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Q&A Types of White Flour, Their Weights and How Much Water to Use

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Q: I want to use a white flour with higher protein, how do I adjust the recipe?

A: We wrote the original white-flour Master Recipe for our first book with typical all-purpose white flour (such as Gold Medal), which has a protein content of about 9.8-10.5%. The following flours have a greater protein content and will require you to add more water to dough that is entirely made from these white flours.  You don’t need all that extra water if white flour only part of the loaf’s flour mixture.

King Arthur All-Purpose, 11.7% protein (add approximately 1/4 cup extra water to the full recipe).

Dakota Maid All-Purpose:  add approximately 1/4 cup extra water to the full recipe

Canadian all-purpose flour, most brands:  add approximately 1/4 cup extra water to the full recipe

Gold Medal Better for Bread 12.5% protein: add approximately 1/3 cup extra water to the full recipe

King Arthur Bread Flour 12.7% protein (add approximately 1/3 cup extra water to the full recipe)

Any “bread” flour: Most flour labeled as “bread flour” is 12-13% protein (add approximately 1/3 cup extra water to the full recipe).  In Europe, this flour is labeled as “strong flour.”  If a flour is labeled as “high-gluten” it’s probably 14-15% protein (add approximately 1/2 cup extra water to the full recipe).

Q: What is the weight of the flour that you use?

A: We wrote the book with measures because we find that most people are still using cup measures when baking. We have been pleasantly surprised at the number of our readers that are scaling their recipes. Here are the weight equivalents to the flour that we use:

1 cup all-purpose flour = 5oz

6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (master recipe) = 2 pounds

1 cup whole wheat = 4 1/2 oz

1 cup of rye = 4 1/4 oz

Q: What should the “hydration” of the dough be?

A: Again, we tried to avoid confusing professional language in the book, but several people have asked about bakers percentages and hydration levels for white flour. The hydration needed for dough storage will vary with to the type of flour you are using.  “Hydration,” when the term is used by professional bakers, means the ratio of the water weight to the flour weight, expresed as a percentage.  High protein flours absorb much more water and will require you to add more water. Here are the hydration levels we’ve used, but remember, this applies to dough made from white flours (whole grain is a different story, requiring higher levels of hydration):

When using most all-purpose flours (eg., Gold Medal):  75% hydration

When using Gold Medal Better for Bread:  83% hydration

When using King Arthur all-purpose:  81% hydration

When using King Arthur bread flour:  83% hydration

When using most bread flours:  83% hydration

When using most high-gluten flours:  85% hydration

More in The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and our other books. If you use vital wheat gluten to get an airier crumb with whole grains loaves, you need even more hydration–see Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

We recommend that you follow the Master Recipes in our books as we have written them until you get a feel for the proper consistency. Once you know what it should feel like then it is wonderful to play with other flours.

Click here if you want to understand baker’s percentages.

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585 thoughts on “Q&A Types of White Flour, Their Weights and How Much Water to Use

    • Hi Jennie,

      You may need to add a bit more water, but start with a straight swap and see if your dough is too dry.

      Thanks, Zoë

  1. I agree that amount of water in the dough vary with different kinds of flour. Many times people send me queries about how much water should they add to the dough. You have placed detailed information about the hydratation, I,m not that good. I will read more carefully your posts to gain some info, Jacek

  2. I usually make my bread dough and then let it rise for around 15 hours or so and then bake it. I decided to make the bread dough that you put in the fridge. However, I let the bread dough rise overnight and then put in fridge. I made the 2 lb. loaf. 6 1/2 cups flour and 3 cups water. Somit was in the fridge around 18 hours. I baked the bread in my enamel covered bakeware for 45 minutes and then took the lid off and baked it another 35 minutes. I put a thermometer through the center and it displayed over 200 degrees. However, I let the bread sit out overnight and it feels moist and somewhat dense. What did I do wrong? Thanks

    • Hi Gerri,

      What kind of flour did you use?

      How long did you let the loaf rest after you shaped it and before you baked it?

      Thank you, Zoë

  3. I’m in Canada and I love making the master recipe from the New Artisan book. However, when I follow the weight measurements with Five Roses flour I end up with a dough that is unbelievably sticky. No amount of dusting seems to be enough to handle it without becoming a mess. Am I doing something wrong? The book suggests more water for Canadian flour but that sounds like it would be even stickier.

    • Yes- our assumption may not hold for all Canadian flours, and who knows, Five Roses may be lower in protein than our typical flour (US-grown Gold Medal). Just decrease the water a bit. 1/8-cup? 1/4-cup?

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