Yikes. The differences in flour. I know many things have been written here about this topic, many of them about biscuits, but I have new twist that is really surprising.
Last week I made some AMAZING espresso shortbread. I got the basic recipe from BBC Good Food. It is simple. By weight, one part sugar, two parts butter, and three parts flour. I added instant espresso powder, vanilla extract, and a few drops of almond extract. The dough was lovely. I chilled it, rolled it out, cut it into fingers, and baked it. It was so amazing - it had a crispness that was unlike the typical mealyness of shortbread.
Last week I used salted Kerrygold butter and heritage flour. Today I decided to make some more. I softened the same butter, just like last week, I whipped it with the sugar, again just like last week, then added the flour. The dough never came together. The ONLY DIFFERENCE was I used King Arthur Flour instead of heritage flour.
I finally shoved the crumbs together into a lined quarter sheet pan and baked it. There was no way this was getting rolled out and cut. It cracked while baking. It's cooling right now and I'm sure it will be edible, but those beautiful fingers weren't going to happen. This is a problem I have encountered before, years ago, when attempting numerous times to make shortbread with "authentic" recipes.
Shortbread recipes from American sources have been fine, but didn't quite fit the bill.
Using this BBC recipe with heritage flour was very enlightening. I know the flour in Europe/UK is different from typical American flour. This shows that our heritage flour might be more like their typical flour.
I plan to repeat the recipe next week with the heritage flour again. If anyone expresses any interest, I'll post the results.
This makes my mind wander to other things like pizza....would heritage flour produce better results with that also? Too bad it's about six times the cost of Gold Medal.