Difference Between Flour and Bread Flour

Flour vs Bread Flour

Flour is undoubtedly the most commonly used ingredient in the culinary world. Its versatility has led to it becoming a staple food in many countries worldwide. Because of this very reason many varieties of flour exist in the world intended for different purposes and it is very easy to mistake one type of flour to another. Flour and bread flour are two such types of flour that are often mistaken for one another in terms of their usage.

What is Flour?

What is usually referred to as flour is a fine powder material that is gained by grinding cereal grains, seeds, beans or roots. While the main sort of flour utilized in the world today is wheat flour, there are other types of flour available as well such as maize flour, cassava flour, rye flour, etc. Among the many varieties of flour available in the world today, what is generally referred to as flour is all purpose wheat flour that is the ground finely sifted powdered made from a mixture of high-gluten hard wheat and low-gluten soft wheat. Milled from the inner part of the wheat kernel, all purpose flour has a fine and smooth texture as it does not contain the bran or the germ of the wheat kernel. However, certain countries such as the United States require all purpose flour that does not contain the germ to have niacin, riboflavin, thiamin and iron added to it in order to provide the desired nutritional value to the flour. All purpose flour is used for almost any purpose, be it baking breads, pastries, cakes, pies, etc. as well as for thickening of soups and deep frying food, etc. All purpose flour can be obtained in both bleached and unbleached versions.

What is Bread Flour?

Bread flour is a specialized high-protein flour that is intended for the baking of breads. It is a strong flour containing around 13 to 14 percent of protein. Its high-protein content implies that the bread has a large amount of gluten in it which allows the dough extra elasticity. In addition, high-protein content in the flour allows the yeast to react more efficiently, thereby making the bread much lighter and chewier bread. It is used commonly to make crusty breads, pizza dough and rolls due to its tough and elastic nature.

The texture of bread flour feels more coarse and is off-white in colour, and a cup of bread flour weighs approximately around 5 ounces or 140 grams.

What is the difference between Flour and Bread Flour? 

Different recipes call for different ingredients and the fine line between certain ingredients may be so slight that it may even be unnoticeable. However slight the differences may be, it is always recommended to use the correct ingredients for the appropriate recipes for optimum results. Flour and bread flour are two such ingredients that are seemingly similar, but differ in nature with regards to the recipes they are used in and the manner in which they are used.

• Flour is a generic term used to refer to the powder like substance that is obtained by grinding cereals, beans, seeds and roots. However, when it comes to the flour used in day to day recipes, flour generally refers to all-purpose flour.

• Bread flour is a specialized strong type of flour that is ideal for producing lighter, chewier bread. Bread baked from all-purpose flour may not be all that chewy.

• The protein content in bread flour is much higher than that of regular flour.

• Bread flour is coarser to the touch than all purpose flour and is slightly off-white in colour. Flour is available in both bleached and unbleached versions.

• All purpose flour can be substituted for bread flour by adding a small amount of vital wheat gluten to the flour in order to increase its gluten content.


Further Reading:

  1. Difference Between Cake Flour and Bread Flour
  2. Difference Between Bread Flour and All-Purpose Flour
  3. Difference Between All-Purpose Flour an Plain Flour