Deciphering High Gluten Flour and Bread Flour

In the world of baking, the terms “high gluten flour” and “bread flour” are often used interchangeably, leading to confusion among home bakers and enthusiasts. However, it is important to understand the differences between these two types of flours in order to achieve the desired results in your baking endeavors. In this expert article, we will delve into the characteristics of high gluten flour and bread flour to shed light on whether they are, in fact, the same.

High Gluten Flour

As the name suggests, high gluten flour contains a higher concentration of gluten proteins. Gluten, which is formed when wheat flour combines with water, provides structure and elasticity to baked goods. High gluten flour is typically made from hard wheat varieties, such as durum or hard red wheat, which have a higher protein content. The higher protein content contributes to the formation of a strong and elastic gluten network, making high gluten flour ideal for applications that require a chewy and dense texture, such as bagels, pizza dough and some artisan breads.

Bread Flour

Bread flour is a type of flour specifically formulated for bread making. It is made from durum wheat varieties with high protein content, similar to high gluten flour. However, the main difference is the exact protein content and the presence of certain additives. Bread flour typically has a slightly lower protein content than high gluten flour, but it is still higher than all-purpose flour. It is often fortified with additives such as malted barley flour or ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which improve gluten development, dough elasticity and overall bread structure. Bread flour is commonly used in a wide variety of bread recipes, from sandwich loaves to artisan breads, because it provides a balance of strength, volume and texture.

The Difference Between High Gluten and Bread Flours

While high gluten flours and bread flours share similarities in terms of protein content and gluten-forming potential, they are not identical. The key difference lies in their specific protein content and any additional additives present in bread flour. High gluten flour tends to have a higher protein content and is often used in specialty recipes where a strong gluten structure is desired. Bread flour, on the other hand, is a more versatile option that provides good results in a variety of bread-making applications.

Protein content

  • High gluten flour has a very high protein content, around 13% to 14%, making it ideal for recipes that require a dense and chewy texture, such as bagels or artisan breads.
  • Bread flour, with a slightly lower protein content of 11% to 13%, strikes a balance between strength and versatility. It works well in a wide range of bread recipes, including sandwich loaves and artisan breads.

Gluten Development

  • High gluten flour’s high protein content results in a strong gluten structure, which produces a firm and stretchy dough that is great for chewy textures.
  • Bread flour provides ample gluten development, giving breads good rise, volume and desirable crumb structure.

Additional additives

  • High gluten flour is usually pure flour with no additives.
  • Bread flours may contain additives such as malted barley flour or ascorbic acid to enhance gluten development and texture.

When to use each flour

Use high gluten flour for recipes that specifically call for a dense and chewy texture, such as bagels or artisan breads.
Bread flour is versatile and suitable for most bread recipes, providing good gluten development, volume, and texture.

Understanding these differences will help you choose the right flour for your desired baking results.

Common Flours Used in Baking

In addition to high gluten flour and bread flour, several other types of flour are commonly used in baking. Here are a few examples:

  • All-purpose flour: All-purpose flour is a versatile flour that can be used in a variety of baking applications. It is a blend of hard and soft wheat varieties and has a moderate protein content. All-purpose flour works well in recipes that require a balance of tenderness and structure, such as cookies, cakes, muffins and quick breads.
  • Whole-wheat flour: Whole-wheat flour is made by grinding the entire wheat kernel, including the bran, germ, and endosperm. It has a higher fiber content and a distinct nutty flavor compared to refined flours. Whole-wheat flour is often used in recipes that call for a heartier texture, such as whole-wheat bread, muffins, and pancakes.
  • Cake flour: Cake flour is a finely ground flour with a low protein content. It is made from soft wheat varieties and has a delicate texture. Cake flour is ideal for making delicate cakes, pastries and light baked goods. Its low protein content helps prevent excessive gluten development, resulting in a soft and tender crumb.
  • Pastry Flour: Pastry flour falls between all-purpose and cake flour in terms of protein content. It strikes a balance by providing more structure than cake flour while still maintaining a tender texture. Pastry flour is commonly used in pie crusts, pies, cookies, and delicate pastries.
  • Gluten-free flour: Gluten-free flour is specially formulated for people with gluten sensitivities or celiac disease. It is typically a blend of several gluten-free grains and starches, such as rice flour, tapioca flour, potato starch or almond flour. Gluten-free flours can be used in a variety of baking recipes, including breads, cookies and cakes, to create gluten-free alternatives.

These are just a few examples of the many types of flour used in baking. Each type of flour has its own unique characteristics, and choosing the right one for a particular recipe can greatly affect the texture and flavor of the final baked goods.


In conclusion, high gluten flours and bread flours are not exactly the same, although they have similarities in terms of protein content and gluten-forming ability. High gluten flour is characterized by a higher protein content, which lends itself well to recipes that require a strong and chewy texture. Bread flour, while also made from high-protein wheat varieties, typically has a slightly lower protein content and may contain additives to improve bread texture and elasticity. Understanding these differences will enable bakers to select the appropriate flour for their specific baking needs and achieve the desired results in their bread-making endeavors.


Is high gluten flour same as bread flour?

High-gluten flour, which is bread flour with extra protein, is ideal for chewy breads like bagels. Keep in mind that different brands of flour differ in their protein content as well.

Can I substitute bread flour for high-gluten flour?

Is Bread Flour a Good Alternative? Yes! Compared to all-purpose flour, this baking ingredient will offer a better rise, a chewier texture, and a more stable structure to your goods. In the same vein, you can also use high gluten as a bread flour substitute.

What flour is closest to bread flour?

If your recipe calls for bread flour but all you have is all-purpose flour, don’t worry. You can substitute all-purpose flour for bread flour one-to-one, though your loaf of yeast bread might have a less chewy texture and likely won’t rise as much as a loaf made with high-gluten flour.

What is high-gluten flour called?

Hard flour, also known as bread flour, has a high gluten content, which makes it tougher. Products made with hard flour will hold their shape well once they are baked. Patent Flour.

Can I use high-protein flour instead of bread flour?

The extra protein produces more gluten, which often means a chewier bread and a better rise. Gluten gives bread dough its elasticity and stretch, trapping air bubbles. Keep in mind that if a recipe calls for high protein flour, you can often still substitute all-purpose flour and get perfectly fine results.

How do I convert all-purpose flour to bread flour?

Essentially, this product is the same protein you find in bread flour but isolated. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of vital wheat gluten per cup of all-purpose flour to re-create the texture of standard bread flour. You can evenly swap all-purpose flour for bread flour recipes, but, the texture of your bread may be less chewy.