The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hamelman's "Bread Flour" vs "High-Gluten Flour"

DarkNova's picture

Hamelman's "Bread Flour" vs "High-Gluten Flour"

I've been reading Hamelman's "Bread" book and am seeing that many of his recipies call for "Bread Flour", some for "High-Gluten Flour", and some for both. Since my local market calls their flour "High-Gluten Bread Flour", I'm not exactly sure what I should be using if his recipe calls for "Bread Flour". Does anyone know what protein content he means by "Bread Flour"? I cannot find that in the book. The flours I have in my cupboard now are Gold Medal All-Purpose Unbleached, which I believe to be about 10.5% protein, and Gold Medal Bread Flour, which I believe to be about 11.8% protein. These numbers may be wrong though as that is just what I could find on forums. I've also seen a flour at my market called "ConAgra Mills King Midas Special" which was labeled as an all-purpose flour but I've read that it is 12.6% protein. Any opinions for what I should be using for Hamelman's recipes? Thanks.

JoeVa's picture

For "bread flour" look at page 145 "Flour Choice" (winter wheat 11.5-12% proteins, ash 0.5%) and page 372 (W 250-375, P/L 0.7).


davidg618's picture

I recently attended a four-day baking class at King Arthur Flour's baking center. We used all purpose flour in every formula. I've also read, although I can't remember where, that "bread flour" in Hamelman's Bread should be read "KA all purpose flour".

On a personal note, both my wife and I like bread with a chewy crumb, bread that pushes back a little when bitten. I've experimented with KA Bread Flour and KA All Purpose flour. We've settled on sourdough loaves made with equal amounts of KA Bread and KA AP flour. For baguettes and pain rustique (a favorite) we use KA AP exclusively.

David G

mrfrost's picture

I think the fact that almost all of KA's own recipes for breads call for their all pupose flour speaks enough for what kind of flour KAAP is; bead flour. Of course KA, as any other company, is free to market their products the way they see fit.

DarkNova's picture

Interesting, although a little confusing. My local market doesn't have KA flour and I'd rather not buy it by mail order when I can get other flours locally. Two that I've seen are ConAgra Mills King Midas Special and Wheat Montana Natural White Bread Flour. Does anyone have any knowledge or experience as to how these flours compare? Thanks.

pmccool's picture

This flour is equivalent to what most other producers would label a high-protein bread flour.  I don't recall the exact protein percentage, but think it may be north of 13%.

Mark Sinclair uses it for everything from danish to baguettes to hearth breads at his Back Home Bakery.  The pastries are tender and flaky, which may seem counter-intuitive with a high-protein flour.  The baguette dough is extensible and the hearth breads are robust.  I think that unless one is trying to make bagels out of cake flour, technique and skill trump the protein content.

Can't say how it compares to KA or ConAgra flours you mention, since I haven't used either of those.


wally's picture

According to James MacGuire who wrote a review of "Bread" when it was first published - and who has been a close friend of Hamelman's for many years - the use of the phrase "bread flour" through Jeffrey's book was made by editorial staff at the publisher, who didn't realize that it could also be read as a specific type of flour with a high protein level that, as Dan DiMuzio points out, doesn't make it a good choice for most hearth breads.

When I took a course on classic french breads last summer at KAF, we indeed used Sir Galahad as Dan noted, which they retail market as all-purpose.

So any unbleached AP flour should do when he calls for "bread flour."


JerryW's picture

I'm not sure I agree with Larry's conclusion that "any unbleached AP flour should do".  Surely it depends on the protein level in the AP flour?  KA AP flour's 11.7% makes it as strong as some other brands' bread flours and in the range that Hamelman mentions on p. 145.  But other brands of AP flour aren't as strong, so don't qualify.


wally's picture

You're absolutely correct.  That was a throwaway line that should be tossed.

salma's picture

Does anyone in the New Jersey area know where to buy specialty flours?  The only flours I come across in all my supermarkets, that are mentioned here, are KA  A/P, Bread, W/W and WWW.  I have never seen Sir Galahad.  I find rye flour but have never seen pumpernickle.  Is there a difference between these two?