"The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land."
-Abraham Lincoln

Cake Flour vs. Bread Flour

Ever wonder if what type of flour you use really matters? 

The above loaf of bread  was accidentally made with cake flour.  See, I buy my flour in bulk and keep it in the bags in a metal trash can (clean, of course) with a tight fitting lid.  When it was time to make bread this week I figured that I had plenty of flour in the can and I was right.  I still had at least half of a 50lb bag.  Without looking at the label I reached in and filled my flour canister and went about making the bread.  It wasn't until the first rising stage that I got a notion something may be wrong but I figured it was just not quite warm enough in the house since it is fall and it had risen some so I figured we'd just make do with a slightly more dense than normal loaf. 

Turns out it wasn't the loaf that was dense.  It was me.  When I pulled it out of the oven, instead of a nice, normal, slightly browned, light and fluffy loaf of bread I got that white rock in the picture. I had completely forgotten that I had cake flour at all and had just assumed that the flour I had grabbed was either the all purpose flour or the bread flour either or which would have been fine.  These loaves didn't just look terrible, they tasted terrible.  The only ones who would eat them were the dogs and I don't think they were really thrilled with it.

Now, after spending nearly 3 hours making bread the last thing I wanted to do was have to start all over but that's what I get for not being diligent in the first place. With the second set of loaves I made sure I had bread flour not cake flour. 
Now, this is what bread should look like (ignoring the poor quality of the image, of course).  Brown, not white.  Fluffy, not rock hard.  Nice loaf shape, not whatever that other thing was.  So now we all know that the flour you use makes a definite difference.