What's the Difference Between All-Purpose Flour and Bread Flour?

Ingredient Questions

Q: I've come across numerous recipes over the years for different types of bread. Some have asked for bread flour and I've always substituted all-purpose. What's the difference between the two? Is using AP flour in place of bread flour causing my bread to be heavy and dense?

Sent by Anne

Editor: Bread flour has more protein content than all-purpose, which helps with gluten development. Some recipes call for it when an especially chewy and elastic crumb is desired.

You'll notice some difference in crumb and texture with breads made with each flour, but the flours can generally be substituted for one another. I tend to exclusively use AP flour, too! If anything, using bread flour will give you a heavier and denser loaf; if you're getting heavy, dense loaves with AP flour, then something else might be going on.

What's the Difference? Cake Flour, Pastry Flour, All-Purpose Flour, and Bread Flour

Readers, what do you think about breads made with bread flour or AP flour?


Related: Bread Baking Clinic: Under-Kneading and Over-Kneading

(Image: Emma Christensen)

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