It was Flour Day today, where we learned everything we possibly could about the main ingredient in your bread. Everything from the different types of wheat and their properties to the different type of flours that can be milled and their properties. I've been doing a lot of reading on this topic (Maggie Glezer's book explains it very well) but it sure helped to talk about this with a knowledgeable chef and instructor.
Whereas yesterday we took the same ingredients and varied the mixing technique, today we kept the exact same mixing technique and only varied the flour. Our standard artisan bread flour vs. high gluten flour. The comparison is especially relevant for me because Canadians primarily grow Hard Red Spring Wheat which is used in high gluten flour. So therefore, most Canadian 'best for bread' flours have a much higher protein content than American artisan bread. High gluten flour is great for machined bread, but the extra protein provides some challenges for the artisan baker since the dough doesn't tolerate longer fermentations. This usually results in slightly larger, rounder loaves but with a less complex flavour.
Today, the theory stood up to the practical test. The high gluten flour resulted in a rounder baguette with a chewier crust and smaller "ears" and a flatter taste.
Now I'm off to contact my local miller to better understand the data on his flour and see if I can get locally milled 'artisan' flour.