Can I Use Bread Flour for Cookies? (What to Expect)

Quick Answer

You can use bread flour for cookies, and you don’t need to make any major adjustments to the recipe. When you make cookies using bread flour, you can add water if you want to offset the dryness. Typically, if your recipe includes butter and eggs, it will already be moist enough. The main difference lies in how chewy your cookies are, as bread flour cookies are chewy and tougher because they have more protein. 

If you’ve only got bread flour available to bake cookies with, you might wonder whether you can use it as a substitute.

Maybe you’ve run out of all-purpose flour and don’t want to waste what you have.

But what can you expect to happen to your cookies once you’ve changed the type of flour? How will it affect the recipe you’re using?

The good news is that you can use bread flour for cookies. However, they may turn out a little differently than your usual recipe.

Can I Use Bread Flour for Cookies (What to Expect)

If you can find them, there are recipes online for cookies, specifically using bread flour. So let me give you a little more information about how they’ll turn out.

In this article, we will tell you what you can expect when you use bread flour in your cookies. We’ll even give you some more insight into the other types of flour you can use and how they affect your baking.

Using Bread Flour For Cookies

You can definitely use bread flour to bake cookies, but you should know that they will turn out differently than if you used all-purpose flour. Of course, bread flour cookies will still be delicious and look good too.

However, it may not be your best option if you don’t like chewy cookies. Sure, bread flour will still give your cookies a crisp texture, but they are far chewier than if you used standard all-purpose flour.

Bread flour has a distinct composition that contains more protein than other flour.

It has between 12% and 14% of protein, so the cookies have more volume. Since bread flour works well with eggs and butter, you will find they have more gluten in them too.

The cookies become chewy by combining the increase in protein from the bread flour with the moisture of eggs and butter.

So, if you’re not a fan of chewy cookies, you may want to stay away from bread flour. It’s not only the chewiness you need to consider but the toughness too.

Bread flour is designed for loaves of bread, so it will have a tougher texture. It will be difficult to tear apart compared to all-purpose flour.

Ideally, it’s best to mix it with all-purpose flour to avoid a tough texture. However, you may have no choice if you don’t have any all-purpose flour available.

Bread flour cookies are all about your preferred taste, and so some people may find them appealing. Others, not so much.

If you don’t like your cookies having more volume and a chewier texture, you may want to find another substitute. Or, you can simply find some more all-purpose flour at your local store.

How Do You Substitute Bread Flour for All-Purpose Flour?

When you decide to use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour for your recipe, you might be concerned about how you will measure the amounts.

As bread flour is more voluminous, you might be concerned if you need to use less to make your cookies successfully.

However, you can use the same measurements as you would for the all-purpose flour in your recipe.

You can use the same number of cups, but the main change will be that they will turn out differently than what you would otherwise expect. 

When looking at your recipe, you can use the same number of cups specified in the recipe using bread flour.

However, the bread flour will be dryer when compared to its all-purpose variant. The reason it’s dry is because of the higher protein content, but you can fix this by adding a little bit of water to it.

Of course, you don’t have to add water if you don’t want to. You’ll typically need to add butter, eggs, and possibly milk to provide moisture anyway.

As mentioned earlier, butter and eggs work well with bread flour as they tend to give it a chewy texture. 

Ultimately, you need to be prepared that when we say that the texture gets chewy, it also gets tough. After all, bread flour is best-suited for bread.

So, if you don’t have any other flour available, then bread flour is your best option. But ideally, it’s not the best unless you’re prepared for a chewy and tough texture. 

Using Bread Flour With All-Purpose Flour

Using Bread Flour With All-Purpose Flour

If you want to avoid the toughness of a bread flour cookie, then there are other options that you can consider here too.

For example, you could include bread flour with your all-purpose flour if you do have it on hand. 

By combining these two types of flour, you can still enjoy the softness that you’d typically expect from a cookie, but you could also enjoy the chewiness too.

You can always measure both bread flour and all-purpose flour by using ¾ of bread flour to ¼ of all-purpose flour.

Using a ratio can ensure a good result without changing the texture or your recipe too much.

Ideally, if you can mix bread flour with all-purpose flour, you should. However, if you only have bread flour available, you should be prepared for your cookies to be tough and chewy.

So, if you don’t enjoy that type of texture, mixing these two flours up could help you enjoy it.

Finding Bread Flour Recipes

Most recipes you find online can still work with bread flour as, like I said before, they can be substituted cup for cup. However, you can still find recipes that are specifically suited for bread flour.

After all, those are designed for that type of flour, so you won’t be disappointed by the end result.

By utilizing a bread flour recipe, you’ll understand that it will be a denser type of cookie than you’d usually get.

Luckily, you can easily find recipes online through Google that can help you when you want to find a specific recipe.

Ideally, bread flour can work well with chocolate chip cookies, as chewiness is often preferred for those types of cookies.

But you can also look for recipes you like, with ingredients you want instead of those that are popular.

If you want to find a bread flour recipe, you can always search for ones using your favorite ingredients to make the process easier for you.

Flour For Cookies

If you aren’t sold on bread flour, then there are always different types of flour that you can use. To help you decide which type of flour you want, we have taken a closer look at the types of flour you can use. 

There are numerous types of flour that you can use when baking cookies, but all of them have their own pros and cons.

So we’ll tell you all about the different types of flour, including all-purpose, cake, pastry, spelt, and whole wheat. 

All-Purpose Flour

All-purpose flour is your standard type of plain flour. It is also your safest bet when you find a recipe online, as it’s the most popular option when baking.

If you don’t have all-purpose flour available, then you can also buy more from the store as they’re regularly available. In fact, they can be found in any grocery store.

When you use all-purpose flour, you will find that it has a 10% to 12% protein content. The percentage of protein used makes it perfect for many baking recipes. 

If you need flour that can work for most recipes, then all-purpose flour is often the best choice.

After all, if you don’t want to experiment with something new, you can always stick to what you know works. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to stay in your comfort zone.

Cake Flour

Unlike bread flour, cake flour has a lower protein content, and because of that, it’s perfect to bake cakes with.

But did you know that you can also use cake flour to bake cookies? However, you will need to adjust the recipe to ensure that the cake flour measurements will work. 

The best way to substitute cake flour for all-purpose flour is to add two tablespoons to each cup of cake flour.

That way, for each cup that would have been all-purpose flour, you’ll guarantee there’s still more cake flour used.

It’s a safe way to ensure you’re using more of this finer flour than what’s originally intended in your recipe.

If you are more used to baking cakes than you are to cookies, you will typically have more cake flour lying around in your kitchen.

So, if that is the case, you can use it as a substitute if you don’t want to use all-purpose or bread flour.

Pastry Flour

Like cake flour, pastry flour is finer than all-purpose and bread flour. However, it does tend to be better-suited for anyone baking cakes and other pastries than cookies.

But before you assume that you can’t use pastry flour, I’m here to tell you that it’s not impossible.

While pastry flour isn’t great for all kinds of cookies, that doesn’t mean it can’t be used for some.

Pastry flour is softer than most of the other flours, and so it often has a softer and flakier texture than the others. 

If you choose to substitute all-purpose flour or bread flour with pastry flour, I recommend treating it as cake flour.

You should measure it as you would cake flour. I would add two tablespoons of pastry flour to each cup, substituted for the all-purpose flour that you would add to the recipe.

Both cake flour and pastry flour are incredibly soft, so you can expect a softer texture for each of them.

If you’re aiming to make lighter cookies, then these are your best options instead of using bread flour which will make the recipe denser. 

Spelt Flour

If you don’t have all-purpose flour and you want something with similar protein content, then spelt four is your best choice.

You may not want to stray too far from the recipe, but maybe you have spelt flour in your cupboard but not all-purpose.

Substituting spelt flour for all-purpose flour is easy to do. After all, you can easily use the same measurements in your chosen recipe, cup for cup.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s completely the same. One thing that you have to keep an eye on is how dry your batter is.

Spelt flour can make your batter drier than if you were to use all-purpose flour. However, it won’t be any drier than if you used bread flour.

So long as you have moisture from butter and eggs in your recipe, it shouldn’t be an issue. But if you think it’s a problem, you can always include a little water in your recipe to keep your batter moist.

You can find some recipes on Google that call for spelt flour, so if you want to see how they turn out when you need spelt flour, you should try them.

Whole Wheat Flour

The worst substitute for all-purpose flour is probably going to be whole wheat flour. It has a higher protein content than bread flour, so it will likely end up too dense.

The protein content can go as high as 15%, making it a flour with one of the highest protein contents.

However, you may want to use whole wheat flour for health reasons, as you may find it a healthier option than white flour.

So, you can’t just take the white flour and exchange it cup for cup with whole wheat flour. If you mess up the measurements of whole wheat flour, your cookies may be too dry.

Ideally, you should mix whole wheat flour with all-purpose flour, but that may not always be an option.

Instead, if you want to use whole wheat flour, you should use half of what you would use if you had all-purpose flour.

Ideally, splitting whole wheat flour with all-purpose flour 50/50 can be a great way to enjoy the best of both worlds. 

You don’t want to use the same amount of whole wheat flour that you would if you had all-purpose flour.

Your cookies will taste too dry, so you will need to add more moisture. To make sure your cookies don’t dry out, add some more water to your batter to stop it from getting dense.

If you only have whole wheat flour, then it is best to find a specific recipe. Baking cookies with whole wheat is more challenging, but it’s not impossible. 

Final Thoughts

Bread flour is a great way to enjoy chewier cookies than you would get with all-purpose flour.

They won’t lead to the exact same results if you used all-purpose flour, but it does serve as a good substitute if you don’t have any available. 

When you make cookies with bread flour, you’ll find that they’re heavier and chewier, and so they will be more difficult to eat.

But, if you prefer chewy cookies, then that shouldn’t be an issue. It’s all a matter of taste.

Depending on the flour you use, it’s best to find a recipe that is designed for that type. After all, each type of flour will yield different results and will require slight modifications.

The good news is that if you want to use all-purpose flour, it can be quickly found in any grocery store near you. But if you want to improvise? Well, there’s plenty to experiment with! 


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