Sourdough Home

“… no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation … will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.”

— M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating

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Welcome To The Safeway Unbleached Flour Flour Test
Part of the
Big Flour Test

Please note - we are not connected with any flour vendor mentioned on this web site. We can't tell you where to find any of these flours outside our own home town, and we have no idea why the vendor discontinued your favorite flour, or why your favorite recipe is no longer on the back of the package. And now... here's the review of this flour.....

Where we bought it: Safeway, Gunnison, Colorado

What we paid for it: $0.89 for 5 lbs in 2002

Protein content: 10%

Interesting Vendor Story: Nah... it's Safeway, formerly the largest food retailer in the world.

Our first impressions: We weren't too sure about a house brand flour, especially since it is enriched and pre-sifted, but felt we should test it - after all, we've tested some screaming unknown flours. We were pleased to find that it handled very nicely, and we were quite enthusiastic about the flour once we started using it. We noted that the flour felt wetter at the same hydration than most of the flours we have tested.

Any special reason we're testing this flour: It's quite likely that you can buy this flour near you if you're in the USA, and perhaps elsewhere as well. We like testing flours that visitors to our web page can actually purchase.

How'd we screw up the tests this time? Yet again we made the Rye dough a bit too dry. You'd think we'd learn....

Conclusions: We liked the way this flour handled, it rose well, and stayed fairly moist. We'd have liked it better if it were more tasty. Still, for the price, it's hard to complain.

The Breads
Safeway Unbleached All Purpose Family Portrait

Bohemian Rye The Bohemian Rye caused me to kick myself again. The dough was a bit dry, so we had crust separation. As often as I've made this bread, you'd think I'd learn. *sigh* Despite this, it was a very nice loaf, with a nice caraway/rye aroma. The crust was thick and chewy, with a nice touch of caramel notes. All in all, a very nice crust for this bread. The crumb was a bit too tight, with irregular small to medium sized holes. The taste delivered what the smell promised with a nice caraway/rye taste with some sour. The wheat flour nicely got out of the way of the rye, while being strong enough to hold the loaf together. The crust was just awesome, and the crumb was very, very nice.

Ciabatta is a favorite of ours because it's a fun bread. Rip it apart, dip it in olive oil, and enjoy! When it's good it's great, and when it's not very good, it's still fun. This was a very nice Ciabatta. The aroma had a very nice sour tone to it. It was somewhat unusual that the Ciabatta had more sour in its aroma than either the Simple Sourdough Pan Bread or the Three Stage French Bread. The crust was lightly browned, thin, and somewhat crisp - just the way we like our Ciabatta. The crumb shared the sour, offering a lightly sour taste that went very well with the olive oil, pepper and red wine vinegar dip we used. In the end, it was a very nice loaf, though not a spectacular one.

The Simple Sourdough Pan Bread started out with an appealing, though very mild, sour and wheaty aroma. It built on that with a nicely browned crust, which is not entirely common for this bread due to its long rising time which tends to use up the sugars in the dough. The crust was crisp and thin, with relatively little taste. The crumb was nice and springy with small to medium sized irregular holes. The crumb was, again, relatively mild (or bland) with little wheat or sour taste. It was a pretty bread that rose well, but wasn't terribly exciting beyond its appearance.

Our Three Stage French bread, or Pain au Levain, is usually interesting, though rarely very sour. This loaf is no exception. It surprised us by having a relatively minimal rise followed by a strong oven-spring, which is very unusual for this recipe. The bread had a wheaty with slightly sour aroma. The crust was nicely browned, chewy and thick. The crumb was very tight with small holes. The taste of the crumb delivered what the aroma promised, as usually happens. A first taste of wheat followed by a mild sour taste. While this loaf wasn't as sour as some other loaves made with other flours, it was quite pleasant.

Hydration Pictures  As discussed, we took pictures at 60, 80, and 100% hydration. The Safeway Unbleached flour felt moister at the same hydration levels than most other flours. Even at 60% hydration, we had no trouble sealing seams. This will give the beginning baker a bit more latitude on hydration than other flours, allowing a good rise even when too much flour is kneaded in.

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