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).


rockfish42's picture

Strangely King Arthur AP is 11.7% protein and has ~.5% ash content, I was really frustrated with the book until I read that section.

dghdctr's picture

Yes -- it can be confusing.

I can tell you what Jeffrey actually uses for most of his breads.  It's called King Arthur "Sir Galahad" at the commercial level (50# bags) but carries the simple King Arthur" All Purpose" label at the retail store level.  11.7% protein, and, more importantly, WINTER WHEAT, which can have good potential for extensibility.

Their "Bread Flour" at the retail store level is very strong spring wheat (12.7%), which is really too strong for good representations of most European breads.  I use it in place of HG flour for his rye mixture breads, because it is only 1 point lower in protein and still very strong.  Can't really use it for a good bagel, though, where the HG flour is crucial.

--Dan DiMuzio

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?

dghdctr's picture

They're just two different brand identities -- "All-Purpose" is used as the name in the consumer market and the "Sir Galahad" name has decades-old recognition in the professional market.

According to Tod Bramble (, who is KA's resident milling and grain expert, the flour is exactly the same under either brand name.


Dan DiMuzio

saraugie's picture

In fact, when one search's KAF's website and looks for S.G., the results come up with their AP both Organic and Regular......same-same

madhattie's picture

For specialty flours try New York Bakers:

Sir Galahad flour is listed with this description: KA markets this flour as All-Purpose Flour, but we think it's great for Euro-style bread too. If you want just one flour in your pantry, this is it.

Approximate analysis (14% moisture): Protein 11.7%, Ash 0.48%


Eddieoded's picture

i have been using Trumps 50121 high gluten flour for years. Excellent results. I lived next door to an Italian bakery in Brooklyn that was over 100 years old I'll using coal fired brick oven for baking. This was the flour they used. Last time I bought the 50 lb bag it was $18.00. You can get if from a restaurant supply store. Just check the yellow pages. I get mine from Maines on Davis Street in Scranton. Pa