If you are one of those people who love to watch cooking shows and you live here in Salt Lake City, you hear a lot about soft southern wheat and how it makes the best bread. Often chef/hosts make specific recommendations, and those recommendations regularly include King Arthur Flour. Out West, it can be hard to find and pricey, and the question is is it worth it?
According to the King Arthur Company, their flours are American grown non-GMO, and are carefully “made to the highest standards in the industry.” They argue if you’re going to take the time to bake, you want it to be the best. Each of their flours is carefully ground for specific uses, from basic baking, tender cakes, and sturdy breads that use yeast.
How different can it be? Is ignorance truly bliss? This Christmas, a dear friend of mine’s husband (who is the kind of guy who can cook anything and do it very well) decided it was time for me to experience the difference. He got online and ordered me Soft White Bread and Roll Mix as well as a box of their dog biscuit mix.
This morning I decided to take the time for a couple of bread risings and pull together that box of bread mix that had been calling to me for nearly a month. All you need is a little soft butter and some warm water. You can mix and knead it by hand but I threw it in the KitchenAid and in five minutes, it was ready for the first rise.
About ninety minutes later, I placed the formed dough in a loaf pan and let it rise once more as directed. A moderate oven and 35 minutes later: Bread.
Yes, it was easy and convenient. A little on the sweet side, it had a very even and light texture - different from most of the bread I made in the past. Almost like cake. But at $4.95 before shipping, it made a lovely gift but there are better $5 loaves of bread out there. I do think I’ll invest in a bag of their bread flour when I see it locally, and give it try when making Focaccia, quick breads, and favorite white loaf. As for the dog biscuits - Jimmie is very particular. There was a cute Pointer cookie cutter tied to the ribbon. That ought to do the trick!
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Source: King Arthur Flour
In the mixer
Instead of proofing the yeast, mixing and kneading by hand, put everything in a heavy duty stand mixer if you have one. If you don’t, mix with a wooden spoon until the dough is manageable - it will be quite wet. Knead on the counter according to package directions until the dough ball is smooth. This can take up to 10 minutes.
Knead the dough
Here’s the beauty of the mixer. In less than five minutes you have perfectly kneaded bread dough. Some say you should finish the process by hand and you can if you want to. That just means you’ll need very clean counter space and then you’ll have to clean up another mess when you’re finished.
In the pan
After the first rise in a lightly greased and covered bowl, form the loaf and put it in a lightly greased loaf pan for the second rise. Be sure to cover the dough with plastic wrap to avoid dry, crusty bits. Once it’s filled the pan, you are ready to bake!