bread flour, hard wheat flour, semolina flour

Joined Aug 13, 2006
I tried a search on the site but couldn't really find anything - sorry if this was answered elsewhere.

I wanted to know the differences between these.  In particular in Italy they have this new flour called "manitoba" which i imagine is cold-growing therefore "harder" wheat therefore more gluten.  Is this correct?

Italian flour has traditionally been "soft wheat" and i suppose more like cake flour.  There are two types- 0 and 00 - 0 is harder to find, and supposedly for breads, though the zeros refer to how finely it;s sifted, not to the kind of flour.  Cakes made with 00 that were from american recipes calling for all purpose flour need more flour and less fat to come out well. 

They always had "farina di grano duro" (hard wheat flour) used in some breads.  It's slightly yellowish.  Pane di Altamura (Puglia i think) is like this.  I'm not crazy about it.  But it's clearly not the same as the manitoba. 

I believe grano duro flour (hard wheat) is the same as semolina flour (which is translated on pasta packages as "hard durum wheat".

Can anyone give me some help?  I don't make pasta so i'm not interested in that, though others probably are. 
Joined Feb 13, 2008
Glutens are a particular type of stretchy proteins found in wheat flour.  Their amount and the extent to which they can be worked are two of the factors important to developing structure and chew in bread.

Modern wheats are far removed from the wild grasses farmers used millenia ago, and are very much "bio-engineered" for specific properties.  Hard wheat is the name given to types of wheat which are high in glutens.  Winter wheat created for the North American plains tends to be very hard.  Manitoba wheat is one of those.

"Bread flour" is also known as "high gluten" flour.  It has a specific, minimium pergentage of gluten mass per unit mass.  Here in North America, bread flour has significantly more gluten than European panafiable.  Bread flour has enough gluten to be sufficiently robust to stand up to what would otherwise be over-kneading and over heating in a powerful commercial machine kneader.   

Most amateur bakers, baking most types of bread (especially including "artisanal" bread) are better off using all-purpose flour (aka AP) than bread flour.

Semolina flour is mostly the "leftovers" (called "tails") including bran and germ, from milling durham (hard, winter) wheat.  Semolina is very coarsely ground.  By itself it is not suitable for baking "normal" bread; but it makes an interesting addition to multi-grain loaves. 

Western European bread flours are similar to typical US AP flour in terms of protein content.00 and 0 are Europeant terms for grades of sifting and don't, per se, have anything to do with proteing content.  However, it's my understanding that 00 is usually very soft.  I thought Italian bread flour was usually labled as panifiable like French flour. 

Finally, any given grade of flour in the American south tends to be half to one grade softer than the same grade flour in the rest of the U.S.  So, if you're living and buying flour in Huntsville, Alabama, and following a recipe written in California, it pays to know what you're using. 

Hope this answers,

Joined Aug 13, 2006
Thanks BDL, as always esauriente

However the farina di grano duro (Hard wheat flour) here is yellow.  While what they call "Manitoba" is off-white like regular all purpose.  Pane di grano duro like Altamura (named after the town in Puglia where they make it) is yellow bread.  It has a softer texture than the regular white bread you find. 

I also have heard or read that 00 flour here is actually used for breadmaking in commercial bakeries.  Being wheat flour, in any case it has enough gluten to rise well. 

This Manitoba is a new arrival on the supermarket shelves - probably more italians are making bread at home now - something that used to be unheard of. (My grandmother never made bread in her tiny town in Italy - nobody had an oven and she and the other women would have to reserve a time if they wanted to bake their christmas cakes.  Otherwise they bought their bread.)

About the semolina - there is semolina and semolino - final A semolina is the flour, ground finely like regular flour, and semolino - final O - is ground coarsely, like cream of wheat, but cream of wheat has more of the germ and bran, and semolino (what you'd use to make gnocchi alla romana) is purely cream colored. 

By the way, anyone know gnocchi alla romana? It's like polenta made with semolino and milk cooked together, poured on a table and cut in rounds,  then overlapped in a baking dish and baked with butter and parmigiano.  Quite nice and very satisfying. 
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Joined Feb 1, 2007
So, if you're living and buying flour in Huntsville, Alabama, and following a recipe written in California, it pays to know what you're using. 

Not to disagee, BDL, because you're certainly right. But..... (always a "but," right)

For those of us serious about bread making, sure, it makes a difference. But do you really think the casual bread baker would notice a difference? I don't think their bread would noticebly vary any more than when they use volume vs weight measurements.

Another point to consider is that what you say is true for the person buying local flours. But is that true about national brands? I wouldn't think the Gold Medal available in Huntsville is any different than the Gold Medal being sold in Santa Barbara. The casual baker most likely goes with the national brands, with one exception. Southerners setting out to make biscuits reach for the White Lilly. But I'd bet good money that most of them do not know why.

I think we sometimes forget that the home cooks who just feel like bringing a loaf of home-made bread to the table far outnumber those of us who take it more seriously. And we get a little too persnickity, when discussing ingredients, for that reason.
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Joined Aug 13, 2006
OH no not the flour question again :)

Here go to this link and you will have all you answers.

Cabotvt :)
I'm not sure how this site answers my question of what Manitoba flour is.  I put in "manitoba" and got stuff that didn't say anything about a particular type of flour. 

My question was: what is manitoba flour.  It bears no resemblance to what is here called farina di grano duro (or hard wheat flour), which is yellowish and makes yellowish bread. 

I'm asking because i wondered if this is a type of flour known elsewhere or if it's just a marketing strategy. 
Joined Feb 20, 2011
Hi dear bread-lovers,

So... after all these discussions about what flour is what and how they're named, where can you expect to find this so famous "Manitoba" flour? I can't seem to find any retailer that sells it in the US. I live in Texas.

Reason is, I've been looking for a better flour to bake bread with in the USA than the AP flour. It drives me nuts and doesn't make as good bread as I am used to (I must tell you that I am from Sweden and it's pretty popular to bake your own great-tasting breads at home, crispy on the outside and yummy on the inside). All breads in store where I live you can basically just squeeze between your fingers (or hands) and there will be lots of air coming out of it and all that is left is just a very little piece bread remaining - so it's all air. That's how soft the breads are. Don't like that at all. Honestly, it doesn't get much better when baking bread at home using the same flour - you get the same results. And I want to get those dense, crispy breads.

Lately, I started reading books from Europe about bread and read about this Manitoba flour, then I started searching for the name on the web. I understand that people who have worked with it really like it and "there's nothing like it".

Since you've mentioned that the wheat grows in both Canada and the US, where is it sold? Please let me know.


Joined Jul 28, 2001

Manatoba is a variety of wheat. It's hard. Yours will probably come from Canada. Here it is probably grown in the US. BTW it can be inconsistant. It is more refined

than high gluten, bread, and usually runs 11-12+ %.     The high protien leads to blending this with a softer flour. It's high in protien like 00.


Joined Aug 4, 2000
...Reason is, I've been looking for a better flour to bake bread with in the USA than the AP flour. It drives me nuts and doesn't make as good bread as I am used to (I must tell you that I am from Sweden ...



 For starters try using a mixture of 3 to 5 parts King Arthur AP flour mixed with one part of either bread/rye/whole wheat flour and see what you think.
Joined Feb 20, 2011
Thanks for the tip. I will try it and let you all know how this goes eventually.
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