Bread Flour vs. All-Purpose Flour

Do you know the difference between bread flour and all-purpose flour?

You need to use flour in baking and for many people, flour is flour and they do not realize that there is a difference between bread flour and all-purpose flour. Bread flour can be used instead of all-purpose flour but the results will not be the same because of the substitution. This is because there is one important aspect in which they differ from each other.

What is bread flour?

Dough that is made from bread flour is elastic because of the presence of gluten, a protein that exists in food that is made with wheat. This substance enables the dough to rise and maintain its shape. In bread flour the percentage of gluten is high – 12% to 14%. This is what gives bread its chewy texture. Bread and pizza crust are made from this type of flour because of the height to which it rises. It can also be used with other grains that need to have an added lift.

What is all-purpose flour?

All-purpose flour does contain gluten, but the percentage is a little less at 11% to 12%. It is usually made using a combination of high and low gluten wheat. The result of using all-purpose flour in baking is that the crumbs are softer and for this reason it is widely used for making pastries and cakes. In fact in some recipes it may be referred to as cake flour.

Difference between bread flour and all-purpose flour

You can substitute bread flour and all-purpose flour but the results may be different than you intended. This means it is important to know the difference between them before you decide to use one or the other. For example, the texture of pastry made from bread flour will be entirely different from that made with all-purpose flour. It will have a chewy texture rather a flaky texture and it may not taste the same. It really depends on what you want to achieve. If you want a high pastry, then bread flour is the best choice.

Summary

  1. Bread flour has a higher percentage of gluten at 12% to 14%. The percentage of gluten in all-purpose flour is between 11% and 12%.
  2. Bread flour helps dough rise and retain its shape. All-purpose flour makes softer dough.
  3. They can be used as substitutes for each other but you must be aware that the end product will not be the same.