3 Best Substitutes for Bread Flour

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Bread flour is made through a milling process of hard spring wheat. Compared to all-purpose flour, which is derived from hard winter wheat, bread flour has a higher gluten protein content which is important for giving bread its classic chewy texture.

The more protein there is in the flour, the more gluten is produced resulting in a more elastic dough and high-rising loaves of bread. Bread flour contains 13 to 16.5% protein where all-purpose flour is 9 to 13.5% protein by weight.

Per its name, bread flour is typically used for making bread with a chewy consistency often desirable in artisan bread. Bread flour can also be used for pretzels, bagels, pizza crust, or anything needing a dense texture with a lot of structure. You won't want to use bread flour for cakes and pastries, where a more delicate texture is desired.

If you have a sudden urge to make a loaf of bread and don't have bread flour on hand, no need to rush to the grocery store just yet. You can use other types of flour for your bread recipes, but your bread may have a less chewy texture and not rise as high.

You can also make your own bread flour by combining all-purpose flour with vital wheat gluten. Whether you have an allergy to bread flour or you don't have any in your pantry, you may enjoy replacing bread flour with the following varieties of flour in your recipes.

Why Use an Alternative?

You may need a substitute for bread flour if you have an allergy to wheat. Allergies to wheat and gluten have an estimated global prevalence of 5%. If you are diagnosed with celiac disease or a wheat allergy, you will need to avoid gluten. Symptoms of celiac disease or a wheat allergy include diarrhea, loss of appetite, abdominal distention, bloating, or weight loss.

An alternative to bread flour may also come in handy if you want a less chewy texture on your bread. Working with different flours can give you a variety of textures you may discover you like better.

Additionally, you may want to save yourself a trip to the grocery store and a few dollars to pick up a bag of bread flour when you have other alternatives already in your pantry. While it is sometimes challenging to make substitutions in baking for fear of changing the end result, using other types of flour when baking bread often yields the desired outcome.

Bread Flour Nutrition

The nutrition information for 1/4 cup (30 grams) of bread flour is provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 109
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Carbohydrates: 22g
  • Sugars: 0g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Calcium: 5.1mg

Bread flour is a significant source of calories and carbohydrates, but not a significant source of micronutrients. It fits into a variety of eating styles including vegan and vegetarian diets.

Popular Substitutes

If you do not have allergies to wheat, gluten sensitivity, or celiac disease, the best substitutes for bread flour are other flours made from wheat. Using these substitutes will still yield dense and chewy bread.

If you have celiac disease or are sensitive to wheat, there are a number of gluten-free flours that can substitute for bread flour. Bread flour substitutes can be used in a one-to-one ratio in your recipes making these substitutions relatively simple to swap.

All-Purpose Flour

If you like to bake, there is a good chance you already have all-purpose flour in your pantry. You can replace equal parts of all-purpose flour in your recipe that calls for bread flour and yield a similar result.

Be sure to measure your flour properly. Spoon the flour from the bag into your measuring cup rather than using your measuring cup to scoop the flour out of the bag to avoid using significantly more flour than needed.

With a very similar nutrition profile to bread flour, all-purpose flour contributes similar amounts of calories and carbohydrates and is fat-free. Using all-purpose flour for bread gives you exponentially more uses for your flour beyond cookies, muffins, and cakes.

Semolina Flour

Semolina flour is made from hard durum wheat and is coarse in texture. It has a yellow color and is high in gluten protein. This type of flour is typically used to make pasta, but its high protein content also makes it a perfect substitute for bread flour to make bread and pizza dough.

Semolina flour comes in coarse, medium, and fine textures and you will want the fine grind for bread making. Unlike bread flour, which has a more neutral taste, semolina has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor.

Semolina flour can be used interchangeably with bread flour in a one-to-one ratio. With 162 calories in 1/4 cup, semolina flour is higher in calories, carbohydrates, and protein compared to bread flour.

Gluten-Free Flour

Gluten-free flour is made from a combination of rice flour, brown rice flour, and potato starch. If you have celiac disease or are gluten intolerant, gluten-free flour is an essential pantry staple.

It can be used as a direct substitute for bread flour in the same quantity while maintaining a high rise and chewy texture in the end result. Nutritionally, gluten-free flour is identical to bread flour and contributes a significant source of calories and carbohydrates.

A Word from Verywell

Because baking is such a science, it can be tricky to know the right replacement if you do not have the flour called for in the recipe on hand. When substituting bread flour, the best substitutes are flours with a high gluten protein content to maintain the classic chewy texture you are looking for in bread.

Allergies to gluten are common and may warrant the use of gluten-free flour. Fortunately, bread flour substitutes can be replaced in equal amounts while yielding a similar result, or there are gluten-free bread mixes available as well.

7 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. King Arthur Baking Company. How to substitute bread flour for all-purpose flour.

  2. Elli L, Branchi F, Tomba C, et al. Diagnosis of gluten related disorders: Celiac disease, wheat allergy and non-celiac gluten sensitivityWorld J Gastroenterol. 2015;21(23):7110-7119. doi:10.3748/wjg.v21.i23.7110

  3. Caio G, Volta U, Sapone A, et al. Celiac disease: a comprehensive current reviewBMC Med. 2019;17(1):142. Published 2019 Jul 23. doi:10.1186/s12916-019-1380-z

  4. USDA, FoodData Central. 100% organic bread flour.

  5. USDA, FoodData Central. All-purpose flour.

  6. USDA, FoodData Central. Wheat, durum.

  7. USDA, FoodData Central. Flour, rice, white, unenriched.

By Rebecca Jaspan, MPH, RD, CDN, CDCES
Rebecca Jaspan is a registered dietitian specializing in anorexia, binge eating disorder, and bulimia, as well as disordered eating and orthorexia.