Difference between All-Purpose Flour and Bread Flour
By Rachel Jones - June 21, 2023

All-Purpose flour is flour where the wheat grains have been stripped of their bran and germ during processing and grinding, leaving just the starchy endosperm. That implies that most AP flours have a longer shelf life since the oils in the germ cause them to go rancid. However, it also means that most of the wheat’s nutritious characteristics have been eliminated, as has most of the plant’s natural taste. There is also an unbleached variation, which means the flour has not been chemically processed to whiten and “soften.” Most baked items, such as cookies, muffins, and pie crusts, are made using AP flour.

Bread flour is a high-protein flour that contains between 12 and 14% protein and is used for yeasted bread making. When baking bread flour, more kneading is required to work the excellent gluten structure, resulting in an airy and chewy texture. Bread flour is used in recipes such as sourdough, White Bread, Pretzels, Dinner Rolls, Cinnamon Buns, and Bagels.

All-Purpose Flour vs. Bread Flour

The fundamental distinction between bread flour and all-purpose flour is the amount of protein in each. Soft wheat flours, such as all-purpose flour, typically have 8 to 12 percent protein, but hard wheat flours, such as bread flour, include 12 to 15 percent protein. Greater protein in flour causes more gluten formation. As a result, loaves of bread produced with all-purpose flour will rise nicely, but those made using bread flour will have more structure and maintain their form better.
Bread flour (strong flour) is typically manufactured from hard wheat, most commonly hard spring wheat. It has a high protein level, ranging from 10% to 13%, making it ideal for yeast bread baking. Meanwhile, all-purpose flour is made from hard red wheat or a combination of hard and soft wheat in an 80:20 ratios.

Comparison Chart
  1. Less protein (and gluten) content
High protein content
  1. used in more recipesĀ 
Typically used for bread recipes