The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Flour FAQ

Flour FAQ

Can I substitute some (or all) of the white flour in this recipe with whole wheat flour?

Yes, always.

If you want to keep the characteristics of the original recipe but just have a little more whole grain flavor, I recommend starting by substituting no more than 25% of the white flour (by weight) with whole grain flour.  if that isn't sufficiently whole grainy for you, you can add more next time.

What should I expect if I do substitute whole wheat flour for white flour?

It certainly is harder to get a fluffy, light loaf when you use whole wheat flour, so expect it to be denser. The bran in the flour also works likes little razor blades, cutting through the gluten strands, so don't expect to get as open a crumb.  

What is the difference between bread flour and all-purpose flour?

Bread flour (also known as strong flour) is higher in protein than regular all-purpose flour. Using it can lead to better gluten development, but it also creates a tougher dough.

And soft flour? Cake flour? Type 55 flour? 

Soft flour is close to what is called cake flour in the United States. It is lower in protein and creates a softer, crumbly crumb.  It doesn't tend to be strong enough for most bread recipes, though it is great for cakes and quick breads.

Type 55 flour, which is often used for French baguettes, is fairly close to American all-purpose flour.


ejm's picture

in re: What is the difference between bread flour and all-purpose flour?

I am in Canada; the unbleached allpurpose flour I use is 11.52% protein. I seem to recall reading somewhere that protein levels on allpurpose flour in the US can vary from state to state.

I made bread using "allpurpose" wholewheat flour at around 11.52% and it just didn't rise all that well.. I now use is whole wheat flour that is around 14% protein (I believe that is closer to "bread flour"?)

Canadian cake and pastry flour is around 9%??? protein. (I don't have any cake flour so can't check.)

I have read that it is much better to use unbleached flour but know from experience that bleached flour can be used to make good bread. However, I suspect that if bread made with unbleached flour and bread made with bleached flour were tasted side by side, the unbleached flour bread would be superior.


P.S. I was interested to read the following in wikipedia

In biscuit manufacturing, chlorination of flour is used to control the spread – treated flour reduces the spread and provides a tighter surface

(excerpt from Wikipedia: flour bleaching agent)

As far as I know, chlorination in flour is disallowed in Europe....



LindyD's picture

When I looked at the map to see what all the fuss was about, I noticed that it appears my state (Michigan) is making a lewd gesture.  Naughty graphics person, whoever it was.