bread flour

Bread flour is a high-protein flour specifically milled for use in yeasted breads.

Bread Flour

Also Known as Hard Wheat Flour


What is Bread Flour?

This is high-protein (11.5%-13% protein) flour specifically milled for use in yeasted breads where more gluten is needed to create a “matrix” of sorts, giving the dough elastic and extensible characteristics.

Origin

An African-American inventor, Joseph Lee, in Boston patented bread flour in 1902. Even earlier than this, Hovis flour was created in the UK in 1886, when miller Richard Smith discovered a way to separate wheat germ from the flour, cooking it and adding it back into the flour while preventing fermentation which would spoil the flour. Gold Medal then introduced what was called “High Protein Flour” in the 1920’s.

Function

The final bread product will have a stronger structure and chewier texture than if an all-purpose flour were used. Bread flour may also be needed in part in a chemically leavened formula if more structure, chewy or crispy texture is desired. Hard spring wheat and hard winter wheat are commonly used to produce bread flour. A blend of these two wheat varieties is preferred as to maximize desirable internal loaf characteristics, such as crumb texture, as well as loaf volume.

Types/Variations

There can be many different types of bread flours on the market, all varying in their protein level, as well as their blend. Some may have a 50-50 blend of hard winter and spring wheat, with spring wheat being typically more expensive but better in protein quality. Some even have hard white wheat blended into the mix. It can be bleached or unbleached depending on the desired characteristics of the final product. Most flour brands have bread flour available to consumers.