|King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour|
*Note: If you've arrived at this post via a link within a recipe calling for King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, I want you to know that you can use ANY all-purpose flour in most of those recipes, particularly cookie recipes. If you're going to be making any of the bread or pastry recipes, though, I highly recommend investing in a bag of King Arthur. Read on to see my rationale.
I used to think that people who used King Arthur Flour (KAF) were rich snobs. I mean, I've seen it priced as high as $6.99 for a five pound bag. I have found it a couple of places for under $4.00, so it actually is affordable for me. Even Cook's Illustrated recommends this flour, so I should have clued in sooner. It wasn't until I moved to Iowa, though, and I started entering the Iowa State Fair food competitions that I even TRIED King Arthur Flour. They have two King Arthur Flour competitions at the Iowa State Fair: Yeast Breads and Yeast Rolls. You have to provide proof of purchase, so I bought the flour. Up until then I had used Pillsbury Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, and it worked fine for me, even when making things like soft pretzels and breads.
Once I started using the KAF, I started getting used to the results. Then one time I saw Gold Medal Flour on sale at SuperTarget, and I bought some. I was shocked when I tried to make soft pretzels with the Gold Medal Flour. I couldn't even roll out the dough to form the pretzels because it kept breaking on me. I got rid of the rest of THAT bag, and went back to the KAF.
Besides making breads with better texture and crumb, the KAF, I think, adds a tenderness to everything else I bake, from cookies to croissants, to pizza crusts. It really does just create a better product.
I'm not sure what they do to it to make it better, but just the flour itself seems to be milled a little finer and has a lighter feel to it than other flours right out of the bag.
If you've never tried it, just try it once with your favorite recipe calling for flour and see if you notice a difference. It's an experiment worth two or three extra dollars. Trust me. I wouldn't lead you astray. Not about this.