When it comes to bread, bread flour is a must-have. But what if you don’t have bread flour in your pantry? Don’t worry! There are many other flours that will work just as well. For those looking for an alternative, here are some of the most common substitutes and how to use them for making bread, pizza doughs, pasta, and more!
What’s the Best Bread Flour Substitute?
If you don’t have bread flour prepped and ready to roll, just swap in all-purpose flour 1:1. Your desserts, pizzas, or other yummy projects will be a little less chewy than they would be with the real deal. But who knows that difference? If using bread flour, the dough may not rise as much, which can cause a flat top. However, it will still taste near-identical to bread baked with all-purpose flour, and the crumb—those small holes found in slices of bread—should be similar too.
What Is Bread Flour?
Bread flour is a bread-making staple. Its high protein content gives bread its elasticity and chewiness while also providing an airy structure and keeping it from drying out too quickly (though this does vary depending on the recipe). Flour substitutes can come in many forms but will often be made up of either all-purpose or cake flour, with the addition of other starches or fats.
The difference between bread flour and other types of flour is the protein content. Bread flour contains a high protein level, which gives it the power to make firm dough while also helping bread rise. Bread flour’s protein percentage ranges from 12-14%, making it great for recipes that need sturdy dough and texture, plus a lot of stretchy.
Bread flour also contains more protein, which can absorb a lot of liquid. This makes the dough firm and solid; it’s ideal for any bread that uses yeast for leavening, or indeed pretty much anything that needs to be baked into a loaf.
What is the difference between bread flour and all-purpose flour?
A protein difference between bread flour and all-purpose flour could be a factor.
Bread flour is made from hard spring wheat, which has a higher protein content than the hard winter wheat used in all-purpose flour. Protein contributes to dough strength and helps loaves of bread rise high before baking. Our bread flour checks in at 12-14% protein content, while our all-purpose flour is around 11%.
Overall, bread gluten has a more elastic texture, and the dough will stretch farther. This may mean less baking time for loaves of bread that use yeast as their leavening agent – but it also implies bread can be denser when using bread flour than if you swap in all.
Can all-purpose flour be used in place of bread flour?
We say with confidence that you can substitute bread flour for all-purpose in a recipe if needed.
Making a new loaf of bread is an opportunity to practice your baking skills, so we always recommend sticking to the type of flour called for in the recipe: bread or all-purpose. After all, if a particular flour is expected in a recipe, that means it has been customized to yield the best results when you use precise measurements and pour specific ingredients together. These recipes are carefully designed with particular attention to protein levels and optimum hydration ratios – resulting in risen loaves.
If you don’t have bread flour, it’s no big deal. The consistency may need to be adjusted off your dough and the structure of your bread, but you’ll still get a delicious homemade loaf when using all-purpose or cake flour instead.
Go on, knead some dough! That old family recipe you’ve been too hesitant to try because the ingredients call for “flour” are waiting for you – why not try! Use bread flour if you want a tight crumb and a loaf that holds its shape, or choose all-purpose if you’re looking for an open texture and subtle tenderness.
The food hotline workers like to remind chat participants that yeast dough is a living thing. They then tell them, as the baker, it’s their responsibility to give it what it needs. Chat participants should keep in mind that they don’t want enough of anything – too stiff or too slack, but something rather perfect.
Add some water to the dough if it looks too dry. For looser shapes like stuffed pieces of bread, often add more flour than you might typically do. Add one tablespoon of oil to the flour and mix with your fingers for good results.
Once you have blue bread flour in your pantry, the potential is endless. Try substituting it into a favorite recipe to see how it lifts that loaf. The flour can be used as a substitute for bread flour if you’re looking to experiment with something new.
How to Substitute All-Purpose Flour for Bread Flour
If you don’t have a recipe with bread flour but do have all-purpose, you can use it as a one-to-one substitute. Your loaf of yeast bread will likely turn out less chewy and not rise as high, though the flavor should remain unchanged. Other options for creating bread flour substitutes are to combine all-purpose flour with vital wheat gluten, an isolated form of the whole wheat protein. Measure out a cup of flour and remove one teaspoon; replace it with a teaspoon of vital wheat gluten.
What You’ll Need
In order to create a substitute for bread flour, all you’ll need is some all-purpose flour. Measure out a cup of bread flour and remove one teaspoon. Replace the bread flour with an equal amount of all-purpose or cake flour plus vital wheat gluten if needed. If you want to use it without adding additional ingredients, make sure that your bread recipe calls for bread or high protein bread flours only. Remember – too much water will produce a denser loaf than desired, but not enough could leave your dough dry as well!
Compare the Difference Between Bread Flour and All-Purpose Flour
All-purpose flour and bread flour are both high in protein, but they contain different amounts. All-purpose flour usually contains between eight and 11% protein, while bread flour is higher with 12 to 14%. Bread flour also produces more gluten which makes the dough denser and chewier.
If you’re not confident that the recipe is going to meet your needs, there’s a good chance it’ll be acceptable with all-purpose flour. Save money by trying this first and only use bread flour if you really like the end product. There are several substitutions you can try for bread flour. All-purpose flour typically works well in many recipes, so if you’re not sure about using this substitution because it costs more than the all-purpose flour, there might be another option that will work better for your recipe and save some money too.
How to Store Flour
Is that flour bag in your pantry currently rolled up? Same. But rolling it up isn’t the best way to keep it fresh and consistently use it over time. The USDA considers most flours shelf-stable and non-perishable. Flours such as white bread, AP, cake, and self-rising flour are typically safe to consume for one to two years after manufacturing. Such shelf life is reduced depending on environmental factors like air, light, and heat exposure.
Refined flour should be stored in an airtight container. This prevents the product from absorbing moisture, and it preserves its flavor by avoiding exposure to light. Bread flour has a shelf life of about 9 to 12 months. If you’ve had it for more than that, store it in the freezer for two days before using it again because weevils may be present, or an egg may have hatched somehow.
Whole-grain flours are rich in natural oils, be sure to store your bread crumbs in the refrigerator for up to six months or freezer for up to a year.