The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread flour-All purpose flour

Thaichef's picture

Bread flour-All purpose flour

Hello all:

   I am going to make Classic French Bread(which I made it many times and love it). I don't have bread flour on hands at the moment but I do have 20 lb. bag of the unbleached -un-bromated King Arthur All purpose flour.

Question: Can I use the All purpose flour instead of Bread flour in the recipe? What is the making of bread flour anyway?

Thank you.


dabrownman's picture

is made with lower gluten flour and KA AP should be more than adequate to make it.

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

King Arthur AP flour is, for all intents and purposes, bread flour, @11.7% protein.  GM and Pillsbury bread flour (NOT AP) are both about 12% (nominally, the actual amount can vary signficantly up to 2% for Pillsbury and GM won't say, KAF only varies by 0.2% max).  Since high protein flour is often more expensive than lower protein flours, I usually consider that 12% to be a max and not a midpoint.  In practice, Pillsbury and KAF AP usually perform about equally for me.  I have not tried GM's bread flour.  I believe the Pillsbury bread flour is unbleached and no retail-level (packaged for the home consumer in 5 lb bags or less) flour made in the USA is bromated any more, at least none of the national brands like GM or Pillsbury.

suave's picture

GM won't say

It's a well known fact that the flour GM sells under the name "Better for Bread" is actually Harvest King, and detailed specs for Harvest King are readily available.



Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

What GM won't say is the TOLERANCE for their flour.  And I say they "won't say" because I have called and e-mailed on more than one occassion and - they won't say.  They'll give me other specs, which as you say may be published under another flour name, but the tolerance for the protein content is not listed anywhere I've ever been able to find it.  I would be glad to have that information, if you have it - post a link?

If it's a "well known" fact that GM bread flour is the same as Harvest King, it's apparently not well known at GM, because I was told it was NOT the same as any of their bulk flours.  Wouldn't be the first time I'd been told something wrong though ...

suave's picture

When "Better for Bread" first appeared the bags actually said "Harvest King".   12 +/- 0.2%.  That's the huge advantage of GM - they have just 6 or 7 mills, so their flours are quite uniform.  All BFB, for example, comes from KC, so it's the same flour wherever you buy it.  With Pillsbury you have no idea who makes it.  Horizon?  Conagra?  ADM?  Any of the three depending on the region? 

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

They only list protein content and not the tolerance.  I've not tried to e-mail the "professional bakers" side of the company yet - when I'm feeling better I'll try to contact them and see if I can get confirmation of both the tolerance and whether or not "Better for Bread" is the same as "Harvest King".  Their consumer division repeatedly failed to provide tolerance, and denied that the BfB was the same as any of their commercial lines, but it wouldn't be the first time the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing, LOL!  Perhaps the commercial side will be more willing to provide this information.

GM AP flour was reportedly +-2% - so I won't touch GM AP flour with a ten foot pole.  But perhaps the BfB is a different animal.

Antilope's picture


Wheat Flour Protein:

-Protein levels range from about 7% in pastry and cake flours to as high as about 15% in high-gluten bread flour.

-Protein percentage indicates the amount of gluten available in the a given flour. Gluten is the substance which develops when the flour protein, which occurs naturally in wheat flour, is combined with liquid and kneaded.

-Because gluten is able to stretch elastically, it is desirable to have a higher gluten flour for yeast-raised products, which have doughs that are stretched extensively; like pizza, most yeast breads, and bagels.

-For cakes, pie crusts, cookies, biscuits, pancakes, waffles and pastry to be short and crumbly or tender, a lower protein flour is better. Also, in higher gluten flours, the gluten can overpower the chemical leaveners like baking powder or baking soda, causing the final baked goods to not rise as high.

-Hard winter wheat, mainly grown in the north, has a higher protein and more gluten, 10% to 13%. 
Most northern and national brand all-purpose flours, bread flour and high-gluten flour is made from hard winter wheat.

-Soft summer wheat, mainly grown in the south, has a lower protein and lower gluten, 8% to 10% 
Most cake, pastry and southern all-purpose flour is made from soft summer wheat.

Bleaching flour does a couple of things, it whitens the flour and it also alters the flour protein causing it to form weaker gluten.
Most cake flours are bleached.
CAKE FLOUR - 7% to 9.4% protein
Best Use: cakes, blending with national brands all-purpose flour to make pastry flour or Southern flour substitute.
-King Arthur Queen Guinevere Cake Flour, 7.0%
-King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour Blend, 9.4% 
-Pillsbury Softasilk Bleached Cake Flour, 6.9%
-Presto Self Rising Cake Flour, 7.4%
-Swans Down Bleached Cake Flour, 7.1%
PASTRY FLOUR - 8 to 9% protein
Best Use: biscuits, cookies, pastries, pancakes, pie crusts, waffles.
-King Arthur Unbleached Pastry Flour, 8%
-King Arthur Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, 9%
Best Use: biscuits, cookies, muffins, pancakes, pie crusts, quick breads, waffles.
-Martha White Bleached All-Purpose Flour, 9%
-White Lily Bleached All-Purpose Flour, 8 to 9%
SELF-RISING FLOUR (flour, baking powder, salt) - 8 to 10.5% protein
Best Use: biscuits, cookies, pancakes, muffins, quick breads, waffles. 
-Gold Medal Bleached Self-Rising Flour, 10.5%
-King Arthur Unbleached Self-Rising Flour, 8.5%
-Martha White Bleached Self-Rising Flour, 9.4%
-Pillsbury Best Bleached Self-Rising Flour, 9.7%
-Presto Self Rising Cake Flour, 7.4%
-White Lily Bleached Self-Rising Flour, 8 to 9% 
ALL PURPOSE BAKING MIXES (flour, shortening, baking powder, sugar, salt) - 6.25 to 12.5% protein
Best Use: biscuits, cookies, coffee cakes, pancakes, quick breads, pastry, waffles
-Arrowhead Mills All Purpose Baking Mix, 12.5%
-Bisquick Original Baking Mix, 7.5%
-Jiffy All Purpose Baking Mix, 6.25%
-King Arthur Flour All Purpose Baking Mix, 10%
-Pioneer Original Baking Mix, 7.5%
INSTANT FLOUR 10.5 to 12.6% protein
Best Use: thicken gravies, sauces, and soups without lumps.
-Gold Medal Wondra Quick Mixing Flour, 10.5%
-Pillsbury Best Shake & Blend Flour, 12.6%
Best Use: makes average biscuits, cookies, muffins, pancakes, pie crusts, pizza crusts, quick breads, waffles, yeast breads.
-Gold Medal All-Purpose Flour, 10.5%
-Pillsbury Best All-Purpose Flour, 10 to 11.5%
-Pioneer All-Purpose Flour, 10%
-White Wings All-Purpose Flour, 10%
Best Use: cream puffs, puff pastry, yeast breads, pizza crusts.
-Heckers and Ceresota All-Purpose Flour, 11.5 to 11.9 %
-King Arthur All-Purpose Flour, 11.7%
-Robin Hood All-Purpose Flour, 12.0%
BREAD FLOUR - 11.7 to 12.9% protein
Best Use: traditional yeast breads, bread machine, pizza crusts, pasta.
-Gold Medal Better For Bread, 12% 
-King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour, 12.7%
-Pillsbury Best Bread Flour, 12.9%
-White Lily Unbleached Bread Flour, 11.7%
DURUM WHEAT (Semolina) 13 to 13.5% protein
Best Use: Pasta.
-Hodgson Mill Golden Semolina & Extra Fancy Durum Pasta Flour, 13.3% 
-King Arthur Extra Fancy Durum Flour, 13.3%
WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR - 12.9 to 14% protein
Best Use: hearth breads, blending with other flours.
-Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flour, 13.3%
-King Arthur 100% Whole Wheat Flour, 14%
-King Arthur 100% White Whole Wheat Flour, 14%
-Pillsbury Best Whole Wheat Flour, 12.9%
HIGH-GLUTEN FLOUR 14 to 15% protein
Best Use: bagels, pizza crusts, blending with other flours.
-King Arthur Organic Hi-Gluten Flour, 14% 
-King Arthur Sir Lancelot Unbleached Hi-Gluten Flour, 14.2%
VITAL WHEAT GLUTEN FLOUR, Breadmaking Supplement - 65 to 77% protein
Best Use: Added to raise gluten. Adds extra gluten to low-gluten whole grain flours, such as rye, oat, teff, spelt, or buckwheat.
-Arrowhead Mills Vital Wheat Gluten Flour, 65.0% 
-Bob's Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten Flour, 75.0%
-Gillco Vital Wheat Gluten Flour, 75.0%
-Hodgson Mill Vital Wheat Gluten Flour, 66.6%
-King Arthur Vital Wheat Gluten Flour, 77.8%
Retail Flour Companies - Brands:
-Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods, Milwaukie, Oregon -Bob's Red Mill 
-C.H. Guenther & Son Inc, San Antonio, Texas - Pioneer Flour, Pioneer Baking Mix, White Wings Flour
-General Mills Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota - Bisquick, Gold Medal Flour, (sold US Pillsbury Flour , retains Pillsbury frozen goods)
-Hain Celestial Group Inc, Boulder, Colorado - Arrowhead Mills
-J.M. Smucker Company, Orrville, Ohio - Martha White Flour, Pillsbury Flour, Robin Hood Flour, White Lily Flour
-King Arthur Flour Company, Norwich, Vermont - King Arthur Flour
-Reily Foods Company, New Orleans, Louisiana - Swan's Down Cake Flour, Presto Self Rising Cake Flour
-Uhlmann Company, Kansas City, Missouri - Heckers Flour, Ceresota Flour
To make self-rising flour, add 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp table salt to each cup of flour.
To make a lower protein flour (similar to White Lily or Pastry flour), mix half cake flour with half all-purpose flour.
Another substitute for soft Southern flour, not quite as tender, for each cup of regular all-purpose flour, replace 2 Tablespoons of flour with cornstarch, mix well. (1 cup lightened all-purpose flour = 14 Tbsp flour and 2 Tbsp cornstarch.)
Version 7-6-2013

Thaichef's picture

Hello All: Wow, I did not realized that there are wealth of information about flour out there but now I do. Thank you to all especially, Antilope  for the wealth of information. I am going to copy it for my reference for my future baking.


ezzirah's picture

I am still pretty new to bread baking and man...who knew flour was that complicated! I was standing in the store the other day and had a lady next to me state how flours were all the same.