The difference between cake flour, all purpose flour and bread flour. Which do you need, and why?

An explanation of the different types of flour available, and which type is right for your particular baking needs.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that cake flour is good for cake, and bread flour is good for…wait for it…Bread! But why, and why do some all purpose flours seem to make great bread, and others turn out disappointing loaves, and what the heck is self raising flour anyway?

The primary difference between different types of flour are the quantity of the wheat germ and bran that are milled with the flour, and the type of wheat used for the flour, and the relative protein content of that wheat.

Whole wheat flour is simply wheat that has been milled into flour with some, or all, of the germ and bran still attached.

Additionally, different varieties of wheat contain different amounts of protein, and the more protein is contained in the flour, the higher gluten it has.

Gluten are the strands of amino acid proteins that bind together in a bread dough after the mixture of water, and the creation of longer and stronger chains of gluten through mechanical mixing (kneading). The higher the protein content, the more gluten can be developed. These chains of gluten are important for bread, as they are what allow the dough to capture the created gasses during the cooking and leavening processes, and expand from dense to light. High gluten is not considered an asset when making pastries, pie crusts, biscuits etc, as the gluten can make these tough and chewy.

The protein contents are approximately:

Cake flour:7-8%

Southern all purpose flour:7.5-9.5%

Northern all purpose flour:11-12%

Bread flour:12-13%

There is a difference between all purpose flour from the southern climates, and that from more northern climates, and the more northerly grown the wheat, the higher the gluten content. This can explain why an all purpose flour bought in Wisconsin makes a great bread, and an all purpose flour bought in Alabama doesn't.

Whole wheat flour is high in protein, but the protein from the germ and bran is not well turned into gluten, and as such, whole wheat breads tend to be heavier, but more flavorful then white flour breads. Rye bread contains very little gluten, and as such 100% rye breads are very dense.

Cake flour is a low gluten flour that has also been chemically altered slightly for better use in cake baking.

Self raising flour is generally all purpose flour that has had baking powder mixed in, and do not require any additional baking powder to be added when making biscuits, pancakes or muffins.

So, if you are making bread, use a northern all purpose, or bread flour, and if making pastry, use a southern all purpose, cake or pastry flour. Always look for flour labeled unbleached, as it tastes better, and store whole wheat flour in the fridge or freezer.

The reason that you spend so much time kneading when making a breads dough, is to create lots of these strong gluten chains, and if you under knead, your bread will generally fail to rise well.

Don’t worry too much about it all though, as most of the time, using whatever flour you have on hand will work out just fine, and you should never not bake that apple pie, just because you only have bread flour on hand. Bake those cookies; make that bread, and enjoy the aroma of home baking; it's always appreciated.

From the very well respected King Arthur milling company

Comments 136 comments

Debbie Cook profile image

Debbie Cook 9 years ago from USA

I mix flours when I make bread from scratch. I like to use about a third whole wheat flour with my wheat flour. The texture is still soft but the flavor is stronger.


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 9 years ago Author

Hi Debbie,

That's a pretty common technique, as most people find a 100% whole wheat bread to be a bit too dense and heavy, due to the lack of gluten in a whole wheat flour. By mixing together the whole wheat with white (bread) flour you get some of the taste and nutritional benefits of the whole wheat flour, with the leavening ability of the higher gluten white bread flour.

You sound like you make a mean loaf!

French "white flour" is considered superior by many, as more of the bran is milled into the flour, giving the flour a slightly tan coloration, and a more robust taste. You can mimic this if desired by adding a small percentage of whole wheat flour (10%) into your bread flour, when making a straight white loaf.

Thanks for the comment


snapdharlich profile image

snapdharlich 9 years ago

I hope you don't mind me asking but what's the reason for storing the wheatflour in the fridge or freezer?


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 9 years ago Author

The wheat germ and bran that are milled with the grain in a whole wheat flour are far more perishable, and can go rancid over time. By storing whole wheat flour in the freezer, you greatly extend the usable shelf life.

Thanks for the comment


Madeline. Ak 9 years ago

i have a receipe that mixes corn flour with plain flour to bake cookies. Why do we do so?


Zahra 9 years ago

I've heard that you can substitute cornstarch and all-purpose flour for cake flour? Would you happen to know if this is true and the texture come sout the same?


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 9 years ago Author

I'm afraid I don't know if the taste would be the same, but cornstarch is gluten free, so by mixing in some with all purpose flour you would lower the overall gluten content down into the range of cake flour. Cake flour is not simply low gluten flour though, it is also chemically treated to make it more usefull in cake bakery.

Sorry I can't be more helpful, but I'd guess that it would work, but would not work as well as real cake flour.


bop profile image

bop 9 years ago from Where it is cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

This is a great hub. I always wondered the difference.


aiko 8 years ago

THANKS FOR THE INFORMATION JOHN..=)


Phyllis Cummins  8 years ago

another question, I have a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that calls for both pastry and bread flour , can any one tell me why those instead of all purpose


Phyllis Cummins  8 years ago

another question, I have a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that calls for both pastry and bread flour , can any one tell me why those instead of all purpose


moonlake profile image

moonlake 8 years ago from America

Wisconsin flour makes a great bread...........I didn't know that and I'm living in Wis. but from the South.

Enjoyed your hub.


Bron 8 years ago

I have been trying to find "bread flour" in the supermarket but all I come up with is Bakers Flour and Bread Mix, so which should I use as there is nothing that just says Bread Flour. Help!


Tina 8 years ago

I have a cookie recipe that calls for whole wheat flour and whole wheat pastry flour, I have not seen the pastry flour at any stores I've been to, so I was wondering can I just use ALL whole wheat flour or if I should just use regular all purpose flour instead of the pastry flour??? Any info will be helpful, thanks!


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 8 years ago Author

Hi Tina,

You can probably get away with either! The whole wheat pastry flour is likely just of a finer texture, so you could omit it without drasticaly different results. You could also substitute regular pastry flour for the whole wheat pastry flour.

If you want to keep the texture similar, I would substitute equal parts whole wheat flour and all purpose for the whole wheat pastry flour. If you want to keep them all whole wheat for health reasons, I am sure that will work too - although the cookies may have a slightly coarser texture.

Thanks for the coment - and happy baking!


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 8 years ago Author

Hi Bron,

I would suspect that Bakers flour is all-purpose. Check the Bread mix, and as long as there are no ingredients listed beyond wheat - then that is surely bread flour!


fren123 profile image

fren123 8 years ago from Malaysia

Thanks, now I know the difference.


Yvette 8 years ago

I'm trying to make madelines, and need a substitute for cake flour. I know how to substitute with all-purpose flour, but is there any way I can do it with bread flour?


Anna 8 years ago

I have celiac disease and cannot have gluten. For recipes that call for cake flour, would a gluten free flour and and glutne free binder work the same


Laraine 8 years ago

If a bread recipe calls for all purpose flour but I am using bread flour, do I still use the same amount that the recipe calls for?

Thanks


Joanne 8 years ago

My recipe calls for all purpose flour, but can i substitute bread flour for my chocolate chip cookies? Thanks


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 8 years ago Author

Hi Joanne,

You can definitely use bread flour for cookies - they just won't be quite as tender as they would be with all purpose - but not a big deal.


Biagio 7 years ago

Finally, although I figured out through trial and error...by mixing 1/2 all purpose with 1/2 bread flour and soft kneeding, makes for a great pizza dough. I have been experimenting for 8 yrs. Then finally tried different mixtures of flours, kneeding technics, cold water, warm water, sugar proofing, live yeast, dry active etc. I think I have it but welcom your comments. Great hub and thanks.

-Biagio


Camille 7 years ago

Quick question: I have a recipe for a pound cake that asks for cake flour in the recipe. Can I substitute with just plain regular All-Purpose flour? Or would that be a bad idea and not turn out as good???

Thanks in advance to whomever helps me out


amanda 7 years ago

Hi there!

I'm gna bake Cinnamon Rolls later but my recipe calls for just flour. and i only have Bread flour. Can i use it? And i always am confused, what's the difference between plain flour and all purpose ? What different results do they produce? And which is the best for Cinnamon rolls? (so they turn out soft and fluffy but not too hard)

thanks alot !


C. E. O' Neal 7 years ago

For your dumpling lovers whose dumplings fall apart, both in trying to roll them out or cooking them. The Secret for success is the kind of flour used, the kneading process, and rolling them out. I suggest you use an all Purpose plain white flour. Gently mix the flour into warm brouth. Knead the mixture for at least 10-15 minutes(this releases the flour gluten and toughens the mix) until it becomes a silky, elastic, non sticky ball. Rollout dough about 1/8" thin on a floured surface. Cut the rolled out dough in two inch wide strips. Gently remove and drop in boiling brouth. [DO NOT OVER CROWD else the dumplings will stick together] Cook in light boilling brouth about 15 -20 minutes till done. Gently stir dumplings frequently to prevent sticking an or scorching.


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 7 years ago Author

Thank you very much for taking the time to share your secrets to great dumplings!


joe 7 years ago

Camille ,

cake flour is very fine low gluten if you substitute you need to subtract 2 TBS all-purpose flour for every cup.

store flour in freezer(or at least a couple hours) to kill any bugs or eggs that may be left.


Lisa 7 years ago

great article on types of flour. very helpful!


Heidi 7 years ago

Great information! I have only seen whole wheat pastry flour, but never white pastry flour (in a good number of stores big and small). Is there a reason, or just our local stores don't stock it?


Leslie  7 years ago

I would like to make my own all-purpose flour by mixing hard wheat flour and soft wheat flour.

Is the ratio 3 parts hard wheat to 1 part soft?


Jen 7 years ago

Just wanted to say thank you for the info. I am making a cake using my grandmothers recipe and she has written "cake flour", wasn't sure what the difference would be using my all purpose that I have on hand. She's not with me any more to ask (bless her), so I found you. Grandma's recipe it is then!! Thanks again!


Walter 7 years ago

SO, dose it really matter if you use a northern all purpose flower vs a bread flower? I want to make bread!!!! and mi madre keeps telling me you need bread flower.


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 7 years ago Author

Leslie, I'm sorry, but I don't know what the specific ratios of hard and soft wheat would be. I suspect they vary considerabley.


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 7 years ago Author

Walter, you can certainly use a Northern All-Purpose flour to make bread - don't let the lack of bread flour stop you. Many artisan bread bakers prefer slightly softer wheat than as in bread flour, and the flour used in France for bread is much closer to our Northern All Purpose than our bread flour. Bread flour will give you a better rise though.


Esther Selman 7 years ago

Very interesting hub! I've been cooking for years without knowing the difference between the flours. I do wonder, though, why King Arthur flour makes my bread taste more yummy than Pillsbury, and why the no-knead method of bread making works so well?


merlita 7 years ago

i have a recipe of chocolate cake that calls for an all purpose flour instead of the cake flour..is there a difference? and what's the difference of the all purpse flour to the unbleached APF? which one is better to use for a cake?


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 7 years ago Author

Merlita,

The all purpose flour has more gluten than the cake flour - but both will work for your recipe - use what you have would be my advice. Unbleached flour is always better than bleached flour - unless you really like the look of white white flour and don't mind the taste of bleaching agents!


Vivian 7 years ago

I would like to make some really crunchy choc chip cookies that does not spread too much and makes it too thin. Does any one knows what's the best best type of flour to use (cake, all purpose or self raising) or the combination of the flours that can product this result? Thank you.


Novi 7 years ago

Hi,

is it possible to substitute all purpose flour to wheat flour (says it's for cake and bread) when making brownies? i went to the market to day, and all purpose flour is out of stock, and i just bought the wheat flour one..>,< (the recipe use all purpose)..

thx!! ^^


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 7 years ago Author

Hi Novi,

The what flour you bought very likely is all purpose flour - feel free to use it, it should be fine. Best of luck!


celticpride01 7 years ago

Excellent article but, I have a slightly different problem then knowing the difference between them. I noticed a number of people suggested reading the bag.

What if you no longer have the bags? I put my different types of flours (self-rising,all purpose,bread,bread machine) in unmarked containers! Long story but it goes without saying it was not intentional.

Now i have four containers of flour and no idea which is which.

I read somewhere there's a way to tell the difference. I think it involved adding a specific amounts of water/ flour together and observing the reaction/results.

Sound familiar to anyone? Any other ideas?

All help greatly appreciated.


Kathryn 7 years ago

I have a great banana bread recipe and am looking for a spongy texture vs bread-like. I used an all purpose flour and got the bread like texture. Any thoughts?

Thanks


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 7 years ago Author

Hi Kathryn,

try cake flour, it should give you a more spongy texture


grace 7 years ago

Why cake flour and bread flour are mixed in some recipes like brownies? thanks


Davis Freeberg 7 years ago

Great article, it was very informative. I had no idea that gluten could be so interesting. I especially liked how you ended it on an encouraging note. I wasn't going to bake my cake until I read that. Now I am going to try half all-purpose and use bread flour for the rest. We'll see how it turns out.


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 7 years ago Author

Hi Davis,

Good luck with your flour mix - let us know how it turns out for you!


Joan Jackson 7 years ago

I found a recipe for a butter pound cake, but it didn't say what kind of flour. It just said 2 c. of flour. Do you know if i can use cake or all purpose flour?


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 7 years ago Author

If the recipe doesn't indicate cake flour - I'd probably go with all purpose.


Nancy Spivey 7 years ago

My husband brought me home a 25 lb bag of Enriched and Bleached All-Purpose H&R Flour for me to make cakes with. Will this work and is there any advice for making sure it turns out great.


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 7 years ago Author

Hi Nancey,

All purpose is a flour that performs up to its name - it will work fine for most tasks and I am sure it will make lovely cakes. You will be fine.

Next time, if possible, you might want to seek out unbleached flour though. It's a small point, but you don't really need whiter than white flour and you don't need bleaching agents in your flour either!


lebohang phetla 6 years ago

i think cake flour can be used also to bake bread


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas

You write really well. Glad I stumbled on you here. I'd like to link this hub to one of my cake recipe hubs. Would that be okay?


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 6 years ago Author

Hi rmcrayne,

Thanks for the compliment, and you are very welcome to link to this hub!


Cherrille McLean 6 years ago

I have a bag of bread flour that was packed two years ago but not old in my house, bought just maybe two months ago. I am wondering what constitutes "old" before you have to worry about mold?


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 6 years ago Author

Hi Cherrille,

Bread flour can mold, especially if exposed to moisture, but in general the shelf life of refined white flours is long. You should be alright, although you should definitely discard if you see any evidence of mold. The flour may well taste a bit stale, however.


CayC 6 years ago

Hello, I was wondering... I am wanting to make some Shrewsbury Drops (a type of cookie) and it calls for 1 1/4 cups of cake flour, but I unfortunately do not have any cake flour. I have stocked up on white (unbleached) all purpose flour though and was wondering how much of it to use, or if I even can use it in these cookies? Any info would help. I am just learning how to make homemade cookies (newlywed) and would love any help anyone could offer!

Thanks! CayC


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 6 years ago Author

Hi CayC,

Go ahead and use the all purpose flour for your cookies instead of the cake flour - you'll be fine!


6 years ago

Thanks for so much insightful information. I will be on my way to my baking exploration. :)


ezy 6 years ago

Thanks John for the info. I'm from Labuan Island, Malaysia and we don't have many choices of flour here. So, it's really helpful to know the substitute for certain flour. Love your hub.


avatart 6 years ago

Hi John, I am new to baking. I am trying to make tasty treats that are more healthful for my family. I am wondering if adding wheat gluten to 100 % whole wheat flour will give me better results when baking whole wheat breads and pastries. Any advice will be greatly appreciated.


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 6 years ago Author

HI Avatart,

Whole wheat and rye breads tend to be denser - adding vital wheat gluten to the dough will increase the strength of the gluten in the dough and will promote a better rise and a lighter bread.

I am less of an expert on using whole wheat flour in pastries, but since many pastries benefit from lower gluten (pie crusts, for example) adding wheat gluten to such doughs may have a negative effect.

Best of luck!

John


Kathryn 6 years ago

So glad I found your site you have excellent advice! I grind my own wheat. I use a hard red and a soft white. I usually buy my wheat berries from Wheat Montana. My question is can I grind my own bread flour? I have different settings from pastry to regular. Any thoughts?


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 6 years ago Author

Hi Kathryn,

I am sorry to be of little help, but grinding wheat is beyond my area of expertise!


JOHN 6 years ago

I live in an area where all purpose flour is not available. What is best alternative for making pita? We can get cake flour,plain flour and self raising flour.


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 6 years ago Author

John, Of the three you mention, plain flour sounds like your best bet.


Laurence 6 years ago

I want to make bread but where I live they don't have bread flour. Can I use all purpose flour and add some Vital gluten so as to get the result of the bread flour?


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 6 years ago Author

Hi Laurence,

Yes that would work out - although most all purpose flours will also work OK for bread.


ardsahalm 6 years ago

a waffle recipe calls for cake flour, but if i use all purpose flour will it make a difference?


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 6 years ago Author

All purpose flour will work fine, the waffles may just have a slight bit more chew to them than those made with cake flour.


simran 6 years ago

In India we do not get self raising flour can you please suggest how can i substitute it with normal plain all purpose flour or a refined kind of cake flour


Steve 6 years ago

Can I turn soft red wheat into bread flour by adding gluten?


aimee 6 years ago

In answer to a previous post, you mentioned storing flour in the freezer to kill any bugs and/or eggs. Is that a common problem with flour and does that go for all types of flour? Those are certainly not the kind of eggs I want in my baked goods! ;)


Roxana 6 years ago

Hi John!

Thank you for the very interesting article! I have a question: I live in Canada where we use "all-purpose" flour for most bread/cake recipes and they turn out great, but a friend of mine who lives in Slokavia and bakes goods from various European recipes needs "Manitoba flour" for an Italian panettone recipe that calls for this particular kind of flour. Up until now, I've never heard of "Manitoba flour", so I did some research and I understand that, for the Italians, "Manitoba flour" is flour with a higher gluten content (maybe like the "all purpose" that is found in Canada, therefore the name "Manitoba flour"?). Is it correct? And if so, can my friend obtain a high-gluten content flour simply by mixing very small amounts of "gluten flour" (which is also available here, in Canada) with the flour that is available to her in Slovakia?

Thank you!


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 6 years ago Author

Hi Aimee,

flour that is opened and left for a long time in storage can attract insects. They are very small, but still...not what you want! If you are keeping flour for a while, just be sure to store it in something airtight or in the freezer and you will be fine!


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 6 years ago Author

Roxana, yes, you can add mix very high gluten flours with lower gluten flours to get a stronger 'bread' flour.


Brad 6 years ago

Hi John,

great info I have cake flour and want to bake bread, can i knead the dough longer for a better bread

thank you.


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 6 years ago Author

Hi Brad,

More kneading will improve things up to a point (it's hard to overknead if doing it by hand) but the cake flour just lacks the gluten you'll need to get a robust rise.


Sam Rao 6 years ago

Hey John, iv been eating whole wheat for a while but recently learned that the high gluten content of that isn't very beneficial. So, im thinking of switching to "Organic Pastry Flour" , thats a good choice right?


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 6 years ago Author

Hi Sam,

The kind of flour that's best kind of depends on what you plan on baking.


Sammy 6 years ago

Recipe calls for wheat pastry flour and wheat bran for the carrot cake. Can I substitute with any other flour?

Thanks.


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 6 years ago Author

Hi Sammy, you could definitely get away with all purpose as a sub for the pastry. Not sure if other grain brans would substitute as well for the wheat bran...


Caitlin Tanaka 5 years ago

can i use bread plain flour to bake cookies?


v_kahleranderson profile image

v_kahleranderson 5 years ago from San Jose, California

I came across your hub by accident, and I am very glad I did. You offer a load of wonderful information here.


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 5 years ago Author

Caitlin, you can use bread flour, but use just a little bit less than you would all purpose. Because of the extra gluten, the cookies made with bread flour might be a little bit tougher.


abby 5 years ago

in a recipe, can u substitute corn flour with all purpose flour?


komal 5 years ago

h i john i like your hub .....it's really very informative for me... thanks john.


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 5 years ago Author

Abby - corn flour has no gluten, so it won't react the same way in many recipes as any kind of wheat flour.


N. Anderson 5 years ago

My husband works with a guy whose girlfriend bakes cinnamon rolls and bread. She has experimented for years, and finally found a way to keep her fresh baked rolls and bread fresh as just baked, for days. She refuses to share her secret with anyone. Those of us who bake bread and rolls would love to know how this can be done. Does anyone have a clue what the secret to baking rolls and bread that stay fresh for days might be?


bredy girl 5 years ago

why do the french put milk in there bread?


tracy 5 years ago

I was wondering what is the difference between southern pastry and plain pastry?


mademarion 5 years ago

I have a grain grinder and make my own whole wheat flour, is there any way I can make all-purpose flour?


Frieda 5 years ago

Came across this site while looking for pastry flour ~ lots of good information! Perhaps I could help answer a couple of the more recent questions:

@N. Anderson ~ I have found that adding Vital Wheat Gluten (1 T. per 3 c. flour) has increased the shelf life of my bread by a few days. Others swear by crushing vitamin C tablets and adding it to their breads, which I haven't tried. The bread around here gets eaten up quickly!

@Bredy girl ~ milk is used as a tenderizer in breads. An example is using milk in dinner rolls, creating a more tender, lighter crumb texture.

@Mademarion ~ All purpose flour comes from a blend of ground soft wheat and hard wheat. The ratio varies from region to region. If you sift your freshly ground hard/soft white wheat through a fine sieve, you will remove the bran which makes bread dough dense.


Carol H. 5 years ago

My daughter told me, she made two batches of cookies this weekend. She sent her husband to the store to buy some new flour. My daughter never looked at flour in its package. She just used the new flour in her cookie recipes. She said the cookies were wonderful all even in size and nice & chewy. Here she made her cookies with bread flour. She said her family loved her cookies.


Furnace Fighter 5 years ago

What is the difference between bread flour and Best For Bread Flour Hodgson Mill. Have a bunch of recipes that call for Best for Bread flour, they have stopped selling this stuff, and the one place that does, wants a stiff price for a small bag. Read somewhere more gluten added and a small amount of rye flour?


Furnace Fighter 5 years ago

What is the difference between bread flour and Best For Bread Flour Hodgson Mill. Have a bunch of recipes that call for Best for Bread flour, they have stopped selling this stuff, and the one place that does, wants a stiff price for a small bag. Read somewhere more gluten added and a small amount of rye flour?


mathis patterson 5 years ago

what can you put in regular flour to turn it into soft flour i was told corn starch


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 5 years ago Author

Furnace fighter - I'm not familiar with the brand, but i suspect that if you used any type of bread flour as a replacement, you'd do fine.

Mathis, corn starch would certainly lower the gluten content, but it might also change the taste somewhat. I'd try using cake flour.


eatlikenoone profile image

eatlikenoone 5 years ago from Saline, MI

Thanks for sharing with people the difference in flour types. It's so important to use that right flour for what you are trying to do. I just got some cake flour today to use in my fried fish batter. I want less protein, so less gluten and more crisp fish.


DiItYourSelfer 5 years ago

I live in South Africa. We only have 2 kinds of white flour here (other than Self-raising): Bread Flour and Cake Flour. I want to make American Biscuit Mix but the recipe calls for 8 cups of All-purpose Flour. Would it work if I used 5 cups (plus 1 tablespoon) of White Flour and 3 cups of Bread Flour?


elle libby 5 years ago

i have a recipe for monkey bread...one calls for bread flour and the other all purpose...which would be better?


Wendy 5 years ago

I am amazed at the information provided here on your site, and even nore impressive is the amount of years you've been helping others so I firstly want to say thank you.

I'm making these wheat rolls

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/soft_whole_wheat...

and used all purpose for the major portion of it, except for the 1/2 cup for kneading in. While the recipe says it will be sticky.... its very sticky. Is it possible to still have soft dinner rolls without using cake flour? I've noticed using wheat flour tends to make my loaves dry and I always use vital wheat gluten.

Im in a very experimental stage right now.


Kenny 5 years ago

I just moved from the south to the northwest to start college. I found that alterations needed to be made to my mom's bread recipe for it to taste like she makes it. I have to add more water, and more yeast. I also get better bread by mixing 1 cup bread flour, and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour; everything has to be warm, and even the order the various ingredients are added. I'm happy to figure these things out, but why? Why would it make a difference from the warm, humid south, to the frigid northwest? Probably a stupid question, but I'm really curious...


Roxie 5 years ago

Regarding the question about cornstarch and all purpose flour as a substitution for cake flour... It's is said that all purpose flour is equivelant to slightly less volume of flour than cake flour, app. 1 Tbsp. less per cup. So, some say add cornstarch in that amount (1 T to the all purpose flour to equal 1 cup total volume.) This is said to more closely resemble the density and other properties of cake flour. Can't vouch for it myself, I have yet to try it but will post back on my results!!


eclecticeducation profile image

eclecticeducation 5 years ago

Thank you for this info!


cheri 5 years ago

thanks for this great and informative article!=)


AW 5 years ago

I live in China where we only have high gluten and low gluten flour available. Which flour is best to make cookies? (sugar, peanut butter, chocolate chip, etc)


Sam 5 years ago

I have recipes that call for cake flour which is not available in the uk. Does anyone know what can I substitute it for?


angel 5 years ago

can i use bread flour to make pie crust or do i need to go to the store and buy all purpose flour?


arham 4rm khewra pakistan 5 years ago

can any one tell me that can we not use all purpose flour instead of cake flour?according to the recipe cake flour has to add but i have no cake flour cant i use all purpose flour in stead of cake flour ? please guide me


kiki berg 5 years ago

can any one tell me if one can buy unrefined wholegrains from the flower mills?


John D Lee profile image

John D Lee 5 years ago Author

Kenny - flour grown and sold in the south tends to have lower gluten content than northern milled flours - hence southern cooking has evolved around things like biscuits, which work very well with lower gluten flours. This is why you need different amounts of water in recipes using northern or southern flours


kenny chang 5 years ago

hi john,

what are the different between cake.bread and pastry flour by seeing and touching them?


Habibeh Alikhan 5 years ago

cake flour for cakes has been disappointing, because these cakes seem too smooth in texture, I prefer all purpose flour. An old book that I still have is "The Desert Lover's Cookbook" by Marlene Sorosky.

All her cakes have turned out great and she only uses all purpose flour in her recipes. Whereas the cake recipes that I got off the Internet including from "Joy of Baking" Martha Stewart, or any other website those that use cake flour have been very disappointing


HEATHER COETZER 5 years ago

MAYBE COMMENTS ABOVE ME HAVE ANSWERED THE QUESTION TO THE USE AND BENEFITS OF CORN FLOWER IN COOKIES AND BISCUITS BUT THERE TOO MANY FOR ME TO READ THROUGH SO ILL SAY WHY I INSIST ON ADDING 1 1/2 TBS CORN FLOWER TO MY BISCUIT MIXTURE..... IT MAKES THEM DIVINELY "CRUNCHIER" TRY IT!!!!


Masuzyo 5 years ago

So can self raising flour be used in cake making? i have a cake recipe that calls for the addition of bicarbonate of soda and i only have self raising flour in the house,and yogurt on hand to compliment the soda?....


Barbara 5 years ago

Okay, I have a bread making machine and have been using bread flour for the machine to make my dough as well as other breads. I live in MN. So are you telling me I have been buying higher priced Bread Flour when I do not need to be??


Keola 4 years ago

I have an odd question:

I have whole wheat flour, and some vital wheat gluten flour. I want to make banana bread.

If I have been understanding everything right, I can add 1 tblsp. of vital wheat gluten to the 2 cups of whole wheat flour I am using in the bread and that should make it lighter/fluffier and less heavy/dense?? Great useful hub, thanks so much!


Stephon 4 years ago

This is very good for kids who are in science fair.Fluffy pancakes are the best


Cindy 4 years ago

I am making 4 banana breads, which willrequire 5 1/4 cups of all purpose flour. I only have 3 cups, but have cake and pastry flour. Can I mix the two flours. thanks in advance for advice


will 4 years ago

can you use self raising flor instead of strong white bread flour?


NancyG 4 years ago

I have a recipe for butter cookies that calls for bread flour - can I use all-purpose flour?


ml 4 years ago

Cake flour or all purpose flour for red velvet cake which is better


Regine 4 years ago

Just a comment regarding using all purpose and cake flour in cakes. I hate the strange after taste of cake flour. I have always and successfully use 3/4 cup all purpose flour plus 2 tbsp of cornstarch for every cup of cake flour. Try it. It leads superb results!


tam 4 years ago

i want to make a pund cake but its requiring cake flour, can i use all purpose flour instead?


kim 4 years ago

Can or should I use bread flour in my biscuits? I've always used AP flour in everything except for home made bread. I'm just wondering if I could improve my biscu.


Anthony 4 years ago

I like to bake but had no idea about different floures. I wanted to know what type of flour should I use for pizza dough.


mark 4 years ago

I am trying to clone KFC breading to get that light color with the thickness that it has can anyone help thanks..


Ekk 4 years ago

very good and useful knowledge, thank you!


Melissa 4 years ago

I make all of our bread in my bread machine. Our food co-op carries organic all purpose and organic pastry flour but no bread flour so I've been using pastry flour. Should I use all-purpose or continue using the pastry flour and add gluten. If so, how much gluten should I add? Thanks!


mrsgroom 4 years ago

I need to make cinnamon rolls and only have bread flour do you think they will turn out ok? From what I have read seems like it will be ok. I do have a little all purpose flour I can mix in , but I dont have to mix.

Thanks for all the information.


Rickrodri 4 years ago

John D, Thanks for all the great info! Here's yet another question for you. If all purpose flour already has baking powder in it and the recipe calls for 1 tsp more baking powder, and I would like to use cake flour for my cupcake recipe instead, in addition to the 1 tsp, how much more baking powder would I have to add to the cake flour? Thank you.


Liz Cumbria England 4 years ago

Hi just made a traditional banana bread using bread flour even though it states use plain .... it has worked and a good and flavour(Telegraph Cook Book 1984) texture added less sugar as we have a diabetic family member. Sometimes I make muffins could I use bread flour for this? Thanks.


Ezra 4 years ago

What do you recommend for a pie crust that is gluten free?? THanks


RY 2 years ago

Can I use unbleached white whole wheat flour in a recipe that calls for unbleached flour?


Teresa 6 months ago

Is there any difference between South African and Canadian flour. A lot of my recipes that worked in SA don't work here. Any suggestions?

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