The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Differences in flour in Canada and the US

Jane Dough's picture
Jane Dough

Differences in flour in Canada and the US

Hamelman's recipes often call for bread flour. However since his books are written and published in the US I assume his recipes are composed most often with US ingredients. Which makes me wonder if I should be using an all-purpose flour instead of bread flour because I am using Canadian ingredients. I have read that the Canadian equivalent to American bread flour is, in many cases, all purpose. 

Would anyone like to comment yay or nay?  

I have come to the conclusion that bread making is like yoga.  You're always "practicing". 

PaddyL's picture

I'm in Montreal and did try bread flour briefly, but I found it was too expensive for me.  I buy unbleached all-purpose flour and make wonderful bread with it.  In Ireland and England, the flour to buy would be their 'strong flour', but here, the all-purpose is perfectly good for bread.  I think the 'bread' flour started to appear on Canadian store shelves to suit the bread machines.  The only American flour I've ever used was some White Lily pastry flour, so I couldn't comment on the American bread vs all-purpose flours.

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

The bread flour referred to in his book is sold commercially in the US as King Arthur All Purpose Flour. It has an 11.7% protein content. Other bread book authors such as Maggie Glezer and Rose Levy Berenbaum have referred to the flour for their recipes.

From their web site:

"Milled from
100% USA-grown hard red winter wheat
Antilope's picture

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%
-Five Roses All Purpose Flour, 13.0%.                                                                                                                         -Rogers All-Purpose Flour, 13.0% 

BREAD FLOUR - 12 to 13.3% 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%

Jane Dough's picture
Jane Dough

Thanks to all of  you for your responses. 

I think I'm going to look for a good source of "hard red winter wheat" and use it.  If I depend on markets sometimes it's hard to get a good idea of protein content.   But if the bread they produce with their own flour works, mine should too.

I can get a very inexpensive bag of Vienna Strong flour at Costco but we are really leaning more and more to organic when possible.  I'm not sure that organic will make a huge difference in the final product as far as appearance goes but maybe it does make a difference in other ways.

philjacobs's picture

Hi, I am new to this site. I am not a baker but my family were for centuries in Lithuania and Montreal. I read peoples' comments about Canadian and US wheat and protein content.  I just was reading  a British cookbook on baking, and came across this quote: "I've used Canadian bread flour -- it is high in protein which means it contains more gluten and gives an excellent, chewy texture...." The cookbook is a new one, SESAME AND SPICE by Anne Shooter.  Of course the author was comparing UK and Canadian wheat, but as Ms Shooter is an expert, her comments are worth alot. I really enjoyed reading everyones' comments about US and Canadian flour.