Flours


Flours
At the most basic level, wheat grain is put through a mill, which produces a white-ish powder flour... Well, actually it's not quite that simple.

First of all we need to distinguish between the different grains that can be made into flour: wheat of course, but also rye, barley, buckwheat, etc. So we use "flour" (pure and simple) to mean wheat flour, then talk of rye flour, barley flour, buckwheat flour, chestnut flour, etc.
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Last modified on: July 1st 2021



Flours classification

Type

Then a further distinction is made according to how much of the outside of the grain (bran) is left in. The purest, whitest flour (but not inevitably the best), contains only the inner part of the grain, the others contain a variable proportion of bran, right up to whole: wholemeal flour.

wheat grain

In France this proportion of bran included is indicated by a type (T). This number indicates the ash ratio of the flour, the proportion of minerals remaining after the flour has been burned at 900°C. The higher this number is, the higher the proportion of bran there is in the flour. This table summarises the main types of flour and their uses:
Wheat flours
Type or "T"CalledUsage
45Cakes and pastries
55CouranteBreads and viennoiseries
65Breads and viennoiseries
80BiseBreads
110WheatmealWholemeal and speciality breads
150WholemealWholemeal and speciality breads
Rye flours
Type or "T"CalledUsage
70White ryeBreads
85White ryeBreads
130Black ryeBreads
170Black ryeBreads

Milling method

A third distinction can be made according to the milling method. If nothing is indicated, it means that the flour has beeen made by industrial steel mills. If it's labelled "de meule" (stone-ground) it means that the flour has been ground using real millstones which give it a special flavour (and price, which is to be expected).

Organic

In addition, "organic" quality ensures that flour is of high quality, without chemical products used on the grain, or added after milling.

It's so complicated...

Yes, as you can see it's a professional classification system and beginners can get lost in the jungle of numbers. To avoid that, in answer to the question "Which flour should I use?" we can summarize simply as follows:

[Translator's note: Both the UK and USA use "strong" flours for breadmaking. French flour grades do not correspond exactly to UK types, but are at least fairly close the the US percentage system for "soft" flours.]

Where to buy flour?

As soon as you need a flour that's a little out of the ordinary, it's difficult to find it in the local supermarket. The best way is to look in yellow pages to find flour-mills, then call to find out if they will supply to individual customers (See about that my best addresses page). This is ofen the case now because of the widespread use of bread-making machines.

You may well be able to buy a range of several different flours at cheap prices, and if you're lucky you can chat with the miller, which is always a good and instructive experience.

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Your 41 comments or questions on this page
  • Hello,I think the best choice for pasta is to use a french T55 or T65 (you have here a recipe of fresh pasta dough).But if you are happy with a bit "rough" flours you can go higher to T80, I'm afraid that beyond that value it will make a curious, but probably tasty and coloured, pasta.
    Posted by jh april 5th 2018 at 13:26 (n° 41)
  • Hello, I would like to make my own pasta here in France, which flour type should I use? In the UK we would use 00. I am happy to make white and brown / whole grain pasta. Apologies if this has already been answered, I read through the threads but couldn’t find the information.
    Posted by Kate april 5th 2018 at 08:16 (n° 40)
  • Hello,
    Yes you can, no problem at all.
    Posted by jh january 11th 2018 at 12:33 (n° 39)
  • Hello, I have T55 wheat floor, Can I make cake out of it?
    Thank you in advance
    Posted by Anonymous january 11th 2018 at 11:02 (n° 38)
  • No, many flours in France are organics, or another quality label (like "label rouge") which ensures that there is no pesticides on the wheat before it goes to the mill.
    Posted by Lola june 7th 2017 at 16:37 (n° 37)
  • I hv discovered that 98% of all USA flour has been sprayed with MONSANTO ROUND UP chemicals, right before harvesting, leading to a slightly larger yield of wheat, does France do the same with its Wheat at harvest time?
    Posted by Anonymous june 7th 2017 at 15:48 (n° 36)
  • We have a wonderful book - though very technical and expensive - but husband now makes the most amazing bread. We use T45 for pastries and T55 for bread and pizza dough. We found the T65 too strong. If you have the patience it is worth a read/browse - "The Taste of Bread" by Prof Raymond Calvel. There is also reference to American flours.
    Posted by Michele february 10th 2017 at 14:12 (n° 35)
  • If we are talking about "crepes", not "galettes", Traditional white flour (T45 or T55 in France)
    Posted by jh november 2nd 2015 at 08:36 (n° 34)
  • What flour should I use to make authentic crepes?
    Posted by Henry november 1st 2015 at 13:26 (n° 33)
  • I don't know
    Posted by jh july 30th 2015 at 13:19 (n° 32)
  • What is the 00 flour equivalent too ?
    Posted by Sam july 30th 2015 at 06:14 (n° 31)
  • For madeleines, cake flour will be OK.
    Posted by jh april 15th 2014 at 08:20 (n° 30)
  • I was hoping to make madeleines, I'm in the US, but can't find T45 flour. I'm thinking cake flour is the american equivalent? But it seems a bit different feel? Suggestions?
    Posted by Juine april 15th 2014 at 04:33 (n° 29)
  • Thanks :)
    Posted by iwona november 29th 2013 at 01:10 (n° 28)
  • Hello,

    I'm afraid Txx is only on French package, I think in US you have only big categories like "plain" or "whole wheat"...
    Posted by jh november 28th 2013 at 15:29 (n° 27)
  • Hello, thank you for the article.
    I live in US, I have several flours at my home but I can't find the T symbol on the package. But some of them have more protein then others. Do you know how to figure out the T symbol by checking how much proteins flour has?
    Posted by iwona november 28th 2013 at 14:56 (n° 26)
  • There is mills everywhere in France, several in each departments, you should look into yellow pages.
    Posted by jh october 24th 2013 at 08:23 (n° 25)
  • Please where can I find big mill for flour in France
    Please can you give me some names for mill
    Posted by Raad october 24th 2013 at 00:41 (n° 24)
  • What is the UK equivilent of T45?
    Posted by scullery maid december 31th 2012 at 11:27 (n° 23)
  • Maybe whole-wheat?
    Posted by Lucy september 7th 2012 at 13:52 (n° 22)
  • Does anyone know what the flour equivalent for the French "farine T150" is in Ireland and the UK?
    Posted by Anonymous september 6th 2012 at 15:27 (n° 21)
  • You're welcome!By the way, the french croissants and chocolate rolls recipe on this site is going to be deeply modified, in September: more technical but also better results, like professional bakers (or almost).
    Posted by jh september 1st 2012 at 10:28 (n° 20)
  • Thanks a lot it is very helpful i have tried the french recipe of croissant but it did not go well since i took the cake flour by lake of knowlegde i did not know that T55 meant white bread flour... Thank you!
    Posted by Happiness september 1st 2012 at 07:44 (n° 19)
  • It's "farine complète"
    Posted by jh july 9th 2012 at 19:28 (n° 18)
  • I leav in france i want to make wheat chapathis so plz tel me the flour name in french.
    Posted by shilpa july 2nd 2012 at 15:17 (n° 17)
  • I guess it's T55, but I'm not sure, anyone else ?
    Posted by jh may 1st 2012 at 10:41 (n° 16)
  • I want to use the equivelant to english plain flour in france so confused with the flour in france
    Posted by sandra april 30th 2012 at 14:44 (n° 15)
  • Many thanks for your comments jh.
    Posted by marty december 7th 2011 at 10:13 (n° 14)
  • @marty : Be careful with blé noir, it's not really a flour for bread or cake, it's mostly use for special, salted, pancakes called "galettes".
    You can also use it in breads or cakes, but always in addition with classical flour and in small proportions (something like 20% of ble noir only).
    Posted by jh december 4th 2011 at 14:57 (n° 13)
  • Hi have been in france now for 5yrs and have always found the flour confusing so thank you for your time and trouble you go to to help us all
    Posted by blip november 21th 2011 at 18:55 (n° 12)
  • No offence intended - just that I got the PH recipe before I found this great site. Have been looking at the traditionelle flours available here and have found ble noir. Any ideas?
    Posted by marty november 21th 2011 at 12:40 (n° 11)
  • Hi, many thanks for the speedy reply. Am using a T65 with a Paul Hollywood recipe for great white bread. Can get different types of flour here (incl T65) a few kilometres away straight from a working water mill. Will explore. Thanks again.
    Posted by marty november 20th 2011 at 16:27 (n° 10)
  • You can easily found T55 or better T65 in many shops in France
    Posted by jh november 20th 2011 at 16:13 (n° 9)
  • I live in France and am looking for a suitable flour to make pizzas. Any suggestions?
    Posted by marty november 20th 2011 at 15:09 (n° 8)
  • Hello...
    Can any one help me by providing me the Specifications of Flour T-80 "de meule" (stone-ground) flour.
    Posted by G.K november 19th 2011 at 10:02 (n° 7)
  • Hi, yes you can, no problems.
    Posted by jh june 26th 2011 at 08:29 (n° 6)
  • Hi, just to clarify things, can i also put baking powder (levure) in T45 flour for cakes? Thanks
    Posted by Anonymous june 23th 2011 at 00:09 (n° 5)
  • To prevent pastry from rise, you should pick it with a fork when in his mould, before furnish it or put in the oven. The steam made by the heat of the oven could go away by the small holes and so not make bubbles.

    If you plan to cook a crust alone (in French "à blanc") it's more efficient because pastry could not rise with the weight of lentils (or anything else you use) on top.

    Unfortunately I'm not easy with UK plain flour, but I guess it's a matter of "T", T45 seems to be a French exception, so you could try a T55 instead?
    Posted by jh may 26th 2011 at 07:10 (n° 4)
  • I found your information about flour very useful. I live in France and am adjusting my recipes from using UK flour to French flour with varying results. I used T45 (all purpose) for short crust pastry for use in Quiches or Pies but found that the pastry had risen?? But the taste and texture excellent. I would appreciate your comments on this. I am also having difficulty english recipe cakes too. Is it possible to obtain the equivalent of Uk plain flour in France? Your advice would be appreciated.
    Posted by Whie Mist may 26th 2011 at 06:47 (n° 3)
  • No they rae different: semoule or semolina is made of very smalls grains of hard wheat powder, and T65 is flour.Strange recipe without one of the main ingredient listed?
    Posted by jh january 6th 2011 at 17:09 (n° 2)
  • I would like to use a french recipe for pains a semoule et carottes, semoule being semolina. In the list of ingredients, however, there is no mention of 'semoule, the main ingredient is T65 flour. Are they the same flour?
    Posted by pam.eastham@gmail.com january 6th 2011 at 12:35 (n° 1)
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