Are you searching through your pantry trying to make some cookies and wondering, “can you use bread flour for cookies?”
Want to know what would happen if you swap out some of that bread flour you’ve found for your chocolate chip cookies?
In this guide, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about using bread flour in cookies, including whether you should use bread flour when baking cookies, what will happen if you do, and ideas to make sure that it goes well and doesn’t end up in a ruined batch.
Keep in mind that while baking is more of a science than an art at times, the exact outcomes do rely on your oven, cooking times, and the actual recipe you’re used, so roll up your sleeves, grab your bag of bread flour, and get ready to learn a little and have some fun!
If you want to learn more about using other types of flours in cookies, check out our guide on using cake flour in cookies, as well as our cookie troubleshooting resource for when you’re out of certain ingredients.
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What is Bread Flour?
There are different kind of flours, including cake flour, all-purpose flour, and bread flour.
Bread flour is what’s called a high-protein flour, meaning that when you mix it up, you’re going to create more gluten than with low protein flours.
The reason the flour is higher in protein? It’s milled from a different kind of wheat than all-purpose flour, spring wheat instead of winter wheat.
In bread baking, bread flour adds a strength to the bread and allows the loaves to rise.
But can you use it in other types of baking?
Must-Have Baking Tools (seriously)
- Silicone baking mats – I use this brand and my cookies slide right off without burning!
- a cookie scoop – get this one. It makes the perfect rounded cookies every time!
- silicone spatula – try this set. It’s the best way to get the most out of your dough and batters
- rolling pin guides – I use this one. Genius way to roll your dough out evenly!
Can You Use Bread Flour in Cookies?
Yes, you can add bread flour to your cookies, but just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
We don’t recommend adding bread flour to your cookies, for most bakers, unless you are desperate to make a batch and only have bread flour on hand (and even then, be prepared for a different texture).
However, if you are looking for a chewier cookie, adding bread flour can be a great idea (but make sure to follow our instructions below).
Ultimately, if it is all you have, then you should know that nothing bad is going to happen if you use bread flour.
No kitchens are going to burn down in the process.
So, you can, but keep reading to see if you should!
What Bread Flour Does to Cookies
Since bread flour is a high gluten flour, cookies made with bread flour are going to turn out chewier and, potentially, much tougher than a regular cookie.
Think of what happens when you eat bread versus eating regular cookies and how much tougher bread is to pull apart than a cookie that can easily break apart.
There is a spectrum, however, because obviously the word “chewy” and “tough” don’t mean the same thing.
Chewy cookies sound good, and tough cookies sound terrible!
This has to do with the amount of bread flour that you use, which we’ll get into below.
There is room for bread flour in baking cookies, particularly chewy chocolate chip cookies, if you do it correctly!
If you want the opposite of chewy, you’ll want to potentially use cake flour in your cookies as it’s a low protein flour which leads to tender, fluffier and soft cookies.
How to Use Bread Flour in Cookies
If you’ve decided to use bread flour in your cookies, there are a few smart ways to go about it.
Firstly, try not to swap bread flour for all-purpose flour completely, ie putting in a cup of bread flour instead of a cup of all-purpose flour.
If you don’t have any other flour on hand, then go ahead and know they may come out tough.
There are a couple of recipes that are cookie recipes that call for only bread flour, like Alton Brown’s bread flour chocolate chip cookie.
These cookies are formulated with different ratios than a cook that calls for all-purpose flour and he’s already made adjustments to the other ingredients to account for this, so this can be a great option instead of trying to adapt an existing recipe.
If you want a good result and to be able to swap bread flour into an existing recipe that calls for all-purpose flour, try and use a ratio of half all-purpose flour and half bread flour.
You can also do 3/4 bread flour to 1/4 all-purpose flour.
This is going to give you some of the chewiness, but not the toughness.