don't get thrown out (or banished to the fiery flames) without a bread flour test... PJ Hamel, King Arthur Flour baker/blogger


    ...I could have told you Bob's was superior. Although I don't think King Arthur is THAT bad. But it's definitely not as good as Bob's.

    Incidentally, it's cerevisiae.

  3. PJH, thank you for your comment, and for finding my feedback in the blogosphere. I continue to be amazed that corporations pay attention to what is written in these pages. With respect to the flour, I will definitely give King Arthur Bread Flour a try *if* I can find it. Not sure if they carry anything but the All-Purpose at Safeway. There are a few supermarket chains here in Seattle though, and I am always interested in a good experiment. So I will take a look around for it.

    I suspect that you are aware that any wishes for Arthur's demise were purely in jest. Or is that, in "joust"?

  4. There should be a field trip to Oregon sometime for the purpose of investigating this further.