Friday, September 2, 2011

All Purpose Flour Test--King Arthur and General Mills Unbleached

As many of you know, I love King Arthur Flours.  I guess I just resonate with this brand, my dough recipes respond to it.

However, if I could use a less expensive unbleached flour, it could save me money.  Is there really a difference between King Arthur flour and less expensive Gold Medal unbleached flour?  I decided to put them to the test.  I made two batches of the AB5 challah dough:

I think the texture and color of the dough was slightly different after rising.  The King Arthur dough definitely rose higher in my warm sunroom!

Here's a closeup for the doughs, after rising.

The champ is King Arthur!!! 

I found some comments and other flour tests online.  Here is a comment from one test:
“Also I had tried GM AP a few years back. A friend brought it to me when I was teaching her my technique for cinnamon rolls. I almost curled up my nose. LOL. I went ahead and tried it again though, thinking well, it might be better. Wrong. KA is my favorite and what I tell my breadclasses to use.
One photograph is worth a thousand words. Well, here is a composite of 2 images. The baguette on the left was made with King Arthur flour. The baguette on the right was made with Gold Medal flour. My preference is for the baguette on the left made with King Arthur flour. It had a better chew to it. What's a baguette if it doesn't have some chew? I also liked the slightly better flavor - as opposed to very little flavor with the Gold Medal baguette. Then there is the gas bubble formation. Again I liked the larger holes in the KA baguette. Toast? Glad you asked. Again, the KA baguette was the winner.
Both baguettes were made with the same amount of dough."

I posted the last picture on the King Arthur flour Facebook page.  They were very appreciative, and said it's a "great go-to photo."

By the way, I tried both General Mills' "Better for Bread" and Unbleached Flour.  I actually preferred the Unbleached Flour to their "Better for Bread" flour.

The King triumphs over the General!!  :)

Thanks so much for stopping by!



  1. Interesting. King Arthur is twice the price where I purchase my flour. This was my experience. I have made lemon bars every year for the past twenty years. They are one of the desserts for our Easter dinner. I love the recipe because it's easy and because it always comes out perfectly. Have always used Gold Medal all purpose flour
    This past Easter, I used King Arthur all purpose flour. The pastry crust was crumbly and didn't hold together. Bars should be able to be eaten with the fingers. The filling was so runny that it ran off of the bars. I made those bars with my grandchildren on Good Friday. On Saturday, I made a second batch of the bars thinking that maybe it was my daughter's oven that caused the problem. Same results in my kitchen. I followed the recipe exactly as I always had every year. I used King Arthur all purpose flour, however. No more. Back to the trusty old General Mills for me. Perhaps the King Arthur works for bread. I'll keep that in mind. But, when it comes to baking recipes that have been stand bys for years, I'll stick to the stand by flour.

    1. That makes sense to me. King Arthur flour is better for breads, and your lemon bars are a pastry. You would want lower protein for your pastries, and King Arthur flour is higher in protein than Gold Medal.

      I don't use King Arthur Flour for pastry. My choice, if you can get it, would be White Lily all purpose flour. It's the lowest of protein.

      I'd suggest checking the nutritional labels of the flours to get the protein content of the flour for the purpose you need.

      Happy Baking!

    2. Use Gold Medal for pastries and King Arthur for things that need to rise, particularly heavier breads.

  2. I agree with you. King Arthur is best for breads. I would use bleached flour, such as General Mills, for pastry and bars.

    I'm sorry it took so long to get back to this page. I was busy baking.....

  3. I read somewhere that KA AP flour has a higher protein content vs GM's. Thus, KA AP flour will need more liquid to hold it together. Do you bake with volume or weight?

    1. Yes, the label does say that the protein is higher. Also, I called Gold Medal. They use a combination of hard winter wheat and the softer spring wheat. King Arthur is all hard winter wheat, with a higher protein content. I do need to adjust my recipes to add more water when using King Arthur.

      I bake by weight, except when measuring small amounts.--yeast and salt, for example.

      Happy Baking, Kayenne!