Flour vs Bread Flour
Flour is a widely used ingredient in the culinary world, making it a staple food in many countries globally. Its versatility has led to numerous flour varieties, each serving different purposes. Flour and bread flour are two types often mistaken for one another regarding their usage.
What is Flour?
Flour, a fine powder material, is obtained by grinding cereal grains, seeds, beans, or roots. The most common type of flour used globally is wheat flour, but other types include maize flour, cassava flour, rye flour, etc. Generally, when people refer to flour, they mean all-purpose wheat flour – a finely sifted powder made from a mixture of high-gluten hard wheat and low-gluten soft wheat. All-purpose flour, milled from the inner part of the wheat kernel, has a fine and smooth texture as it does not contain the bran or germ of the wheat kernel. However, some countries, like the United States, require all-purpose flour without the germ to have niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, and iron added to provide the necessary nutritional value. All-purpose flour is used for various purposes, such as baking bread, pastries, cakes, pies, thickening soups, and deep-frying food. It is available in both bleached and unbleached versions.
What is Bread Flour?
Bread flour, a specialized high-protein flour, is intended for bread baking. It is a strong flour containing around 13 to 14 percent of protein. Its high-protein content means that the bread has a large amount of gluten, allowing the dough extra elasticity. Additionally, the high-protein content in the flour enables the yeast to react more efficiently, making the bread lighter and chewier. Bread flour is commonly used to make crusty bread, pizza dough, and rolls due to its tough and elastic nature. The texture of bread flour is coarser and is off-white in color, with a cup of bread flour weighing around 5 ounces or 140 grams.
What is the difference between Flour and Bread Flour?
Different recipes require different ingredients, and the differences between certain ingredients may be so slight that they are unnoticeable. However, 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 regarding the recipes they are used in and how they are used.
- Flour is a generic term referring to the powder-like substance obtained by grinding cereals, beans, seeds, and roots. In day-to-day recipes, flour generally refers to all-purpose flour.
- Bread flour is a specialized strong type of flour ideal for producing lighter, chewier bread. Bread made from all-purpose flour may not be as chewy.
- Bread flour has a higher protein content than regular flour, is coarser to the touch, and is slightly off-white. 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 increase its gluten content.