The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Can Plain Flour be used to make bread dough?

angiechia's picture

Can Plain Flour be used to make bread dough?


I am new to this forum, and am taking time to digest the tonnes of info here!

But I need to ask something quickly. I am now in the Middle East, trying to find bread flour to make some bread. But there is none! There are only Flour No 1, No2 and No 3. I believe No 1 is plain flour, but am wondering what is the numberss 2 and 3 flour? If I can't find "bread flour", can I use plain flour in its place?

I have more questions to ask later, but now need this urgently as i really yearn for some home-made bread!


sphealey's picture

I can't say I have been to the Middle East much less purchased flour there, but these two links tend to confirm my thought that the standard flour in that region would be soft wheat which would be optimal for flatbreads.  However they both also indicate that hard wheat flours (which have more usable gluten) are available:

I was not able to find a definition of Flour No. 1, Flour No. 2, and Flour No. 3 in a short search for sources in English.


fancypantalons's picture

As sphealey said, hard wheat, high gluten flours are certainly optimal for bread.  That said, if you're just out to create good bread, and not top-notch artisanal stuff, I say give the flour you have a try.  I'm willing to bet it'll work just fine.

angiechia's picture

Hi sph and fancypantalons

will try with the flour and let u know how it goes. wish me luck!




Kuret's picture

Why not try them all out? Buy like 1# of each and make a similar loaf with them all. maybe a french bread with poolish.

 poolish 100 water + 100 flour + 0,5 instant yeast

400 flour + 200 poolish + 225 water + 10 salt + 3,5 instant yeast

(in grams) 

If you make three breads according to this formula and then bake them under similar conditions you will get a good idea of how your flours compare to each other.

NOTE: The formula contains 20% prefermented flour, preferment beeing 50% of the flour weight or 40% of the TFW. Hydration is 65% wich should work even for rather soft wheat varieties. I also assumme that you know how long you ferment your doughs etc.  


KosherBaker's picture

This is a guess. But it may be that those numbers may be grades of flour. No 1 being all white flour, No 3 being all whole wheat and No 2 something in between.


antonis's picture


Dear angiechia,

 No 1 is hard. No 2 is all purpose, No3 is pastry (very soft).

However all flours in our region are made of soft wheat. No1 is produced by removing protein from a quantity of soft flour and adding it to another one. That is why No1 is usually marked as "hard flour from soft wheat" which sounds as contradiction in terms...

 The reason they do it this way is that hard wheat is very expensive since most European wheat is soft. Canadian and US are hard (and expensive for us). Use imported US or Canadian flour only for demanding baking (heavy sweet and buttery doughs). Otherwise No1 and No2 are good for bread making and OK priced.