Bread Flour vs. All-Purpose Flour: Which Is Best for Pretzels?

If you’re trying to make homemade pretzels, you’ve likely looked at a variety of recipes. They all appear similar at first, but you’ll soon notice one major difference: some ask for bread flour and others ask for all-purpose flour. Many first-time bakers are understandably curious about which type of flour they should use. Generally speaking, though, you can’t go wrong with either type of flour. Let’s explain:

Bread flour provides more structureFlour in a wooden bowl, paper bag and spoon.

The biggest difference between bread flour and all-purpose flour is their protein content. Bread flour has a higher protein content at about 12 to 15 percent, while all-purpose flour has 8 to 12 percent. The more protein there is, the more gluten that can develop. Gluten helps provide structure, allowing a baked good to have more body and sturdiness.

As a result, bread flour will make it easier for a pretzel to hold its shape. This can be an advantage to beginner bakers, especially since the shape of a pretzel is so important.

All-purpose flour is more cost-effective

Bread flour is best used for, you guessed it, breads. This is fine for pretzels, but if you don’t plan to make that much bread, buying bread flour for just one thing can seem like a waste. All-purpose flour can be used for a wide variety of baked goods, including cookies, muffins, pie crusts, and breads. Since pretzels can be made perfectly well with all-purpose flour, it will be more cost-effective to use all-purpose since you can use that same flour for other recipes.

Both will rise just fine

Many people believe that bread flour rises better than all-purpose, but in reality, they both rise just fine. Bread flour will simply hold its shape better than all-purpose.

You can use either as a substitute

Do you have all-purpose flour, but your pretzel recipe calls for bread flour? Or vice versa? Well, you’re in luck. You can use all-purpose flour as a substitute for bread flour, and bread flour as a substitute for all-purpose.

For more pretzel tips and facts, read through our blog at Uncle Henry’s Pretzel Bakery!