Bread flour for shortbread?

Recipes call for All Purpose, but I'm wondering if using bread flour
is better. I use bread flour for my banana quick breads and it turns
out better than using AP.
However, these shortbread recipes do call for chilling the dough, and
rolling it out...unlike banana bread.
Vox...anything on this?
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allpurpose. Wendy ----- Original Message ----- From: "baker1" Newsgroups: To: Sent: Sunday, October 30, 2005 9:07 PM Subject: Bread flour for shortbread?
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I think the term "bread" is what is muddying the waters here. Also there is no real consistency in AP flour. You many have a very high protein AP flour that is higher in protein than some bread flours. If there is a consistency, it would be within a line of products from the same manufacturer.
Personally, I find that AP flour is good for quick breads. These are products that are more like cakes than traditional yeast leavened bread. However, if your bread flour gives you the result that you like, that's all that counts.
Cookies may benefit from higher protein flour. It all depends on what characteristics you like. For short bread cookies, the higher protein flour would make them stronger. For soft, moist cookies, a lower protein flour would be better. I say give it a try.
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Vox Humana
Shortbread and banana bread are totally different animals. Shortbread isn't a "bread", not in the sense of a quick bread or a yeasted bread, anyway. It's a cookie.
My experience has been that actually, pastry flour works best - i.e. something with very low protein. High-protein flours (like bread flour) tend to make them too firm. In Scotland they're usually made with somewhat lower-protein flours.
If you don't have pastry flour readily available, I'd use AP instead of bread flour. However, again, AP is one of those terms that covers an enormous spectrum of protein contents, and varies both regionally and from brand to brand. Low-protein Southern USA AP flours would probably be best.
Reply to
Alex Rast
I'll put in a plug for reading Shirley Corriher's wonderful section on flour in _Cookwise: The Secrets of Cooking Revealed_ You should be able to find it in your library. Along with McGee she's a wonderful food science writer.
I was finding that my scone recipe was coming up really wet, and for a moment was perplexed. Then I realized that I'd switched flour, and deduced that clearly the bulk organic unbleached AP I used for the last two batches was lower protein than the King Arthur AP I'd previously been using. Shirley does a great job of laying out the information, in part explaining why it is some recipes "don't work". For example a biscuit recipe written by a southern cook using the low protein AP, 10.5 % Martha White, when made with a 12% Pillsbury or Gold Medal AP, will produce a dried up dough because of the absorption differences.
Anyway, I think her book is very useful and well worth reading. I've had it out of the libaray so many times, it's finally gone onto my holiday wish list this year.
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Very interesting. I'll take a look, because I agree that being somewhat off by only a few %'s can mess up a meal.
Thanks for the tip.
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When making bread, biscuits, and scones, and pie pastry I don't use a set measure of liquid. I only add what is needed to make a proper dough. I agree that Chorriher's book is a good read ( I own a copy), it is very hard to know what the percentage of gluten forming proteins is in any given brand of flour. Therefore, on a practical note it is important to realize that you don't have to add all the liquid specified in a recipe, but only the amount to make the consistency of dough you want.
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Vox Humana

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