I often had the problem to find flours with the strength I needed. Here, the all-purpose is the dominant flour, although pastry and bread flours are available as well. However, I found difficult to find very week or super strong flours, as the Manitoba type*.
If you are in the same situation, I have some good news: flours can be strengthened or weakened as needed. Last year, I tried to strengthen my all-purpose flour to make panettone and I have kept using this trick when I have to prepare some heavy baking product.
All you need is:
- Gluten flour: it contains about 72% of proteins, it can be used for strengthening.
- Potato or corn starch: it is gluten-free, it can be used for weakening.
Let’s say you have 1 Kg of flour with 12% proteins and you need 1 Kg with 10%. We can now set the following proportion:
By solving that, we obtain 0.83 Kg or 830 g. This is the amount of flour with 12% to be weakened. To that amount, we must add 170 g of starch to reach 1 Kg.
When it comes to strengthening, the story is a bit more complicated, sorry! Given that gluten flour contains about 72% of proteins, we must consider the non-protein portion. Long story short, we need a 2-equations system. For instance, for the recipe of panettone I needed 1125 g of flour with 15% proteins and I had an all-purpose with 13.3%:
By solving the system, we obtain x and y, namely the grams of all-purpose and gluten flour to mix, respectively. In my case, I added 33 g of gluten flour to 1092 g of all-purpose.
I realized this post became more nerdy than planned. But I promise, I will set a calculator (just give me time…I am not so coding-friendly :P) so that you do not have to get crazy to achieve the right strength :)
See you on Thursday, with the usual recipe!
*In Europe, or at least in Italy, Manitoba is a type of flour with high strength (about 15% of proteins)