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Tartine flour 'equivalents'

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Tartine flour 'equivalents'

Thanks to several threads here, I have decided to build on the successes I have had so far (also in no small part thanks to advice and encouragement here) by focusing on Tartine #3. 

Thanks - again - to help in this thread, I have matched several of the flours mentioned throughout the Tartine 3 recipes to KAF and BRM ‘equivalents’. 

May I ask for help with filling out the remaining equivalents, please?

  1. High-extraction wheat flour = 50/50 mix KAF All Purpose + KAF Bread flour
  2. High-extraction whole wheat flour: is this the same as High-extraction wheat flour (#1)?
  3. High-extraction whole-grain wheat flour: is this the same as High-extraction wheat flour (#1)?
  4. Whole-grain wheat flour = KAF Premium 100% Whole Wheat Flour
  5. Whole wheat flour: is this the same as Whole-grain wheat flour (#4)?
  6. White Whole-wheat flour = KAF White Whole Wheat flour
  7. Medium-strong wheat flour = KAF All Purpose
  8. Medium-strong bread flour: is this the same as Medium-strong wheat flour (#7)?
  9. Whole-grain dark rye flour: BRM Organic Dark Rye

Am I correct? I hope I'm also correct in thinking that #s 2, 3, 5, 8 are just inconsistencies in proof-reading of Robertson's book and are direct equivalents.

Thanks very much in advance for any guidance and/or corrections anyone has the time and good will to offer :-)

idaveindy's picture

"High-extraction wheat flour = 50/50 mix KAF All Purpose + KAF Bread flour"

No.  high-extraction is a branny flour, with minimum .85% ash, maybe up to 1.0%. It has some of the bran, but not all the bran.  It may or may not have some germ, but should not have all the germ.

AP flour and bread flour are in the range of .50% to .55% ash.

Whole wheat (whole grain) is 1.6% ash.

(edit) [According to Robertson,] high extraction can be approximated by 50/50 mix of white flour (AP _or_ Bread) with whole wheat flour.

the "wheat" in there just means wheat as opposed to some other grain, like spelt, or oats.


"High-extraction whole wheat flour: is this the same as High-extraction wheat flour (#1)?"

That does not compute. "High extraction whole wheat" is an oxymoron. It is either high extraction at .85% ash, or whole wheat at 1.6% ash.  Whoever wrote that was being sloppy.


"High-extraction whole-grain wheat flour: is this the same as High-extraction wheat flour (#1)?"

again, doesn't make sense. it can't be "high extraction" and "whole grain" at the same time. It's either a typo, or sloppy writing.


"Whole-grain wheat flour = KAF Premium 100% Whole Wheat Flour."

Good enough. But I am prejudiced against products labeled organic.

Again, the "wheat" in there means the species of grain, as opposed to oats, spelt, etc.


"Whole wheat flour: is this the same as Whole-grain wheat flour (#4)?"

"whole grain" is the more generic term that can apply to non-wheat grains such as spelt, oats, etc.

whole-wheat means all the kernal of a grain of wheat.  whole-grain can apply to wheat or other grains.


"White Whole-wheat flour = KAF White Whole Wheat flour"



"Medium-strong wheat flour = KAF All Purpose"



"Medium-strong bread flour: is this the same as Medium-strong wheat flour (#7)?"

In the Tartine book, yes. He means a white flour in the .50 to .55% ash range. Protein range is from the high end of AP flour to the low end of Bread flour.   KAF AP flour fits this.


"Whole-grain dark rye flour: BRM Organic Dark Rye"

This gets fuzzy, but yes, close enough.

_Technically_ "dark rye" is whole rye berries with some of the endosperm removed. So while whole-grain rye has 1.6% ash, "dark rye" should have a higher percentage of ash because the bran is more concentrated, because some of the white endosperm has been removed.

Definitions of rye vary from miller to miller.  So when a recipe calls for "whole rye" it means a rye flour (or a coarse "meal") made from 100% of the rye berry.

But if the recipe calls for "dark rye", you need to ask (or figure out) _whose_ definition of "dark rye" they meant!  Did they mean "whole rye" (nothing added or removed) or did they mean "whole rye with some of the endosperm removed" (BRM) or "whole rye with most of the endosperm removed" (Bay State Milling) ?

 Another commenter, maybe Mariana, pointed out that BRM dark rye flour has a higher fiber content than whole rye berries, indicating some endosperm has been removed.

But, BRM's dark rye flour is close enough that it can be used when a recipe calls for whole rye.

 BRM adds to the confusion by putting "Whole Grain" in the sub-title under "Dark Rye Flour."   It's a case of marketing decisions over-riding true technical specifications, and the truth can only be found by reading and comparing fine-print as Mariana pointed out.

Update: blog article at King Arthur about rye flour, including the "dark vs whole" confusion:

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Thanks very much, @idaveindy, for the time you have taken and the trouble you have gone to to help me here :-) 

It's all extremely informative. 

I’ve put my equivalents with your corrections (annotations, edits and ‘prejudice’ - against ‘organic’… would be interested to learn why, please) into a simple spreadsheet. 

I think I'm close. By my reckoning, the only anomaly is with their High Extraction, isn’t it?

  1. High-extraction wheat flour I mis-transcribed what you kindly wrote here; my apols. Have changed to this: 50% KAF + 50% KAF 100% Organic Whole Wheat Flour
  2. 'High-extraction whole wheat flour'. I was trying to be as comprehensive as I can. Must be a typo - Page 152 definitely has that at Bakers Percentage 15 (150g). What can I substitute, do you think, if I ever want to make ‘René’s Meta Loaf’?
  3. 'High-extraction whole-grain wheat flour'. Again, must be a typo again. It’s for a crisp bread on page 212 (may be visible from Amazon's 'Look Inside') at BP 20%, 57g!

Again, if I wanted to make anything with these 'oxymoronic' ingredients, maybe just use the correct formula for High Extraction (#1)?

I can see that I need to read up some more on what and how flours are called what they are. Thanks again :-)

idaveindy's picture

I have the book, so I looked it up.  

Yes, good catch!  That needs addressed in an errata sheet.

My guess is that they should read "High-extraction or ..."

Maybe you could email the folks at Tartine Bakery and ask. :-)

idaveindy's picture

These pages will help you get a picture of how the verbiage relates to tech specs:

Central Milling (Utah):

Explanation of W, P/L,  ash%, extraction, Italian/French/German/US specification systems:

Ash% is a spec that correlates to how "branny" a flour is.

In the US, protein % is generally considered to correlate to how "strong" a flour is, but the correct measure for flour strength is "W". It took me several read-throughs of the second link to even start to understand.

Central Milling gives ash% for most flours, but not W or P/L.

P is a rating of elasticity, L is a rating for extensibility. Again, it took me several read-throughs to even start to understand.

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Thanks again, @idaveindy!

I'll try getting in touch with the T. folk. In the meantime, can I assume they really all mean 'High Extraction Wheat'?

Shall also definitely follow up on the links you gave, as well as your comments in your replies.

Much appreciated :-)

idaveindy's picture

In both cases, when you take the additions into account, the amount of the questionable/oxymoronic flour is pretty small.

Rene's has an added 250g of grated bread/seeds, and the crisp bread on page 212 has an addition of 400g of seeds.

The choice of high-extraction versus whole-grain for that small portion will likely result mainly in a small adjustment of water, which will be small enough to be overwhelmed by the normal hydration adjustments we all make that are necessitated by different brands of flour and how much moisture they absorbed or shed on the journey from the miller to our counter-top.

The more I ponder, and remember how easy it is to gloss over small words when typing, I  bet the answer is that there is a missing "or" in both cases. But that is a guess, not a firm conclusion.

A detailed reading of the early sections of the book, or a deeper study the crispbread section may yield better clues.

No matter which you choose:

  • if the dough is too loose, just add more flour.
  • if the dough is too stiff, just add more water.



Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Thanks, Gary. All makes sense :-)

I have been making the White Wheat (Ode to Bourdon) [p 46] yesterday and today.

The only way I departed from their recipe was by halving all the amounts.

I also got the correct 50/50 mixture (KAF AP + Whole Wheat) for the High Extraction!

But I have found the dough extremely difficult to work with - even by the Bench Rest stage [pp 39 to 40].

It has a lovely tangy scent, it's pliable, springs back and passes the window pane test… I noted its structure becoming better after each fold [p38]. It's also been rising just as I would expect. Doubling gently.

But it's still much too runny, sticky and nowhere near the tighter ('ball' of) dough with a smooth surface that I have managed to achieve in other bakes - though I am fairly new to this, obviously; which is why I sop appreciate the help you and others give so freely.

Although I've watched several videos on the way to fold and use surface tension against the bench to build up the gluten structures, this 'mass' just doesn't want to hold. I wasn't anywhere near able to pick up and fold the dough as on page 40 :-(

Is that a known aspect of the Tartine recipes?

Or is the high hydration intentional? It's in my (brown rice and linen lined) banneton now. Maybe it'll all turn out OK when I bake in my Challenger tomorrow?

Would dividing the dough into enough for just one loaf have messed up the ratios, which I checked and double-checked after halving the quantities?

As a matter of fact, even making enough for two loaves, the Bakers' %age on page 46 seems off to me: 1000g flour is the 100%; but the other ingredients together come to 1095g.

Any ideas, please?

Perhaps I should have (been prepared to) add more of those (four) flours at the autolyse stage when I sensed it was too loose - as you have just implied?


idaveindy's picture

How to adjust hydration is part of the learning curve for new bakers.

Remember, the particular flours you are using are certain to be different from the flours that Robertson used to develop the formulas:  different strains of wheat, different fields and climate, different millers, different ages since harvest/milling,  etc.  All that affects how much water that the flour takes.

Then, when you get it all figured out, you start on a new bag from a different batch, or different harvest year, and the adjustment game starts over.

Using a name-brand like KA or Gold Medal helps, because they or their contracted millers go to great lengths to keep the specs constant from  batch to batch and year to year, by blending different wheats, constantly adjusting the inputs to maintain a consistent output.

A new baker who does not have an in-person teacher/mentor to show you, and let you feel the "goldilocks zone" of "just right" hydration is under the handicap of having to experiment and discover on their own.   Hint: published formulas have to be adjusted to local ingredients and local ambient temps and humidity.

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey


I understand everything you're saying.

Just would not have expected relatively small adjustments (for atmosphere, mill, botany) to be able to compensate for such a seemingly large discrepancy in 'handleability'.

I have always considered the printed word cannot be departed from - and that I must be doing something wrong…

I do, though, like the idea of learning by doing… feeling, muscle memory, fingertip sensitivity.

As long as I don't have too many out and out failures :-)

Am I right - really - in reading you as saying, "It's OK to add either more flour/less water if the dough feels too sticky at autolyse; and more water if it's too crumbly, rough"?

Despite what the published recipe says?

If so, that's OK. It'll be a valid learning, growing experience.

Is Gold Medal as highly thought of as KAF?

idaveindy's picture

Am I right - really - in reading you as saying, "It's OK to add either more flour/less water if the dough feels too sticky at autolyse; and more water if it's too crumbly, rough"?

idaveindy's picture

Is Gold Medal as highly thought of as KAF?

I meant that Gold Medal is as _consistent_ as KAF.  At least in terms of the state in which it leaves the mill.

idaveindy's picture

Am I right - really - in reading you as saying, "It's OK to add either more flour/less water if the dough feels too sticky at autolyse; and more water if it's too crumbly, rough"?

Now that you got that down, here's the next step.  I mention this because you're in Tartine Book No. 3, which is about whole-grain and specialty (ie, non-standard wheat) grain.

Different ash% (ie, different bran/fiber) content grinds of a given grain (ie, millers can mill .50%, .55%, .65%, .85%, 1.0%, etc. from a single variety of wheat) , and different species/varieties of grain ..... can absorb water at different rates, and behave differently (either relaxing or becoming more elastic - resistent to stretching) when hydrating. 

So.... if, say, your whole wheat takes more water than white flour, .... but absorbs it slower than white flour, the dough is going to __feel__ wetter at the beginning of autolyse than your white flour dough.  But... as autolyse (or soak) time goes on, the flour particles finally suck up the water, and at the __end__ of autolyse/soak (or.... maybe part way into bulk-ferment) ... THEN it "feels right".

Net... that "goldilocks zone" of what is the "right feel" is different...  and  occurs at different times/stages, depending on the types of flour used, and what the formula intends, ie, a tight crumb sandwich loaf versus an open-crumb Instagram showpiece.

For instance, my home-milled coarse-ground flour feels like "wet sand" throughout the soak and part way into the bulk-ferment before it turns into a dough-like mass that can be stretched and folded.

Even my commercially milled finely-ground whole grain durum (Fiber Wala) absorbs water slowly. If I give it all the water, 89%, up front, it turns stickey/gooey, and will never turn into a workable dough.  But if I give it 77%, let it rest, then 4%, rest, then 4%, rest, then 4%, then it gets to the point of good dough.

Congruent/similar, but not exactly the same,  things happen with spelt, emmer, einkorn, rye, barley, etc.  They just don't  _behave_ (in response to hydration, time, soaking, kneading, stretching/folding, fermenting) like "regular" hard-red-winter or hard-red-spring wheat flour.

Spelt, for instance, is stickier, and its starch breaks down into sugar faster, so it will ferment qucker than wheat.  Whole grain spelt even more so.

Beware formulas that call for "spelt flour", without further specification. They probably mean white-spelt, aka refined spelt, not whole grain spelt flour.  If you use whole spelt flour in a formula that was intended for white/refined spelt, you will get a sticky denser dough that ferments faster than intended. (The enzymes in bran cause starch to turn to sugar faster, which boosts fermentation.)

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

I have built a flour tutorial Obsidian document from all the resources you've kindly suggested, @idaveindy :-)

Thanks for getting 'George' to put me straight :-)

I am a creative person, but have always presumed that if a recipe has quantities stated to the nearest gramme, I'd better follow them.

Now I can see I need to be more creative! It's a terrific learning opportunity.

Thanks for the link to the artisan. It is dense. But I shall take my time and digest as much as I can :-)

When you say:

…I mention this because you're in Tartine Book No. 3, which is about whole-grain and specialty (ie, non-standard wheat) grain…

would you in fact advise me to work from something more… 'standard'?

Would you advise me to investigate other suppliers than KAF/BRM - like Central Milling

Meanwhile here's the baked loaf - the result of all my labours this week. Haven't tasted it yet.

Why all the cracks, please?

I scored it once, got something resembling a rather charred ear.

But I'd have liked the ridges from the banneton to be more visible/pronounced; and there to have been less crust-cracking.

Thanks again :-)

idaveindy's picture

"would you in fact advise me to work from something more… 'standard'?"

I'm a proponent of whole-grain baking.  And Robertson's method/system is fine. 

You're learning three things at once, which, without an in-person mentor, are challenging, but plenty of TFL users have also trod that path:

1. Learning to bake bread.

2. Working with whole-grains, or at least a majority of whole-grain flour in the dough, which is more challenging than a mostly white/refined flour dough.

3. Starting out with sourdough leavening instead of the simpler commercial yeast.

"Would you advise me to investigate other suppliers than KAF/BRM - like Central Milling? "

 Buying from Central Milling only makes sense if you purchase 25 or 50 pound bags. 

My suggestion for a beginner  is to keep it simple and cheap. K.I.S.S., no?  So ...

-- stick to the 5 pound bags trom the grocery store until you get your footing. No specialty stuff, no big purchases.  Nothing fancier than King Arthur or Bob's Red Mill _off the shelf_.  (No special ordering.)  That can come later when you are ready to invest in big bags of flour and tinker with other flours.

(You don't teach 16 year olds about customized carburator settings, limited slip differentials, and tire tread patterns when you teach them to drive. So maybe I should not have sent you to Silly me.)

-- no sifting/seiving (yet). That's just another factor that takes futzing, tinkering and more "stuff" to buy, clean, and take up space.  I acknowledge everyone's right to futz, tinker and buy whatever "stuff" they want.  But to use another analogy, learn to fly-fish before tieing your own flies, eh?  -- Don't get me wrong -- sifting is not a bad thing, but I don't think it should be a concern to a raw beginner. Plus, sifting (U.S.) commercial roller-milled flour is near pointless.

-- at least for the learning curve, use the reasonably priced non-organic flour -- what you can find at Albertson's, Trader Joe, or Walmart.  The 100% price differential for organic flour just doesn't seem worth it. (Unlike other crops, American wheat is  100% non-GMO at the present time, and always has been. Hybridized yes, GMO no.)

-- For _white_ whole wheat (for the ode to Bourdon loaf), you can get it for a reasonable price at: Trader Joe (house brand), Kroger (house brand), and usually at Walmart Super-stores (Prairie Gold brand from Wheat Montana.)

I don't know if Kroger is on the west coast, but I imagine similar sized chains would also have a house brand white whole wheat flour.

We'll get to diagnosing your loaf in a bit.

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Thanks, as always, @idaveindy!

As you know, I copy, paste, reformat and add the texts of (your) posts here into a fast-growing document to refer to repeatedly. So in the interests of not adding clutter with my replies, I've abbreviated.

BTW, I actually began baking seriously about 15 years ago. But was still working then. Now I am retired, I am enjoying learning with sourdough… a true delight.

Keeping It Simple suits me; eliminating variables (even though you're so right - of course - about my trying to learn three things at once) also makes sense.

But I know I'm making progress.

Definitely will keep to 'standard' flours from KAF and BRM.

Thanks to your helping me work out equivalences, I believe I have all I need now for Tartine. All sealed in (OXO) storage jars out of the heat and light and labelled within a corresponding spreadsheet to enable me to get the number I need :-)

I have read my way through about 50% of that artisan page. I know when I should skip and 'bookmark' for later. Have blended their data/descriptions with what I already had. It's actually really helping.

I hear what you're saying about sifting! Also 'bookmarked'… :-)

We'll get to diagnosing your loaf in a bit.

In your own good time :-) Thanks. It tastes really good. But I do want to become - slowly - more 'refined' as I go on. A good 25% of me wanted it to be a reject so that I could put into practice what I've learnt (from you) sooner!


idaveindy's picture

If you have time, it may be helpful to create a blog post for this loaf, for help trouble-shooting.

 That way, this thread doesn't get split into too many topics, and the title/subject stays meaningful.

I blog most of my bakes, with serial numbers even. ;-)

albacore's picture

Here is an interesting article on high extraction flour. The author does not believe that a 50/50 wholewheat/BF mix is equivalent to a high extraction flour and I agree with him.

You would be better getting wholewheat flour and putting it through a #40 sieve - but read the article.



Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Thanks, Lance!

I can see what the blogger means - because of the 'extraction' process?

And because the Bread Flour has nothing extracted? Or because if it's a blend (50/50) it's hard to calculate how much bran has actually been removed?

(I hope I'm close to understanding.)

Are these what you mean by #40 sieves, please?

As a matter of fact, Chad Robertson does appear to favour the home-made sieve method… see page 24!

I'm grateful to have the advice of so many experts. Thanks again!

albacore's picture

Well, to me, if you are doing 50/50, you are leaving half the big flakes of bran in. If you do the #40, all the big flakes are out and you just have smaller bits of bran.

I've never seen any big flakes of bran in the few examples of commercial high extraction flour I've used.

You need at least an 8" sieve. I use this size and it's good for 200-400g hi ex flour. For more, you really need to go bigger.

A good selection on Aliexpress - search for "test sieve". Or check with Danny (TFL Danayo) - I think he has had good results with some of the Amazon sieves.



idaveindy's picture

Lance, In my observations here in the US, store-bought big-name (in my experience: King Arthur, Gold Medal, Kroger, and Trader Joe brands) _roller-milled_ whole-wheat flour is milled to a uniform particle size, such that it will all pass through a seive.

Aside from home-milling operations, in order to sift out the larger bran particles, one would need to purchase _stone-ground_ flour, which would contain some large enough seive-able bran particles.

albacore's picture

Fair enough Dave - it's obviously a different animal to what we have in the UK.

Right now I have a bag of Nellstrops (small local miller) roller milled WW and it's got bigger bran flakes than I can get in my Mockmill. And I would say that most other UK millers produce a similar product.

Is there no retention at all in a #40 sieve?



idaveindy's picture

Maybe it's my eyesight, but I haven't seen any flakes in US name-brand or national    chain house-brand (which is just renamed product from the name-brands) roller-milled whole-grain flour.

It may be the US commercial roller-milling process.  Reinhart describes this in his book "Bread Revolution."  They start out by running wheat intended for WW flour through the same mill as for white flour , separating the bran into a separate "stream" apart from the white flour. The germ has, or can have, its own stream too. They grind (or re grind) the bran, then add it back into the white flour, "reconstituting" it.  This allows them to add back in the bran, but not the germ. (KA says their WW does have the germ.) 

Reinhart says this process for WW is called "regrind and reconstitute."

Since 99+% of US flour made is white flour, this setup is more cost efficient for those huge mills, than having a dedicated setup where the bran and germ is never separated. Though there are specialty roller-millers who do that.

The process where bran and germ are never separated from the endosperm is called "whole milling" according to Reinhart.

In the book, Reinhart and the artisan bakers who he interviewed say that the two kinds of WW, reground/reconstituted versus whole-milled, bake up differently.

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

Thanks, Dave and Lance, for this!

Although I too an a British Northerner, I have lived here in California for 25 years.

I need to add what you've pointed out, Lance, to my document as potentially something to look out for in case those UK<>US differences are smaller than we think they are. Nothing goes un-noted :-)

Mark Sealey's picture
Mark Sealey

I finally heard back from Jen Latham at Tartine:

Thanks for your inquiry. I don't have a list of exactly corresponding flours, but the key words are:

  • High-extraction = type-85. If you can't find it, a 50/50 blend of white (refined) bread flour and whole wheat flour works.
  • whole wheat = anything labelled "whole wheat" will work 
  • white whole wheat is a little harder to find, it's just whole wheat flour milled from a white wheat type. If you're unable to find it, any whole wheat will work.

Does that seem right to folk here?

I now have a spreadsheet with the aggregated wisdom gathered here in the last few weeks. Happy to post if anyone's interested :-)