Flour Classification in Japan, Finland, USA, Europe

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In Japan, light flour and strong flour are the major classifications, but the way flour is classified differs from country to country. Here, we will introduce how flour is classified in Japan and Finland, also in Europe such as France and Germany, and in the United States.

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Protein Content in Japan

In Japan, the most common way to classify flour is as light flour or strong flour.

Strong flour and light flour are determined by the amount of protein contained in the flour (*1).

Protein content(%)Classification
11.5-12.5Strong flour
9-11.5Semi-strong flour
8-9Midium flour, Plain flour
6.5-8Light flour

Although the classification seems to focus only on the protein content, there is also a difference in the size of the grains. In general, light flour is finer and strong flour is more coarsely ground (*2).

But of course, it’s not as simple as this figure shows. For example, the bottled Nisshin Cooking Flour is a light flour, but it is made with larger grains than regular products (*3).

In Japan, various information about products is openly available, so if you want to be particular about details, it is recommended to check the manufacturer’s website.

Particle Size in Finland

In Finland, flour is classified according to the particle size. The coarseness of the flour determines its recommended use. Fine flour is suitable for bread, coarse flour for cakes, and so on.

If you check the protein content, you will see that all flours have a high protein content and are classified as strong flour in Japan.

The following is a simple summary.

I wanted to find out how coarse the flour was, but Finnish manufacturers don’t seem to release much information about their products, so I couldn’t find any specific figures. Please note that this is not a simple comparison with the Japanese figure, but just an image.

Uses in the US

In the U.S., flour seems to be classified according to its uses (*4). But, for example, All-Purpose Flour, which sounds versatile, does not seem to be suitable for every dish. If you check the protein content, you will find that there are various types of flours, such as Japanese medium-strength flour, semi-strength flour, and strong flour.

It is still a good idea to check the protein content according to the intended use.

Ash content in Europe

In Germany, France, and other countries in Europe, you will see numbers such as 405 and 550 written on the bags of flour. This seems to indicate the ash content (*6). The higher the ash value, the higher the protein content, and the lower the ash value, the lower the protein content tends to be.

In other words, deciding the use of a product based on this number is almost synonymous with thinking of the use based on the protein content. I hope you now understand how important the protein content is as a parameter.

Categories of Flour in Different Countries

This is an introduction to the different classifications of wheat flour in different countries.

*6

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