American & European Flour Rough Equivalents

I’ve had numerous requests to put up some sort of table comparing American flour types with their French, German and Italian counterparts. And while I’d love to comply, I’m not sure that much real data exists on that, for all the reasons I spelled out last week. However, because there are no lengths I won’t go for my readership (as long as it’s, you know, convenient for me), I spent the weekend scouring available sources for the following information:

American all-purpose = French Type 55 = German Type 550 = Italian 00

American pastry flour = French Type 45 = German Type 405 = Italian 00

American bread flour = French Type 80 = German Type 812 = Italian Type 1

American whole wheat = French Type 150 = German Type 1700 = Italian “Wheat”

Now then, I know I have an increasingly international readership here at joepastry.com, so if anyone wants to correct and/or add to what I’ve started here, by all means, weigh in.

This entry was posted in American vs. European Flours, Baking Basics, Flours. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to American & European Flour Rough Equivalents

  1. Ana Silvia says:

    Hello, Joe! I’d like to ask you something about the flours found in Portugal. Here, we only have flour type 45, 55 or 65, being 65 the one more used for breads I think. This would mean that the flour type 65 has more protein in it that the other two, right?
    Thank you!

    • joepastry says:

      Hi Ana! Yes, that should be the case.

      • Diogo says:

        Ana is right in saying that t65 is the One used for bread here in Portugal.

        But Joe, t45 is really hard to find… How would you go about transforming t55 into t45? The usual couple of tbsp of cornstarch per cup?

        I was just reading Berenbaum’s pie and pastry bible and she’s soooo adamant:
        “Use the correct flour. It is practically impossible to make a flaky crust or even one that holds together using cake flour and equally difficult to make a tender crust using unbleached all-purpose or bread flour.”

        It’s really discouraging…. =(

        • joepastry says:

          Diogo, I’m a firm believer in using what you’ve got. If I were you I’d just try running the recipe with t65 and adjust from there. You should be able to make pie with that. Get back to me with the result and I’ll help you troubleshoot any problems.

          - Joe

  2. Jeremy says:

    Hey Joe- I was just wondering where cake flour entered this equation. I know that in the US I can substitute AP + cornstarch, but I’m over in Italy staring down a bag of 00 and wondering how my cake is going to turn out. It did not do nice things to my cookies, but if anything it made them cakier. And the oo is recognizably finer milled than AP, if not bromated. Any tips?

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Jeremy!

      I’d try just using the straight 00. As you’ve probably learned by now, the number system is all about grinds, not gluten. 00 is commonly used for cakes (American cake flour as you know is a very find grind), so you may get the results you want as-is. If not, let me know what went wrong and I’ll help you troubleshoot the problem.

      - Joe

      • Carol says:

        It’s a bit of a crap shoot adding corn starch to AP and not truly equivalent to cake flour. For really fine patisserie, only cake flour will do. It’s made from softer wheat, yes, so getting the protein content lower helps. But the main difference is that in the US, cake flour is always bleached. Yes, bleached. That’s what makes it behave the way it does. Get it, if you can and experiment until you find a brand you like. Swans Down does it for me. Outside the US, google the procedure for making “Kate flour.” Kate is a UK baker who found a way to microwave their flour to make it behave more like bleached North American cake flour.

        • joepastry says:

          Hey Carol!

          Thanks for that and you’re quite correct on all counts. As a side note, I wish bleaching wasn’t such a dirty word these days. I’ve devoted several posts to that very topic. Such a shame.

          - Joe

  3. Anna says:

    Hey Joe,
    I am having a similar problem as Jeremy with my chocolate chip cookie recipe…I am here in Italy, I have my U.S. measuring cups and spoons, I have my Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chips (brought from the USA) and all the ingredients I need…however my cookies continue to melt…I have searched all over the internet and most forums, websites, including yours, say to use type “00″ flour as all-purpose, which I have but get the above result. Wikipedia says that type “0″ is closer to all-purpose….what to do?? Even if they taste good I hate having flat CCcookies!!

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Anna!

      So when you say “melt” you mean they spread out, right? They all sort of melt into each other on the pan?

      If that’s the case, try cutting back on the egg, especially the white. Also, hold back a couple of tablespoons of butter, since that also contributes to spreading. Keep in touch…we’ll get this worked out.

      - Joe

  4. ec says:

    I have (a perhaps even more confusing) question about flour.. I recently moved to India and so far I have only found two kinds of wheat flour: “maida”, which I believe is somewhat like pastry flour, and “atta”, which is (i think) durham and whole wheat though somewhat finely ground as well. Now the question is what to do! Do you know about these flours more precisely? Do you have reccommendations for what to use for what purpose? I love baking breads and have some understanding of US flours, but my experimentation here is not getting me very far.

    p.s. Thanks for the blog! Excellent work!

    • joepastry says:

      Thanks EC!

      I’ve had some readers mention this flours over the last couple of years. But tell me…what sorts of problems are you encountering?

      - Joe

  5. Pingback: German and American flour equivalents | A Vegetarian in Germany

  6. Marco says:

    Hi Joe,
    Tricky question for you but first; Thanks for the great blog!

    OK, I’m in the Netherlands and need cake flour to make hand pulled La Mein noodles for a 60 person dinner challenge. I’m told that cake flour is crucial for this process. We don’t have it as you know. The trouble in my case with a “00″ or something else won’t be bad cake. It will be that I can’t stretch the dough and therefore can’t make the noodles to complete my task. Do you know of any way to blend my own cake flour? I’ve read over and over to add corn starch and it didn’t work. Anything You can say on this will be greatly appreciated!
    Thank you!!!

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Marco!

      Seems to me you don’t need a cake flour, you need the opposite — a strong bread flour, no? A weak cake flour won’t give you the gluten you need to accommodate that sort of stretch. Corn starch will only make the problem worse…it will undermine gluten formation (though it will make a decent cake flour!).

      There must be something around you can use. Or perhaps can you obtain some vital wheat gluten to add to the flour you have? Sometimes vital wheat flute can be found in health food shops or Asian groceries. But try the process first with some local bread flour and see how it goes. Get back to me with any questions!

      - Joe

  7. Cheryll says:

    Joe

    I just discovered your site and find the discussion on flour very interesting.
    I lived in Canada for many years and their flour is also different than the US “all purpose”. It feels drier for lack of a better description. But, it sure did make great bread, biscuits and pastry. I am thinking it is closer to the US bread flour and it was 100% hard wheat per the bag.
    I also had difficulty with cookies spreading out at first…then I realized (don’t have a heart attack here now) “back in the day” (50′s-60′s) Mom saved the bacon grease and used that for baking cookies. I was using butter or margarine. Once I made that connection I was able to fix the problem.

    Love your site

    Cheryll

    • joepastry says:

      I’m the last person who’d get upset at the thought of bacon grease cookies! In fact I’ll try them soon. Wow.

      Your observations about Canadian flour are spot-on. Canadian wheat is as hard or harder than our northern flours. Great for all the applications you outlined.

      Cheers and welcome to the site!

      - Joe

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