Dusted Flour on Rolls or Bread

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 22 total)
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  • #27441
    Italiancook
    Participant

    Can someone tell me the purpose of dusting flour on top of rolls or bread before baking? I’ve seen pictures of baked rolls with white flour on the top, frequently. It makes no sense to me. I think it makes the product look unfinished. The whiteness detracts from the beauty of the browned roll or bread. It looks like it would taste gritty or texturally unpleasant. I’ve never experimented with dusting flour, so I don’t know for sure. I just know I’d never buy bread in a bakery that had white, raw-looking flour on top.

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    #27443
    Mike Nolan
    Keymaster

    I remember buying bakery breads that had a light dusting of flour on them.

    As I understand it, the flour affects how the crust forms, because it draws some of the moisture out of the surface.

    It can also be used for decorative effect.

    #27521
    aaronatthedoublef
    Participant

    Thanks Mike. In the bakery we dusted the tops with flour before going in the oven but I never asked why.

    I also dust my bread during its last rise so the plastic cover does not stick to it. Some of the flour invariably stays on after I take off the plastic.

    #27533
    Italiancook
    Participant

    When you eat baked bread or rolls with flour on top, what does the flour taste like? Is it like eating raw flour? Is it gritty? Dusty? Or, is there no difference in taste or texture as compared to the rest of the roll or bread?

    #27542
    Mike Nolan
    Keymaster

    There shouldn’t be enough of it for it to be an issue, but it doesn’t really taste raw. Sometimes if I get too much on, I’ll brush some off after the loaf cools, sometimes the excess just falls off as you’re slicing it.

    To be honest, I’d rather have a little loose flour on the loaf than a cornstarch slurry or Dutch crunch coat.

    #27545
    RiversideLen
    Participant

    When I make kaiser rolls with the stamp, I lightly flour the parchment and let the rolls rise upside down. The flour ensures the rolls can be turned over easily before baking. This process naturally leaves some flour on the top of the rolls but it is uneven. I don’t want any flour clumps so I take a soft pastry brush and brush it a little to even it out and remove any excess. I actually like the way it looks that way, gives it a little rustic look. I have had bread from a bakery that had a fairly heavy flour bottom and I do not care for that.

    #27547
    aaronatthedoublef
    Participant

    That’s a great idea Len! I always have clumps of flour on top. Thanks

    #27550
    BakerAunt
    Participant

    Thanks for the tip, Len. And thank you to Italian Cook for starting this discussion. Sometimes the simple things–a pastry brush to brush off excess flour–is the very thing we overlook. I once remarked to Cass that it is hard to turn over stamped buns. Use a spatula, he told me. Oh. Of, course.

    I recall a thread from the now defunct King Arthur Backing Circle (another KABC) in which a member–was it Karen Noll?–commented on a snowman bread that she makes and sprinkles before baking with flour in order to give the look of snow.

    #27658
    Italiancook
    Participant

    When I made butterhorn rolls today, I cut the dough into 4 pieces to roll out. By the time I reached the fourth section, I was careless. I put too much flour onto the pastry board. Some of my rolled butterhorns had flour on parts of them. I actually own only one pastry brush and it was in melted butter. I brushed away some of the flour with my fingers but there was still a noticeable amount left. When they baked, the flour was visible.

    I didn’t intend it as an experiment. But I welcomed the opportunity to bite into a floury section of the roll. The flour didn’t feel gritty, and it didn’t detract from the taste of the roll. Would I intentionally leave flour on a roll or bread? No. I think it makes the product look unfinished.

    #27662
    Mike Nolan
    Keymaster

    In a pinch, you can use a bit of loosely wadded up paper towel to brush off excess flour. But I’d be lost without my array of pastry brushes in a variety of materials, sizes and stiffness.

    #27666
    Italiancook
    Participant

    I agree, Mike, that having only one pastry brush is not preferable. I just don’t know where to buy good ones. I spent a small fortune on a 3″ brush from KABC, and that’s my only one. It works great brushing butter on the large circles for the butterhorn rolls. But for smaller projects, it’s too wide. Once, I went to a local cooking supply store looking for pastry brushes. They had some kind of rubbery brushes with spaces between the “bristles,” and rounds at the tips of the “bristles.” The clerk waxed eloquently about how wonderful they are. I bought only one, and it was annoying to use, so I threw it out. It didn’t hold liquid the way the clerk said it would. Maybe my New Year’s resolution will be to find more pastry brushes. It’s funny I have only one, because I’m well-stocked with other tools.

    #27669
    Mike Nolan
    Keymaster

    I have several silicone brushes, I find they work better for some tasks, like brushing on egg wash, than others, like brushing on melted butter. The one I use most is a really small one from Le Creuset.

    I have a really soft one that is ONLY used to brush excess flour off. I’ve been tempted to try my camera lens air blower (sometimes called a lens rocket because of the shape) for that, but if I do that I’ll probably buy one just for that purpose as I don’t want flour or oils anywhere near my lenses.

    I find using boar bristle brushes for oils and butter tends to stiffen them over time, and I have a couple that are probably past due for replacement.

    My theory with pastry brushes is you buy ’em when you find ’em. That applies to scrub brushes as well.

    The way I currently store them is in a round utensil caddy, that way the brushes themselves aren’t touching much of anything other than possibly each other.

    #27672
    Italiancook
    Participant

    That’s good info, Mike, that LeCreuset sells them. I hadn’t thought of using a paper towel to brush away the flour, but that would have worked. Thanks for the tip.

    #27679
    BakerAunt
    Participant

    I have a small silicone brush made by Zyliss that I bought from King Arthur a couple years ago. It works better than any silicone brush I have tried, maybe because it has a lot of “bristles,” and it’s easy to wash. (I put soap directly on it and rub it on, then rinse well.) I use it for egg washes and for brushing on oil. If KABC still sold it, I would buy a spare.

    #27683
    Italiancook
    Participant

    Here’s a silicone brush that KABC is currently selling: https://shop.kingarthurbaking.com/items/silicone-pastry-brush

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