Can You Use Bread Flour for Cookies

Have a little too much bread flour on hand? Don’t have any other options? Have a hankering for cookies? Don’t worry – bread flour can be used for cookies, but note that they will be chewier and possibly tougher/denser than your typical results.

Hi! My name is Michelle, and I love, love, love cookies. However, I will be straight with you – I’m not a big fan of overly chewy cookies. I prefer the crispy kind. On the other hand, my mom loves a thick and chewy cookie. So, she loved when I swapped bread flour for all-purpose flour!

When it comes to baking, not everything always goes as expected. Even a well-thought-out grocery list can leave you missing a key ingredient – such as all-purpose flour for cookies. If you have bread flour in your pantry, you can use it instead in a 1:1 ratio. Just add extra liquid.

Keep reading to discover why bread flour can be a great swap and how to use it.

Can You Use Bread Flour for Cookies?

You can successfully use bread flour for cookies. There is one caveat, though. Your cookies will turn out chewy on the inside with a subtle crisp on the outside. There is also the issue of cookies coming out on the dense side, which isn’t always favorable.

So, if you enjoy chewy and thick cookies, you might actually prefer to use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour for your cookie-baking adventures. No, really. Try this Cookie Recipe by Alton Brown and see how much a fan you become.

What Happens if You Use Bread Flour for Cookies?

If you use bread flour for your cookie recipe, you will end up with chewy and thick cookies. There’s no way around that.

But why?

It’s all thanks to bread flour’s competition. Most bread flours come with 12% to 14% protein, while all-purpose flour tends to have 10% to 12%. The extra protein works in two ways:

1. Encourages volume

2. Creates a strong gluten network

Essentially, the high-protein flour will work the same as it would if you were baking a loaf of bread. It meddles with the other ingredients (eggs, butter) to provide some stretch and chewiness.

How Do I Substitute Bread Flour for All-Purpose Flour in Cookies?

The best part is that you can swap bread flour for all-purpose flour in a 1:1 ratio when baking cookies. You will achieve the same great flavor, just with more volume and some added chewiness. (Clearly, this isn’t a bad thing!)

The only potential problem is that the high-protein flour may soak up the wet ingredients more than all-purpose flour, creating a dry and crumbly texture.

If you notice that your cookie batter is drier than usual, go ahead and add a bit of extra wet ingredients to get your batter back on track. You can also simply toss in a teaspoon or two of water.

Everything else will remain the same: ingredients, baking time, etc. 

What Type of Flour is Best for Cookies?

Bread flour is the ultimate gateway to superiorly chewy cookies, but is it the best option for all cookies? If you’re wondering if bread flour should really be used in your next batch of cookies, consider these other flours:

  • All-purpose. This is the most convenient and well-known flour out there, and it’s always a safe bet for baking cookies. If you have it, use it. In fact, you could even use ½ cup of bread flour and ½ cup of all-purpose flour for some tremendously-textured goodies.
  • Cake. If you’re looking for an enchantingly delicate, soft, and fluffy cookie, you might consider using cake flour instead. It won’t provide the desired structure for most, but others may enjoy the dainty texture.
  • Wheat. People on a health journey might consider using wheat flour. And while that’s a-okay, you should know that your cookies will come out quite dense. Consider this flour if you don’t mind a very thick cookie and want to be healthier.
  • Spelt. The last option is spelt flour. This is the most similar to all-purpose flour so it can be a great swap in your cookie recipe. It can be somewhat drying, so add some extra liquid if desired.

So, which one is the “best?” It depends on what cookies you are baking and what your desired final result is. But when all else fails, you can always rely on the good old-fashioned all-purpose flour.

FAQs

Bread flour is the best choice for chewy cookies and can be used in place of all-purpose flour in cookie recipes. If you still have some pondering thoughts about this topic, keep reading and check out these frequently asked questions below.

What else can I use bread flour for?

If you have too much bread flour on your hands, don’t toss it yet! You can make a whole lot more than bread with that flour. Think delicious bite-sized pretzels to dip in beer cheese, cinnamon buns drizzled with icing for a Saturday morning, or Zeppole for an Italian-inspired dessert.

Why do my cookies go flat?

Are you struggling with flat cookies? Note: it’s not the bread flour if that’s what you’re thinking! You can make them fluffy again by using multiple fats, not melting the butter all the way, chilling your dough before baking, adding an extra egg, and baking at a higher temperature. 

Can you use bread flour for shortbread cookies?

Shortbread cookies are one of those cookies that might not turn out well with bread flour. That’s because the protein content is way too high for this type of cookie, which will render them unappealingly dense and hard. I’d pass on using bread flour for shortbread cookies!

Final Words

Opting for bread flour instead of all-purpose flour will cause your cookies to be chewy and thick with a slightly crispy exterior. It’s pretty favorable for most cookie lovers’ palates, making it an excellent swap – especially for chocolate chip cookies that taste oh-so-delicious when ultra-chewy.

Have you ever used bread flour for your cookies? How did they turn out? Share with us below!

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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