Bread flour is commonly used in bread machines because it provides better results compared to other types of flour. Here are a few reasons why bread flour is preferred for bread machines:
- Protein content: Bread flour has a higher protein content compared to all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour. The protein in flour is what forms gluten, a network of protein strands that give bread its structure and elasticity. Higher gluten content means a stronger dough that can rise well and produce a desirable texture in the bread.
- Better rise: Bread flour’s higher protein content contributes to a better rise in bread machines. The dough made with bread flour will have more elasticity, allowing it to stretch and rise efficiently during the bread machine’s dough cycle. This leads to a loaf with a lighter and airier texture.
- Improved structure and crumb: Bread flour’s higher protein content also helps create a structurally sound loaf of bread. The gluten formed during kneading and rising gives the bread a well-developed internal structure. This structure helps the bread hold its shape and ensures a uniform crumb with a good amount of air pockets.
- Increased volume: The strength of the gluten network formed with bread flour allows bread dough to trap more gas produced by yeast, resulting in a larger loaf of bread. The higher protein content contributes to a more significant rise during baking and helps create a loaf with a higher volume.
- Chewy texture: Bread flour also contributes to a chewier texture in bread. The gluten structure formed by the protein provides a satisfying chewiness that is commonly associated with artisanal bread.
It is important to note that while bread flour is a preferred choice for bread machines, other types of flour can also be used successfully. All-purpose flour, for example, can produce good results, albeit with a slightly different texture and rise. However, for optimal results and to achieve the desired bread machine loaf, bread flour is often recommended.