Amerikanisches Mehl und deutsches Mehl im Vergleich
Woman kneading dough, close-up photo

German vs American Flour Equivalents. This is something that has continued to confuse me for years now. What is the difference between flour type 505 versus 1050 and all those other numbers in between?

I understand that some flours (such as wheat and spelt) contain gluten. Gluten being the protein that forms when wheat flour and water are mixed together – the strong, sticky, stretchy stuff that is needed to give structure to whatever it is you are baking. I also know that yeast-raised flours, such as pizza dough, rely heavily on gluten for their structure. But what do the numbers mean and which one of them is REALLY the equivalent to all-purpose flour?

So I did a little research.

It turns out that in America, wheat flour is labelled according to the amount of gluten content it contains. In Germany, however, flour is labelled according to a numbering system and thus flours are sold by “Type” (Mehltyp) with a corresponding number which indicates the amount of ash (measured in milligrams) obtained from 100 grams of the flour.

So in the attempt to bring clarity to some of my confusion, I’ve compiled a list of the approximate equivalents for US and Germany’s most common types of wheat flour.

German vs American Flour Equivalents

A word of caution though, European flours are not directly comparable with North American flours. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, it has is due with the different varieties of wheat cultivated in Europe as well the method for measuring ash and protein content. Read more here:

Different flour types and how to use them:

Type 405 / Pastry Flour

Because of its low gluten content, it is best used for baked goods that should have a soft, tender consistency yet still need some structure, such as muffins, cakes, cookies, biscuits, pie crust, and many pastries.

Type 550 / All-Purpose Flour

This is a decent choice for almost everything. It’s used mostly in home baking since it is the most versatile type of flour.

Type 812 / Bread Flour

This is the best flour for yeast-raised breads and hard rolls. Its high gluten content gives bread the structure needed to rise and hold its shape, plus it gives it a pleasant chewy texture.

Type 1050 / High Gluten Flour

It is best used mixed together with other grains and flour to provide more structure. It is also good for breads that are extra elastic such as bagels and pizza crust.

Type 1600 / White Whole Wheat

Contains whole wheat kernels, including the germ and bran, and therefore has more nutrients, fiber and fat then white flour.

Type 1700 / Whole Wheat

Good for baking a dense, hardy, nutty tasting whole wheat bread.

If anyone could shed a little light on what the German vs American flour equivalent to whole wheat pastry flour is, I would be forever grateful! 🙂

Type 00 – Italian “00” Flour

Special Italian flour for pizza. Italian “Tipo 00” is the best flour type for making homemade pizza.

Amerikanisches Mehl und deutsches Mehl im Vergleich

What about rye and spelt?

For people with allergies and digestive issues with wheat, spelt is a good non-wheat alternative, plus it’s also suitable for some people with gluten sensitivities. Pay attention though, spelt does contain gluten, (so not suitable if you have celiac disease) but for some people who experience a mild intolerance to gluten they manage to digest it better than regular wheat. As far as baking goes, the gluten in spelt develops quickly, but since it’s fragile, you need to be extra cautious not to over-knead a spelt dough.

Rye flours are also low in gluten and come in a variety of light, medium, and dark flours. The color of the flour all depends on how much of the bran has been removed during the milling process. And because of the low gluten content, a general rule of thumb suggests substituting 1/3 of the amount of rye with a wheat flour to ensure the bread will rise properly, unless of course the result you are aiming for is a dense bread.

Roggenmehl 1150 / Rye Flour

Rye flour is darker than flours and has higher amounts of vitamins B and E. This is a medium to dark rye flour. Type 1800 is a very dark rye.

Roggen-Vollkornmehl / Pumpernickel

Coarse, whole-grain rye flour, made from the whole rye grain, including the bran and germ is called pumpernickel. This flour is given its name to a traditional German bread.

Dinkelmehl 630 / White Spelt Flour

In Germany, it is often used instead of Flour Type 405. It’s excellent for bread baking, but is usually combined with other flours because of its high gluten content. It’s a good substitute for type 405.

Dinkel-Vollkornmehl / Whole Spelt Flour

Spelt flour is one of the most popular whole grain, non-wheat flours available. It’s made from the whole spelt grain and it works well for cakes and breads.

Sources For More Information about German vs American Flour:

Fine Cooking
Weekend Bakery
Das Cupcake
A Vegetarian in Germany

Looking for baking recipes?

Check out my baking recipes archive.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for sharing this baking info. It was terribly difficult trying to translate a recipe originally of countries other than the US or Canada. The different flour types makes a huge difference!!

  2. Well thank you, I was missing a translation like this since over a year. Everytime I had a recipe with “all-prupose flour” I just used Weizenmehl 405, 550 or 1050 more or less randomly. Turns out I just had to google one 😀

  3. Since living in Bavaria for a year, I have had no luck in baking American chocolate chip cookies with whatever flour I purchased and decanted into an airtight container (so I do not know which type it is). But I will purchase 550 and see what happens. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Thank you for your information.
    This clarifies the diferent flours.
    I tried to make an all Rye bread and also a 10% Dinkel bread and each turned out to dense.
    It was almost dry no mosture. I did not like it.
    Now I read that both type of flour need to be mixed with other flours like Bread flour or Whole Wheat.
    Thank you

  5. THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH for finally letting me find your site.
    (I did give up long ago to figure it out though, so I haven’t really searched for it since lol)
    I been living in the States 26 years now and never really got the hang of the flour types over here, besides the basics. My Dad, who was a Baker in Germany finally gave me his recipes. Unfortunately me baking bread over here always turned out to be complete disasters and almost uneatable, without really knowing which American flours to use for which German breads.
    Thank you again for the thorough breakdown. Looking forward to baking once again 👍

    • Happy to help! 🙂 This flour thing totally confused me when I first moved to Germany, so I just had to research and write this. I think it took years before I could remember what’s what compared to Canada. BTW, I have never seen Type 812 / Bread Flour in Germany, but adding a tablespoon of arrowroot powder to a recipe seems to do the trick. Not sure if your dad the baker ever did this!

  6. You have no idea how long I have been looking for some reliable information about this. Thank you so much for putting this together.

    • Hello, and hope I’m not too late in my reply regarding sprouted grains. I lived in Bellevue WA for a few years and purchased my bread at ‘Spent Grain Bakery’. They got their grains from local beer breweries, and their bread was the BEST ! Check your local breweries for ‘spent grains’, and bring your own container.

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