Making The Soldiers Favorite Bread

Joined
Jun 7, 2021
A better name for the article below might be "A Short History of Flour," or "Making Good Bread. " I know a lot of us have read how grateful CW soldiers on both sides were when they could get "soft white bread." What I didn't know was that the process of making white flour wasn't perfected, according to this article, until the mid 1800s. And still the flour we have now isn't the flour they had then. I wonder how much that affects old recipes when we try to recreate them? The article also contains a whole lot other information, including how to check if plaster had been added to the flour to increase the weight and bulk (add vinegar to a bit of the flour- it will bubble)!

https://www.valleytable.com/vt-article/short-history-wheat
 

Fairfield

Sergeant Major
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
A friend who has been a pastry chef for many years is very picky about the flour she uses. When using white flour, she opts for "unbleached" (whereas I happily buy the less expensive "enriched"). I'll be seeing her later this week and I will ask about historic differences.

Come to think of it, my mother (who was a superb baker) used the same brand of "unbleached".

edit for spelling
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 7, 2021
A friend who has been a pastry chef for many years is very picky about the flour she uses. When using white flour, she opts for "unbleached" (whereas I happily buy the less expensive "enriched"). I'll be seeing her later this week and I will ask about historic differences.

Come to think of it, my mother (who was a suburb baker) used the same brand of "unbleached".
It will be very interesting to hear what they say. I may have to switch to unbleached. Bread making is my hobby. I make my own yeast 😁
 

Fairfield

Sergeant Major
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
I make my own yeast
Wow! That's impressive! I understand that it can be done--and when a friend groused about the shortage of yeast in this area of Maine over the winter, I told her about the site where I had seen the recipe. But she quailed at the thought of the work entailed and went back to wanting & grousing. 🙂
 

SandiD

Private
Joined
Aug 18, 2021
Location
Somewhere in the Hudson Valley
My Granny always said flour used was very important. She was an excellent cook.

It is. Bread flour is different from all-purpose is different from cake flour. Wheat varieties and the amount of gluten they contain play a big role in the way the flour behaves when baking

Hard flour = high gluten content; soft flour = low gluten content.

Hard red winter or spring wheat = good for bread.
Soft red winter = pretty all purpose, can be used for cookies, cakes, and bread.
Soft white = cakes and pastries.
Hard white = flat breads, whole wheat flour.
Hard Amber Durum = pasta, couscous. High gluten content. This is the "hardest" of all the wheat flours.

(I have a friend who farms wheat in North Dakota)
 

SandiD

Private
Joined
Aug 18, 2021
Location
Somewhere in the Hudson Valley
LOL I became a popular person during the yeast shortage last year. Our kids and their friends thought it was magic, but it's just nature... (and sugar and potatoes, etc.)
Or nature, sugar, water, and flour for sourdough starter.
My pastry chef friend and my late mother both used King Arthur. I, alas, use Brand-X. :frown:
I usually use King Arthur whole wheat flour because my market often doesn't have whole wheat flour from Gold Medal or Pillsbury in stock.
 
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