The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Bread flour-All purpose flour

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Thaichef's picture
Thaichef

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.

thaichef.

BreadBro's picture
BreadBro

In my opinion you're better off using All-Purpose flour for french bread and baguttes. Bread flour tends to be more on the chewy side (especially King Arthur Bread Flour), while All-Purpose comes out softer and lighter. King Arthur All-Purpose has about 11.5% protein anyway, so you'll have no trouble getting a good rise out of it. 

I use All-Purpose flour for soft loaves like white bread, burger buns and foccacia. I prefer to use bread flour for chewier loaves, like sourdough and in pain de campagne.

yy's picture
yy

The flour you have will be perfect for French bread. In general, look at the protein content of flour instead of the label. Bread flour theoretically has a higher protein level than all-purpose flour, but this is not absolute. For example, KA All-purpose flour has a protein level comparable to what other brands might call "bread flour."

If you used King Arthur bread flour in your recipe, it would work, but the bread would come out a bit tougher and chewier.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

it showed up?  KA  AP is very high in protein for an AP flour and will be fine as others have said. French bread is usually made with lower protein flours.  When we make French bread we use the lowest protein flour I can find. - so no worries.

Thaichef's picture
Thaichef

Hallo Everyone:

  Thank you very much everyone for helping me with my question on the above. Now I will start making my breads tomorrow to give away to a shelter for  Female "Homeless shelter". The Moms and the kids will get to eat some good breads.   My brothers and sisters in baking are an amazing bunch. Thanks.

Thaichef.

 

 

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

baking bread for those in need is a virtue and very generous.  Generosity, of all the many attributes required for success, is the most difficult to have and hold dear.  You are blessed!  Enjoy your bake as much as the Mom's and kids will.

Happy baking.

Antilope's picture
Antilope

 

U.S. WHEAT FLOUR TYPES AND BEST USES:
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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.
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FLOUR PROTEIN BY TYPES AND BRANDS (retail flour):
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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%
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ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR, SOUTHERN - 8 to 9% protein
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%
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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% 
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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%
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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%
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ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR, BLEACHED & UNBLEACHED, NATIONAL BRANDS - 10 to 11.5% protein
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%
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ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR, NORTHERN, BLEACHED & UNBLEACHED - 11.5 to 12% protein
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%
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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%
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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%
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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
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To make self-rising flour, add 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp table salt to each cup of flour.
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To make a lower protein flour (similar to White Lily or Pastry flour), mix half cake flour with half all-purpose flour.
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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.)
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Version 7-6-2013

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

Actually the protein levels between European and US flours are hard to compare because they use different measuring techniques.  So although the flour they use in France has a protein level that looks nominally lower than say KAF AP flour (@11.6% protein measured in our USian way, which makes it for all intents and purposes bread flour even here in the US) it's like comparing apples and oranges.  KAF AP flour is actually fairly close in actual protein content to what is used in France to make French bread, maybe just slightly higher protein by a fraction of a percentage point.  However, due to varying growing conditions and varieties of wheat between here and there, there are other differences.  Ash content, the proportion of different proteins, how it is milled, etc.

In short, while its true that no flour here in the US is precisely the same as any given flour in Europe, you can usually get close enough.  And KAF AP flour is close enough for a baguette.