All about bread flour,

What bread flour to buy and where to buy it online or in-store in Australia

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What is the best flour for making sourodugh

Flour will make or break your sourdough bread journey. I learned the hard way. Trial and error. Mostly error. πŸ˜”

Below is a list of bread flours that I have used extensively since those first 18 months of making (failed and flat) sourdough bread. These flours made the difference for me in sourdough and they will encourage better results for you too. Most of them are true bread flours and will make great yeasted bread as well. Most of them are Autralian which is wonderful as finding home-grown goodness is always a bonus!

If you live outside of Australia you can find the same information relevant to your country here.

While this list will be helpful, you won’t always have it on hand when you’re out shopping. So I want to let you know there is an easy way to recognise suitable flour, at a glance, without knowing brands, types of flour etc. And… surprise surprise, it’s not reading the name of the flour written on the bag!

Labels such as ‘bread flour’ or ‘strong flour’ are given by the company selling them. However they can be intended for yeasted bread, which gets its rising strength from bakers yeast, and these flours can be low (or high!) quality imports etc. The manufacturer may have their own definition of what’s suitable for bread making.


SO, HOW CAN YOU TELL WHAT FLOUR IS BREAD FLOUR WITHOUTH GOING BY THE MANUFACTURER’S MARKETING?

Flour is required to display nutritional information on the packet. Look for the table that tells you the % percentage of salt, sugars, carbohydrates and… protein. It’s the little box that looks like this:

The protein content will give away whether or not the flour is suitable for sourdough and other bread-making purposes, even if the name on the packet says ‘bread flour’.

Any white (wheat), spelt, rye, wholemeal or other gluten-containing flour with 13% protein* will work for making sourdough (as well as yeasted) bread. But in the case of making good sourdough bread it will make all the difference to get this right. Flours such as rye and spelt and the wholemeal version of any flour type will make smaller, slightly denser (but not flat) loaves.

Some people use all-purpose flour for making sourdough bread and it’s all across the internet, but what ‘all-purpose flour’ is inside the packet, varies across the globe. In Canada, all-purpose flour is strong flour (high in protein) and suitable for making sourdough bread. In Australia, all-purpose flour is a completely different product – it is a 50/50 mix of low and high protein flours, making it too low in protein for sourdough and also too high for baking super soft cakes! It is multi-use though for decent cakes and weird but edible bread. It will produce a crumbly texture for cakes whose sloppy nature requires a cake tin to support it shape while baking. Using the same flour for sourdough will leave you with a wet, sloppy dough that doesn’t have much form and won’t rise in the oven. (Without all the help of eggs which a cake has). It will however be tasty!

*13% protein is 13g per 100g

Sometimes flour with 13% protein isn’t available at your local store. You should be able to get away with 12% protein in the flour however, I should warn you, anything less won’t hold the structure of the bread or rise very well in the oven. Sourdough needs strong flour to develop enough strength to rise your loaf and hold it up! This comes from the protein content in the flour.

If you live overseas, I won’t have access to the same flour as you but have put this list together to help you. However, it is the same helpful tip for you – simply look for flour with 13% protein and you’ll be singing alongside your sourdough bread. You may also be able to compensate for low protein by mixing 50/50 with wholemeal bread flour to boost the nutrient level for the sourdough starter and help it develop those muscles.

You can also add vital wheat Gluten to low protein flour when maiking sourdough bread. This is an excellent solultion. It’s 76% protein and a little goes a long way and makes a very BIG difference. See my article: How to add vital wheat gluten to sourdough bread and listing below for where to purchase.

Wherever you live, don’t use bread mix for making sourdough bread. It’s designed for making loaves of yeasted bread and rarely has the amount of protein sourdough needs in the flour. Bread mix can also contain additives that are unnecessary for making homemade artisan sourdough. The packet may say show the mix as having 12-13%+ protein levels but you will usually find it’s due to seeds or other additions in the mix, it’s not usually from the flour.

A note about wholemeal and wholegrain flours when it comes to sourdough

Wholemeal, wholegrain and flours with fine bran and are not great flours to start your sourdough journey with. The tiny particles of wholegrain interrupt the gluten development and shorten the strands of gluten that allow your dough to stretch and rise with stability. Wholegrain and wholemeal flours also absorb more water than white flours. For my regular sourdough recipes, add an extra 60g water per loaf. While these flours are available with high-protein levels, producing sourdough breads that give you a lovely tasting, honey-coloured sourdough loaf, as mentioned, the doughs are not as stretchy as white. Used at 100% they ripen a little faster and rise a little less – both in proofing and the oven. You can mix with white bread flour for a larger, lighter loaf in any proportion. Sourdough will take the characteristics of the flour you add most of in the dough. E.G 20% Wholemeal and 80% White, the loaf will be more stretchy and stable due to the dominance of the white flour. Experiment to find your favourite blend.

I have tried every bread flour that I’ve come across in NSW and then some (including French imports). The below list is what I continue to use. None of my recommendations are sponsored or influenced in any way.

Brands don’t matter as much as protein content and freshness.

Whast is strong bread flour

BREAD FLOURS AUSTRALIA WIDE

Online

AMAZON AU
Australia-wide delivery (Free for Prime or everyone over $39 spend)

White flours
Organic Premium Bakers White Flour (5kg) Makes 10 Loaves
☝️ This is my favourite go-to flour. 13% protein, Australian grown, organic, home-delivered and produces a super tasty, resilient loaf of artisan sourdough bread. If this is flour is out of stock try Organic Unbleached Bakers flour by the same company πŸ‘‡
Organic Unbleached Bakers Flour (5kg) Makes 10 Loaves*
This flour has 12.5% protein, is Australian grown, organic and home-delivered. Slightly less protein than the Premium version (above) it also produces a super tasty, resilient loaf of artisan sourdough bread.
Stoneground White Heritage Flour (5kg)^^ Makes 10 Loaves
13.2% Protein. Australian. Wheat type from prior 1960 – unmodified. Contains fine bran. Flour is a pale pink.
Sustainable Stoneground White Bakers Flour (5kg) Makes 10 Loaves
13% Protein. Australian. Produces results akin to wholemeal. See note^^ under wholemeal flours below. Being stoneground keeps the nutritional characteristics. Unbleached. Chemical-free. ASP Certified for sustainable grain and farming practices.

*Organic unbleached Bakers Flour will be great on its own. But if you like experimenting, you can add Vital Wheat Gluten. A little goes a long way. Get Vital Wheat Gluten from health food stores or online here: Amazon AU, or Amazon worldwide. Amazon is the cheapest I have found online. Follow my guide: How to add vital wheat gluten to sourdough bread

Wholemeal flours^^
Organic Whole-Wheat Bakers Flour (5kg) Makes 10 Loaves
Australian. This only has 12% protein. I recommend adding Vital Wheat Gluten (7g per loaf or 16g per kilo)
Sustainable Stoneground WholeWheat Heritage Flour (5kg) Makes 10 Loaves
13.2% Protein. Australian. Wheat type from prior 1960 – unmodified.

^^Not for beginner (using at 100%) Flours containing fine bran, such as White Heritage Flour and wholemeal flours, absorb more water than their white counterparts. For my regular recipes add an extra 60g water per loaf. These flours have high protein levels but a different gluten structure due to the wholegrain. Doughs tend to be more coarse, sticky and not as stretchy when used at 100%. They also have less oven spring and a slightly denser, but still soft interior (crumb). You can mix these flours with white bread flour if you want a larger, lighter loaf. To start, try 80% white and 30% wholegrain.

Rye flours
Organic Rye Flour (5kg) Makes 10 Loaves. Rye loaves are naturally smaller, flatter and denser unless combined with wheat bread flour.

Spelt flours
Organic White Spelt Flour (5kg) Makes 10 Loaves^
Organic Wholemeal Spelt Flour (5kg) Makes 10 Loaves^

^Spelt is naturally high in protein, however, it will produce a flatter loaf due to less gluten. White spelt will produce a soft open interior. Wholemeal will be denser and flatter still. Both can be mixed with wheat bread flour for a higher rise if desired. I suggest starting with 80% white and 20% spelt see what you think and go from there. Any proportion is ok however spelt flour responds to water differently so the more spelt in the mix, the wetter your dough will be with the same amount of water. A wet dough is not an issue, it’s just not for beginners. It can be difficult to work with, For a 100% spelt loaf, that is easy to work with and has no kneading, see my recipe here.

BASIC INGREDIENTS
Australia-wide delivery
Brero White Bread Flour (1kg) Makes 2 loaves.
Brero White Bread Flour (10kg) Makes 20 loaves.
Brero Rye Bread Flour (1kg) Rye flour will not rise as much and will produce a lovely, but slightly smaller, denser loaf. Makes 2 loaves.
White spelt flour (1kg) Makes 2 loaves

French Flour
T65 Campaillette Des Champs flour from France (1kg) Makes 2 Loaves**
T65 Campaillette Des Champs flour from France (1kg) Makes 50 Loaves**

**THIS FLOUR MUST HAVE VITAL WHEAT GLUTEN ADDED. I’ve included it because I love anything French!! It’s not a sourdough flour BUT can be used magnificently for sourdough bread if you add Vital Wheat Gluten. The crumb is greyish (like the bread I first fell in love with) and the flavour is slightly ashy. The protein level of T65 flour is 10% and I got nothing but flat bread when I first tried it. However, adding Vital Wheat Gluten (46g per kilo for this flour) changed all that! You can get Vital Wheat Gluten from the same store. Follow my guide: How to add vital wheat gluten to sourdough bread and you will have make some wonderful no-knead sourdough.

THE SOURCE BULK FOODS (50+ stores Australia Wide)
Online or in-store. Also available in UK, New Zealand, Ireland & Singapore
Unbleached White Spelt Flour 1kg makes 2 loaves
Organic Bakers White Flour 1kg makes 2 loaves
Australian Wholemeal Bakers Flour 1kg makes 2 loaves

HONEST TO GOODNESS
Home delivery
(Cost varies depending on your location. Free for orders over $100 Sydney Metro)
Organic Premium Bakers White Flour (roller milled) (5kg) Makes 10 loaves
Organic Premium Bakers White Flour (roller milled) (12.5kg) Makes 25 loaves
Organic Unbleached White Spelt Flour (5kg) Makes 10 Loaves. White spelt is a naturally flatter loaf, still with an open interior.
Organic Wholemeal Spelt Flour (5kg) Wholemeal spelt is a naturally flatte, denser loaf.
Organic Whole Rye Flour (5kg) Makes 10 Loaves. Rye loaves are naturally smaller, flatter and denser unless combined with wheat bread flour.
Sustainable White Heritage Flour (5kg) Makes 10 loaves
Sustainable White Bakers Flour (stone ground) (5kg) Makes 10 loaves



Supermarkets

Supermarket bread flours don’t contain quite 13% protein.
The percentage of the below supermarket bread flours are between 12.5% and 12.7% protein but will still create a good homemade loaf. Particular notes for some brands are provided.

WOOLWORTHS
Online or instore, Australia-wide delivery
Defiance White Bakers Flour (5kg) Makes 10 loaves. πŸ‘ˆ My second go-to flour
Lighthouse Bread & Pizza Plain Flour (1kg) AND Lighthouse Bread, Pizza & Tortilla Wholemeal (1kg) Makes 4 loaves. You need to mix these two flours 50/50. The wholemeal gives extra nutrients to the sourdough and helps it rise with the low protein levels. 4 loaves (2x 1kg packets).
Some Woolworths stores also offer Lauke Wallaby Baker’s Flour (5kg). This flour has LOW protein and produces fine, but basic results. Your loaf will be smaller, denser, have a lighter coloured crust and slightly less flavour.

COLES
Online or instore, Australia-wide delivery
Lauke Wallaby Baker’s Flour (5kg). This flour has LOW protein and produces fine, but basic results. Your loaf will be smaller, denser, have a lighter coloured crust and slightly less flavour. Makes 10 loaves.
Lighthouse Bread & Pizza Plain Flour (1kg) AND Lighthouse Bread, Pizza & Tortilla Wholemeal (1kg) Makes 4 loaves. You need to mix these two flours 50/50. The wholemeal gives extra nutrients to the sourdough and helps it rise with the low protein levels. 4 loaves (2x 1kg packets).


Make your own bread flour

Vital Wheat Gluten can transform inferior flour into something fairly magical. I have been using it to boost bread flours that are at the lower end of the protein scale with noticeable improvement. A little goes a long way! So if you are limited in with options for bread flour. not all is lost. You can make your own, with whatever flour you have available.

Follow this guide to match the amount of Vital Wheat Gluten you need for the flour you are using.
See: How to add Vital Wheat Gluten to sourdough bread.

Where to get VItal Wheat Gluten
Australia: I’ve found the cheapest online is from Amazon AU or try health food stores.
All other countries also try Amazon worldwide or your local health food store.


Grow the list!

If you find a flour that works and isn’t listed here, contact me with the name of the flour, the brand and where you bought it from and I will add it to the list! If you have a link to the item online, even better! Let’s make getting what you need for amazing sourdough as easy as possible! #community


Make sourdough bread the easy way

If you’re new to sourdough or bread making and are looking for an easy way to dip your toe in the water of artisan baking without the blood sweat and tears of the learning curve, you might like to try our unique no-knead sourdough bread process.

Our very own Beautiful Living Made Easy process makes an authentic loaf of homemade sourdough bread (and pizza!) and because this is all about being easy, there is a beautiful catch – I’ve made it so you don’t have to make or regularly maintain a sourdough starter. There are no courses to take, no baker’s yeast to add, no bread machine to own, no experience to have!

This is easy Sourdough. And it’s designed specially to avoid flat sourdough bread while doing less. *Fist pump!

If you have a starter try the recipe here. If you need one, grab some of my 13-year-old sourdough starter, which has been made dormant in order to post to you. Make 5g fully active with just 3-4 feeds. It takes 1 minute each time and you leave it to get on with other things!

After making your first loaf, store it in the fridge until for up to 6 weeks without feeding (or until you next bake) whichever comes first. All instructions plus recipe is included.

I am passionate that anyone, anywhere should be able to make their own sourdough bread easily.


Related Articles:
The Big Deal About Flour and Sourdough
Bread Flour Store – Made Easy
Make Your Own BLME Bread Mix

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Writer, Designer, Creative, Sydney Sider.

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