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I live in Germany, and all the flour here is made from soft winter wheat. I can get some durum semolina imported from Italy and sold as "hardwheat flour" (Hartweizenmehl), and that's about it. But most of the ressources on bred baking I read are of American origin, and they are all optimized for American style bread flour, made from the endosperm of spring wheat.

Is there a source within the Schengen zone which produces high-gluten flour and ships it to Germany? I think I read a comment somewhere on the site that Sweden has such flour, so maybe there is a producer who ships to Germany there. But I don't speak Swedish, so I can't research that. But I don't care if it comes from Sweden or another country, as long as I don't have to pay import taxes.

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I'd just buy a few German books on bread baking from Amazon or a decent bookstore. Much cheaper in the end as compared to importing quantities of foreign raw materials. –  jwenting Jul 12 '11 at 12:10
    
@jwenting I would do this if I was frequently baking bread. But what I want is to sometimes reproduce a bread which I can't get at the baker's, or just follow a lovely sounding recipe which was tweaked just right with great care and lots of experimentation. I won't stop using German flour with different recipes. –  rumtscho Jul 12 '11 at 18:57
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6 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The UK has the right bread making flour in its supermarkets. I'd think that the UK has the closest to American style breads. Though it is outside of the Schengen zone, they do speak English and should be able to send you some. Try some companies such as Graig Farm, Wessex Mill, FWP Matthews or Flourbin.

These websites probably won't list delivery to Germany online however you can try telephoning them and see what other delivery options they have. The Wessexmill does list a retailer in Switzerland with there product.

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OK, it turned out that I can get it from Amazon.uk. The shipping price is high, but I think I can afford it occasionally. –  rumtscho Aug 11 '11 at 6:54
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The canonical bread flour is France's Type 55, which should be roughly equivalent to German type 550. Both are defined by ash content, with the German measures being 10x the French ones. Now, the King Arthur Flour website lists 11.5% protein content for their equivalent of French Type 55 flour. So, I'm thinking you want a higher-gluten German type 550... which should be obtainable if you can find protein information for your national brands. If I were dead set on matching French T55, I would experiment with adding small amounts of vital wheat gluten to German Type 550 to get equivalent protein content.

American bread flour is slightly different. It is a paler flour with 12-15% protein content. To duplicate the strength of this, you want German flour type 812, possibly with a little type 1050 or Dinkel Mehl 630 added for extra strength. For a less whole-wheat flavor, use type 550 or even type 405 plus vital wheat gluten.

The breakdown on german flour types is:

  • American Cake/pastry flour = German type 405, 8-10% gluten
  • American All-Purpose flour = German type 550, 9-11% gluten.
  • American Bread flour = German type 812, 11-13% gluten. Dinkel Mehl 630 may be in this range too (I find a note that it is commonly used in bread and has a high gluten level)
  • American High-gluten flour = German type 1050, 13-14.5% gluten
  • Whole wheat flour = type 1600
  • Rye flour, type 1150

Frankly, I'd find a bakery that makes a baguette like you want, and ask which brand and type of flour they use for their baguettes. Bakers like to talk about their work, and they'll probably be more than happy to tell you.

Source: http://www.germanfoodguide.com/flours.cfm

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As discussed in chat, using 812 type flour won't help, because I want a soft bread, like a baguette, and 812 is halfway between white flour and whole wheat flour. Still worth a +1, but not the answer I was looking for. –  rumtscho Jul 12 '11 at 18:55
    
I didn't get around to editing that part after the chat... and to be honest, I still think type 812 would produce a good baguette, assuming it was handled carefully (and possibly mixed with a little type 550). –  BobMcGee Jul 13 '11 at 5:06
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If you can find vital wheat gluten, you can mix that with your soft wheat flour to approximate a higher-protein bread flour.

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This is my fallback option, but I am reluctant. A wheat starch granule is 5 - 10 μm, a flour particle up to 100 μm. This means the starch won't be evenly mixed with the gluten. A prolonged kneading will probably help, but won't be as good as the normal solution, and it is too tedious anyway (I knead by hand). –  rumtscho Jul 11 '11 at 10:43
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Maybe a bit off topic, but Schengen has nothing to do with taxes and customs.

Scheneng is only for passports and visas.

As long as you buy from another EU country, you don't need to pay any taxes, regardless if it's a Schengen country or not!

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I'd just look for a flour with the right gluten / protein percentage or special bakers flour. I talked with a quality baker in Amsterdam and she imports flour from France, I don't know which flour, though.

Sorry for the poor answer :(

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I bake American/Canadian breads in France for my Paris-based bakery (www.ParisBread.com), and I use T65 flour (very soft flour, but slightly more strength than the standard T55). I add 14 g of gluten per batch of dough (i.e. 2 tablespoons of gluten per 3 cups of flour). I also have to increase the amount of flour to be 140 g per US cup as listed in a recipe, instead of the 120 g per cup that all purpose flour in the US would normally yield. The end result is bread that is BETTER than the US versions of the same. They rise nicely, stay fresh a long time, and sell quickly!

To summarize, take the US recipe, and using the soft flour, use 140 g of flour to replace each cup requested, and add 2 tablespoons of gluten (14 g) per batch of dough. I can find gluten easily in France in the health food stores (such as Naturalia or Bio-Coop), and I buy my T65 flour from Dia (or Ed) for about 1,10 per kilo. Email me for more specifics if you like, shelley@parisbread.com

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