Choosing bread flour can seem complex once you start digging into all of the options out there to buy. Things like protein content, types of wheat, blends, and other factors to consider make it tough to decide what to try next. But those who love to bake bread eventually find their favorite brand. The problem is that the process of finding your favorite brand can take a lot of time and effort. Whether you are just starting to bake your own bread or you’ve baked for years and are just looking to switch things up, you have come to the right place.
The brand of bread flour you use will affect the final taste of your bread in subtle ways. Depending on the flavor profile you are looking to achieve, you’ll find one brand suits you better than the others. You might also find that some brands and varieties contain a higher protein content and may require adjustments such as a bit of extra water. But small differences here and there definitely affect the final product.
It can be tiring to try one brand after the other. But we have done some of the work for you and narrowed down the choices to our favorite flours for bread so you have a good starting point of tried and true brands to choose from.
One last thing before we dive in. If you are new to baking bread or you’re looking for a way to make bread easier, check out our guide to the best bread machines. If you are a “set it and forget it” type of person, a bread machine is a worthwhile investment. Now, back to our main topic – flour!
Table of Contents
- 1 My Top Choices
- 2 Different Types of Flour For Bread
- 3 Final Verdict
My Top Choices
Great River Organic Whole Wheat Bread Flour
Great River Organic Whole Wheat Bread Flour is an organic option that we list first because it is our #1 choice. This is a household favorite with my family due to the simple ingredients (hard red spring wheat) and excellent flavor.
This variety from Great River is finely ground to produce a pleasant, flavorful character and it rises well when baking. It is very versatile, but works well to make a basic whole wheat loaf. It is a little more hearty than some other options since it is whole wheat. Its protein content is 14.5%, so you may need to add some extra water to your dough to get the right consistency. But higher protein content will help your bread rise, retain shape during baking and provide an excellent texture.
It is a great option for those that own a bread machine, but also works great using any method of preparation. Great River suggests that if you do use a bread machine with this flour you should use a whole grain setting.
This flour is certified USDA organic and is approved Kosher and QAI. As is true with other organic products, it is non-GMO. What’s not to love?
Features of Great River Organic Whole Wheat Bread Flour
- Produces impressive results when used with bread machine
- Stone-ground to a finer flour
- Certified organic product
- Milled from red spring wheat
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Does the flour live up to all of the good reviews?
Answer: Based on my experience, yes! I use it for my bread, breadsticks, pizza, and many other things. It is very versatile.
Question: How different is this whole wheat flour from whole wheat pastry flour?
Answer: This is milled from whole grain red spring wheat and has higher protein content. Pastry flour, on the other hand, is made from white winter wheat and has a lower protein content.
Question: How much fiber does this flour contain?
Answer: According to the manufacturer, the flour contains 4 grams of dietary fiber for each serving (1/4 cup is a serving)
King Arthur Flour Unbleached Bread Flour
King Arthur Flour is a widely known and highly renowned brand in the baking community. Their products are high quality and the flour consistently performs well with just about anything you bake.
Like other bread flours, this one has a higher protein content at 12.7%, which is higher than you’ll find with many brands. If you like high rising yeast bread, this is a good option to try. I love the fact that their products are unbleached, do not contain preservatives and they source their wheat from American farms!
This flour works best for baking white sandwich bread or can be combined with other flours to create some unique flavors and textures. When used to make a basic white bread, it produces a nice, chewy crust. After testing this bread flour, it is one I would recommend to anyone looking for a reliable option that performs well in most recipes.
Features of King Arthur Flour Unbleached Bread Flour
- Unbleached and unbromated flour
- Higher protein content (12.7%)
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Can I use this flour to make biscuits?
Answer: You could. However, note that biscuits using this type of flour may turn out to be less flaky and chewy.
Question: Does this flour work when used in a bread machine?
Answer: Yes, it works fine. I have done it several times and it turns out great.
Question: How different is it from all-purpose flour?
Answer: Note that this is bread flour. It has a higher protein content than all-purpose flour.
King Arthur Flour Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
Another King Arthur Flour? Yes. And all-purpose, I thought we were talking about bread flour? Another yes…
The truth is that you don’t need bread flour to make bread. Though the extra protein content found in bread flour helps bread to rise and retain shape, the all-purpose flour from King Arthur works well in just about anything, including basic white breads.
All-purpose flour is a staple for any pantry and is the best choice if versatility is important to you. It is milled from 100% American wheat and unlike other cheap brands, this isn’t bleached or bromated. King Arthur Flour Unbleached All-Purpose Flour can be used for baking pastries, biscuits, cakes, pies, and of course bread!
Features of King Arthur Flour Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- Unbleached all-purpose flour
- Works well in most bread recipes
- Made from 100% American wheat
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What is the shelf life of this flour?
Answer: It depends on the way you store the product. If you keep it in the freezer, it will last longer.
Question: Is this product all natural or fortified?
Answer: It is unbleached but contains ingredients used to enrich the flour. If you want all-natural flour, look for 100% organic flour, which is available by this brand as well.
Question: Is this flour white or dark?
Answer: It is unbleached white.
White Lily Unbleached Bread Flour
White Lily bread flour is a good option for those who want something more than all-purpose flour but still want a high degree of flexibility. This bread flour is enriched to improve stability and performance. With 11% protein content, it rises and holds shape well during the baking process.
White Lily has a reputation for being great for biscuits and is cited a lot by southern cooking chefs and cooks. So if you’d like a great flour for bread as well as biscuits, this would be a great choice.
Features of White Lily Unbleached Bread Flour
- Works great with all bread machines
- Great flour for high-rising bread
- Works for bread, biscuits, pizza crusts, rolls and more
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: I do not have a bread machine, is this flour ideal for me?
Answer: Even though this flour works well with bread machines, it doesn’t mean you must have a bread machine. You can still make bread using simple tools like a wooden spoon, a bowl and an oven.
Question: Is this product soft white winter wheat?
Answer: The manufacturer does not specify the type of wheat utilized but they do indicate they use a high protein, enriched flour blend.
Bob’s Red Mill Organic Dark Rye Flour
Bob’s Red Mill Organic Dark Rye Flour is another fantastic option, even though it’s not specifically bread flour. We had to include a rye flour option because it is delicious on its own or it can be mixed with other flour varieties for an extra kick of flavor.
If you happen to be a fan of European-style dark bread then the Bob’s Red Mill Rye Flour is one you really need to try. It is a hearty option that will produce a high quality bread. You can use it in a variety of recipes and for a variety of baked items as well. If you are looking for ways to enhance the flavor in your pancakes, pizza crust, pie crust and other baked goods, this dark rye flour is the place to start.
Keep in mind making bread with 100% rye flour can be a little tricky for beginning bakers. So you might want to start off using 25% or 50% rye mixed with another type of flour such as bread flour and experiment from there.
It offers 4g of protein per serving. Plus, it is an excellent dietary source of iron and fiber. This 100% whole grain flour comes in a pack of 4 with each bag weighing 22 oz.
Features of Bob’s Red Mill Organic Dark Rye Flour
- Certified organic flour by QAI
- 100% whole grain rye flour
- Excellent source of iron and fiber
- Comes in packs of 4
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How finely-ground is this flour compared to bleached white flour?
Answer: It is very fine but not as fine as pastry flour.
Different Types of Flour For Bread
There are a large variety of flours and a lot of features that differentiate them. For professional bakers, this topic could get pretty detailed. But for those baking bread at home, there are some basic differences you should know about. Let’s go over the most common types of flour that are used for bread below.
White flour is generally lighter in color and texture than its whole wheat counterpart. The main difference between white flour and whole wheat flour is that the bran and germ are stripped from the grain, leaving behind the finer, whiter endosperm. That’s why it’s called “white” flour.
The gluten content is lower than whole wheat flour – usually between 8.5% – 10.5%. Many bakers use it together with other more hearty flours such as whole wheat to add variety, flavor, and texture.
Whole Wheat Flour
Whole wheat flour is milled from the entire wheat kernel and contains the three main parts of the grain: wheat germ, bran, and endosperm. It provides more nutrients and is heavier compared to all-purpose flour or white flour.
It contains the highest protein content (12%-15%) of all the options listed here. Due to the high protein content and heavier breads it produces, some bakers prefer mixing this flour with all-purpose flour or white flour to lighten up the texture.
White Whole Wheat Flour
White whole wheat flour is similar to whole wheat flour in that it includes the whole grain (germ, bran and endosperm). The main difference is that it uses a lighter colored variety grain and is generally a little sweeter than whole wheat flour.
All-Purpose flour is the most common flour that usually combines both hard and soft wheat. It is generally a form of white flour, meaning just the endosperm is used in processing the flour. So it contains a lower protein content of between 9-11%.
It is widely used in most baked products. You will find bleached and unbleached varieties. We recommend always using unbleached flour.
Bread Flour is produced specifically for breads, buns, pretzels and other bread items. It contains an optimal level of protein content , usually between 11% and 13% that makes bread extra chewy.
As discussed above, it is not necessary to use bread flour to make bread. But if you are looking for an easy-to-use option, you might find that bread flour is your best bet.
I have tested the above flour brands and varieties, and the differences between the end results were subtle. They are all great options and will do well in most breads you decide to bake.
My recommendation is to try several brands and see which one matches your personal preference. If you are just starting out with baking bread, you may want to start with a bread flour such as that sold by King Arthur Flour. But for those seasoned bread bakers out there, experimenting with different brands is a great way to add variety to your breadmaking repertoire.