When we talk about flour, its name usually suggests what flour is for.
Cake flour is ideal for tender and delicate desserts. Everyday use for pastry flour is for muffins, scones, and biscuits. All-purpose flour can be a great substitute when you miss any other flour during baking.
However, what about bread flour? Is it good only when you knead bread?
Bread flour contains the biggest amount of protein and is excellent for yeast bread, pizza dough, and many other baked goods that should have a firm texture. However, that is not all.
This flour is an excellent substitute for all-purpose flour when making chocolate chip cookies!
In today’s article, we’re talking about using bread flour and its impact on cookies recipes.
- 1 Which flour is mostly used in cookie recipes?
- 2 How does bread flour affects cookies?
- 3 How do different flours affect chocolate chip cookies?
- 4 Can you mix bread flour and all-purpose flour for cookies?
Most chocolate chip recipes call for using all-purpose flour or just flour.
Every time you read “flour” or “plain flour,” the recipe assumes you’ll use all-purpose flour.
All-purpose flour is milled from soft and hard wheat, with their bran and germs removed. The result is a fine texture that is the gold standard of baking. All-purpose flour has a moderately high protein level – 10 to 12%, which results in perfect cookies.
If you’re out of all-purpose flour, you can easily make homemade all-purpose flour combining other types of flour.
It can be bleached and unbleached, and both will make the perfect cookies you ate in your childhood – slightly crispy from the outside when you take the first bite, but perfectly soft and chewy from the inside.
All-purpose flour is the best choice for cookies; using bread flour for cookies will take you one step further.
Bread flour has a high level of protein – 12 to 14%, and it’s considered to be “the strongest” flour that is mostly used in recipes that require strength and elasticity of the dough.
Unexperienced bakers hesitate to use bread flour for other recipes, besides bread and pizza, but bread flour is much more versatile than you think. Although it’s not recommended to be used in tender pastries, bread flour will make delightful cookies!
Bread flour won’t affect the taste of your cookies – you won’t even notice the difference. If your cookies have a floury taste, the reason might be in the amount of flour you’re using, not the type.
The impact of bread flour on cookies texture will be remarkable. Cookies will be slightly denser and chewier than when you’re using all-purpose flour, and that’s exactly what you want!
If you’d like to try out bread flour cookies on purpose and currently are out of the bread flour, it’s easy to make a homemade bread flour substitute.
Tip: Keep in mind that people have different preferences in cookie texture. Some people like them soft, underbaked, and thin, while others prefer them chewy and crispy cookies. If you’re in the “chewy cookies team” using bread flour for cookies will make you love the results!
So, why does the bread flour produce chewier chocolate chip cookies than the all-purpose flour?
The secret lies in one ingredient that makes the difference between different types of flour – protein content.
You must understand how it affects baking and how your flour will behave in baked goods. Every type of wheat flour has different protein content – from cake flour with the lowest to bread flour with the highest. The protein content is usually printed on the wheat flour packaging.
More protein levels equal higher gluten development. The more it develops, your dough will be firmer and more elastic.
In delicate baked products, strength is not required. Furthermore, you don’t want chewy cake. That’s why you’ll use low-protein flour that will leave you with fluffy dessert. Less protein will avoid that extra chew moment.
For example, when it comes to chocolate chip cookies, more chewiness is a characteristic that we like, and that’s why we’ll use flour with higher protein content – all-purpose or bread flour.
Tip: Flour with high protein contents absorbs more liquid than low protein flours! Professional bakers suggest the dry dough and an extra liquid absorption problem – if it seems dry, add 1 or 2 additional teaspoons of liquid for one cup of flour used.
The type of flour will affect the cookie’s texture, color, spread, and height, while the taste will remain the same if you’re using the correct amount of flour:
Flour with a higher protein level, such as bread flour and all-purpose flour (unbleached), will form gluten strings, resulting in more elastic dough and making chocolate chip cookies chewy. To avoid getting crumbly cookies, use additional liquid since flour rich in protein tends to absorb more.
Flour with a lower protein amount, such as pastry and cake flour, can also be used when baking cookies. The final result will be soft and tender cookies.
For example, enough gluten-free flour will produce the softest cookies ever; white whole wheat flour will give the chewiest ones. Whole wheat flour has the highest protein level (up to 15%).
Tip: Keep in mind that different flour brands can vary in protein amount of the flour, regardless it’s the same type – one producer’s bread flour can have 11%, while the other’s 13% of protein.
The amount of protein in flour will also affect the browning of the cookies. Higher protein levels will produce browner cookies. There is a difference between bleached and unbleached versions – naturally, cookies made with unbleached flour will be browner. Bleached all-purpose flour is more acidic, which reduces browning.
As we mentioned above, high-protein flour absorbs more liquid, and the chocolate chip cookie spread is smaller than when using low-protein flour. If your recipe calls for eggs too, and you’re using acidic bleached flour, bleached flour will also reduce chocolate chip cookie spread since an acidic environment makes egg set quickly.
The type of flour will affect the height of the cookie, too. Flour that is low in protein does not absorb as much liquid, making more steam, which puffs cookies. Au contraire, high protein flour that absorbs liquid, will produce flatter cookies.
|Type of flour||Suitable for cookies?||Substitute ratio|
|Bread flour||Yes||1:1 for all-purpose|
|Plain (all-purpose) flour||Yes||Follow the recipe|
|Cake flour||Yes||1:1 or 1:2 for all-purpose|
|Pastry flour||Yes||1:1 or 1:2 for all-purpose|
You can use cake flour when baking cookies.
These cookies will be lighter, more delicate, tender, and fluffier. It will change the texture of the cookie, especially if the cookie recipe calls for bread or all-purpose flour. People mostly use these flour varieties when they want to get soft cookies. Naturally, you won’t get a chewy cookie, but the one whose texture reminds you of cake.
If you decide to use this type of flour in a cookie recipe, you can do it in two ways:
- Swap the entire amount of required flour with cake one. If the cookie recipe asks for 1 cup of all-purpose flour, substitute it with 1 cup of cake flour.
- To get perfect cookie dough, you can also mix cake and all-purpose flour in different ratios. Mix it in a 1:1 ratio – 1 cup of each. Use 25% of cake and 75% of all-purpose flour or vice versa.
If you want to try out cookies with cake flour and you’re out of it, here is how to make a homemade substitute!
Store-bought or homemade pastry flour has a content level between cake and all-purpose flour (8 to 10%), and therefore you can use it in a cookie recipe.
It will give you the perfect balance between tenderness and fluffiness. Chocolate chip cookies won’t be as soft and fluffy as if you’d used cake mixture, but also, they won’t be as chewy as if you use bread flour.
Use it on its own or mix it with other types of flour.
Yes, you can mix all-purpose and bread flour. All-purpose one will reduce the protein amount in standard flour. Use those flours in a 1:1 ratio. You won’t notice the significant difference – the taste will remain the same, while you’ll get a bit chewier and denser cookies.