Bread Flour vs. Cake Flour

What is the difference between cake flour and bread flour?

Cake flour and bread flour are similar in that they both contain gluten and they are both made from wheat. If they were completely the same, they would not have different names so the question arises – How do they differ from each other?

About cake flour

Although cake flour is made from flour that comes from wheat it is highly specialized and is specifically for use in making delicate pastries and cakes. Cakes do need to rise so that they are fluffy and light and for this to happen, the gluten content of the flour should be low. The presence of a high amount of protein in gluten tends to make cakes hard when the flour from which they are made has high gluten content. Therefore, cake flour is made from soft wheat and this gives it a fine texture and high content of starch.

About bread flour

Bread flour has high gluten content – about 12% to 13%. This is an important factor for the foods that are made from it. It allows the gasses to remain in the dough while it is rising and baking. This is the reason that the dough expands from dense to light in bread making. This flour is made from hard wheat that is unbleached and contains a lot of gluten. It is mainly used for making breads and pizza dough. The extra gluten makes it rise and lets it become chewy, rather than flaky.

The difference between bread flour and cake flour

The main difference between cake flour and bread flour is the amount of gluten that each one contains. The protein content affects how high the baked goods will rise when each type of flour is used. Anyone who does spend a lot of time baking does know that the difference between the two types of flour. They know that each one is to be used in specific recipes and if substitute one for the other it will not produce the same results.

Bread flour has the ability to rise very quickly and it is the reason that the bread in sandwiches springs back up after it has been pressed down. On the other hand, cake flour has a more delicate nature and this is reflected in the light loftiness of products baked using this type of flour.

If you are low on the specific type of flour that a recipe calls for, you can substitute, though. You may have to alter the amount of the other ingredients called for to achieve the same end product.

Summary

  1. Cake flour is intended for use in baking cakes and pastries. It comes from a special blend of soft wheat flour
  2. Bread flour is high in gluten content and is intended for use in making dough. It is made from hard wheat flour that is high in protein.