Difference between Bread Flour and Regular Flour

Updated on April 1, 2017

If you love baking, you are surely aware that there are several types of flour available on the market today. We all know the most common type is regular flour, but it is less well-known how it is different from another common type of flour: bread flour. Are they interchangeable? This article will explore the difference between bread flour and regular flour.

Descriptions

Bread Flour

Bread flour is a type of white flour made mostly from hard spring wheat. It has a protein level of 12% to 14% which means it also has a high level of gluten.

Bread flour is specifically intended for yeasted products or products that need more rise. Its high protein content results in chewy, structured, and firm crusts. It is perfect for bread, croissants, bagels, and muffins.

regular flour

On the other hand, regular flour is made from a combination of hard and soft wheat. In some areas, it is also called “plain” flour because it does not contain added leavening elements that make the baked product rise. It has a protein level of 8% to 11%.

Regular flour can be bleached or unbleached. Bleached regular flour is whitened through a chemical process while unbleached regular flour is bleached naturally through aging.

Regular flour is versatile and can be used for almost any recipe, hence its more popular name “all-purpose” flour. Because of its mid-level protein content, baked products made with regular flour are noticeably soft and supple. It can be used for rolls, cupcakes, bread, pizza crust, biscuits, cookies, pies, pancakes, waffles, puff pastry, cream puffs, sauces, soups, and more.

Bread Flour vs Regular Flour

What, then, is the difference between bread flour and regular flour?

Bread flour is made mostly from hard spring wheat. It has a high protein level (12% to 14%) and is intended for yeasted baking. It creates sturdy, firm, and chewy crusts and is perfect for products that need more rise. On the contrary, regular flour is made from a mixture of hard and soft wheat and has a mid-level protein content (8% to 11%). Products made with regular flour are soft and supple. It can be used for anything from cupcakes, muffins, or bagels to soups and sauces. It is also called “all-purpose” flour or “plain” flour.

Comparison Chart

Bread FlourRegular Flour
Made mostly from hard spring wheatMade from a combination of hard and soft wheat
Has a protein level of 12% to 14%Has a protein level of 8% to 11%
Results in baked products that are firm, structured, and chewyResults in baked products that are soft and supple
Intended for yeasted bakingCan be used for any cooking or baking recipe; also called all-purpose flour or plain flour