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Old 08-19-2010, 10:48 AM   #1
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Bread flour? What is it?

I have always wondered what bread flour actually means.
Does anybody know?

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Old 08-19-2010, 11:11 AM   #2
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Bread flour has a higher content of gluten than all purpose or cake flour. Gluten is what makes bread hold together and makes it chewy rather than fall apart like a cake does.
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Old 08-19-2010, 11:16 AM   #3
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Bread flour is a higher protein flour. Flours are categorized by the amount of protein they contain. Cake flour is a lower protein flour, all-purpose flour is a medium protein flour and bread flour is a high protein flour.

This is important because the protein level determines the texture of the finished product. When you make a dough with flour, the protein produces gluten. More gluten makes breads chewier and tougher while less gluten makes cakes softer and more tender. AP flour in the middle gluten-wise will give you less chewy breads and less soft and tender cakes.

Keep in mind that a higher protein flour takes more water to make a dough so you cannot make a one for one substitution in a recipe.
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Old 08-19-2010, 11:21 AM   #4
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I grew up in wheat country. It's all about the kind of wheat that was ground to make the flour.

Hard Red Winter - The dominant U.S. export class and
the largest class produced each year, Hard Red Winter
is produced in the Great Plains states, a large interior
area extending from the Mississippi River west to the
Rocky Mountains and from Canada to Mexico. With
a wide range of protein content, good milling and
baking characteristics, it is used to produce bread,
rolls and all-purpose flour.

Hard Red Spring - This wheat contains the highest
percentage of protein, making it an excellent bread
wheat with superior milling and baking characteristics.

Durum - The hardest of all wheats, and consistently
the class with the lowest export volume, Durum
accounts for less than 5 percent of all U.S. wheat
exports. Used to make semolina flour for pasta

Hard White - The newest class of wheat to be grown
in the United States, Hard White Wheat is closely
related to red wheats. This wheat has a milder, sweeter
flavor, equal fiber and similar milling and baking properties.
It is used mainly in yeast breads, hard rolls, bulgur, tortillas and
oriental noodles.

Soft Red Winter and Soft White - are high yielding, but have a
relatively low percentage of protein. Used for
flat breads, cakes, pastries, and crackers

.40
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Old 08-19-2010, 04:02 PM   #5
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Thank you guys, very much ...Now I get it.
Once I bought a small bag of just gluten (in a healthfood store), and the lady who sold it to me said it could be added to regular flour for extra elasticity, etc...She did not explain it as well as you guys did.
My bread making here in Mexico is not as satisfactory as it used to be in the USA, but it is better than the Bimbo bread they sell here is.
May be if I were to add (let's say a TBS) of gluten to one pound of this Mexican extra fina flour (I have no idea what kind of flour it is, but it appears to be on the soft side), would I get something similar to bread flour?
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Old 08-19-2010, 04:15 PM   #6
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Perhaps you could order some flour from King Arthur or look around for white unbleached whole wheat, and some durum (semolina).
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Old 08-19-2010, 05:13 PM   #7
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... and some of the loveliest bread flour is stone ground, whole wheat.
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Old 08-19-2010, 06:09 PM   #8
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I love to use whole wheat flour.
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Old 08-22-2010, 04:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zfranca View Post
I have always wondered what bread flour actually means.
Does anybody know?
Just a fancy name for all purpose flour

Frank 2022
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Old 08-22-2010, 04:09 PM   #10
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Bread flour has more gluten in it, perfect for making dough. The "unbleached" version is the flour best suited as it has a lovely flavour, and hasn't been treated, unlike 'all purpose', unless 'all purpose' is organically certified.
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