A couple of weeks ago, we bought two kilos of bread flour in a baking supply store along Sucat Road in Parañaque. PhP45.00 per kilo, quality was good and the two kilos were used up in less than a week.
We replenished our supply but, this time, we bought from the baking supply store at the Antipolo wet market where bread flour is called “third class” to distinguish it from all-purpose flour “first class” and some hybrid of all-purpose flour and bread flour (“second class”). As crazy as it may sound, if you ask for bread flour at this Antipolo store, you’ll just get a blank stare. So, you say “first class, “second class” or “third class.”
As it turned out, the “third class” flour was coarser and denser that the bread flour that we’re used to. The bread we baked with the “third class” flour was great straight out of the oven but, less than twenty-four hours later, the bread was dry — inside.
I’m no flour expert but, obviously, flour quality differs. And, by quality, I don’t mean the kinds of flour. I mean the bread flour from one supplier may be inferior or superior to the bread flour of other suppliers.
I found three articles that outline the methods for testing the quality of flour.
Unfortunately, none of the three explains anything in terms simple enough for a home baker. So, we’ll take the more practical route — buy from baking supply stores where, from experience, we have bought better-quality flour in the past.