I like my baking and struggled at first with the confusing amount of flours in Austria. Breads failed to rise and cakes exploded. It turns out flour differs significantly between America, the UK and continental Europe. Here is all you need to know about flours… 

In the UK, we have:

  • “00” flour: finely milled flour used for pasta mainly. This may be the same as America’s pastry flour
  • Plain flour: like it says; pretty much equivalent with America all-purpose flour
  • Self-raising flour: flour with raising agent; self-rising in the US
  • Wholemeal flour: includes the bran; called wholewheat in the US
  • Whole grain flour: includes all of the wheat grain
  • Strong/bread flour: used for bread; bread flour in the US

In America, along with pastry flour, you also have cake flour. How lovely and simple you have made it!

So far, so easy. Let’s get into Europe. France, Germany, Italy and Austria all use different numbering classification systems. They are all broadly based on the amount of ash found in 100g of flour (burn it and see what’s left- because that’s what we all do in the kitchen). Wholewheat has a higher ash content: so the higher the number, the closer to wholegrain it is. In general, the higher the number, the “stronger” that flour is. So use the lowest numbers for your pastries and the highest for heavy breads. The tricky part is some flours will be labelled the same, e.g. universalmehl, but have different numbers- always check the number is the secret.

Time for a table:

Italy France Germany AustriaDescription
0040405W480UK’s pasta flour

America’s pastry flour

Low gluten content

055550W700Plain flour

All-purpose flour

180812 Strong or bread flour

High gluten content

21101050 High gluten content; no direct equivalent but first clear flour in US is the closest. Use with other flours to provide more elasticity
  1200 Light “strong”/”bread” flour
Farina integrale di grano tenero150/1601600/1700W1600  “Strong”/”bread” flour
The Italian is wholewheat!

Useful flour terms:

  • Mehl: flour
  • Wiezenmehl: wheat flour
  • Volkornwiezen: whole wheat flour
  • Glatt: smooth
  • Griffig: rough
  • Universal: somewhere between smooth and rough
  • Edelweiss: also somewhere between smooth and rough

Important for all the tasty breads here, let’s explore wholewheat, rye and spelt flours:

  • Vorschussmehl 500: very light rye flour
  • Roggen(volkorn)mehl: (whole) rye flour or pumpernickel flour (Type R960 in Austria). Mix this with plain flour to make tasty Austrian-style breads
  • Roggenmehl 1150: medium to dark rye flour (Type R2500 in Austria)
  • Dinkelmehl 700: white spelt flour. Finely milled spelt flour often used instead of pastry flour. High gluten content
  • Dinkelvolkornmehl: whole spelt flour
  • Grieß (or Maisgrieß): made from maize, used to make polenta
  • Weizengrieß: wheat flour from Durum wheat, for semolina when coarse ground. Fine ground for pasta (thanks for comments!)
  • Dinkelgrieß: made from spelt

A further note, “natron” is sodium bicarbonate, to be used when a recipe asks for bicarbonate of soda/baking soda. Baking powder is “back pulver”. Cream of tartare is NOT apparently Weinstein[backpulver] (thanks for comments below!) but Weinsteinsäure is and is available in apoteks/pharmacies.

Yeast is “hefe” (German German) or “germ” (Austrian German) which you can find easily in dry and solid cube form.

In honour of Easter, I’m going to attempt homemade hot cross buns this week!! What are you trying in your iso-baking?

34 Replies to “How to Bake in Austria”

  1. Greiss in Austria is normally Maisgreiss which is yellow and used for polenta.
    Weissengreiss is wheat flour from Durum wheat and that is for semolina, coarse ground. Fine ground for pasta.

    1. very helpful! I must admit that greiss is not something I’m not an expert in so I’m grateful for the information!

      1. Hi there,
        It’s “Grieß” not “Greiss” 😉
        In Austria, the standard semolina (“Grieß” or “Weizengrieß”) is made out of wheat. There is also semolina made out of maize, called “Mais-Grieß” or “Polenta”. And “Dinkelgrieß”, which is made out of spelt.
        “Grieß” is , for example, used for an austrian dish called “Grießnockerl”. 🙂
        Hope that helps 🙂

        1. very helpful! i do know Grießnockerl (now with added Austrian keyboard correct spelling…), they’re tasty! What do you use Dinkelgreiß for?

          1. “Grieß” (“ie” = “[ee]”), not “Greiß” (ei).
            And “Vollkorn”, not “Volkorn”. 😉
            Also, don’t get caught saying “Hefe” in Austria :P, that’s the german version, while austrians use “Germ” (e.g. “Trockengerm” is instant yeast).

            “Dinkelgrieß” is used as a semi-substitute, like you would use whole-wheat flour to darken the result (and make it “healthier”). Personally, I’m not a fan of “Dinkelgrieß” because it makes dishes (e.g. “Grießfleckerln”) a lot drier.

          2. Just to help/elaborate, Stefanie’s comment was pointing out the ‘ie’ v ‘ei’ vowel order. It’s ‘ie’ 🙂

            ie is pronounced ee, so Grieß is pronounced like grease
            ei would be pronounced like ‘eye’

            Whether to use ‘ss’ or ‘ß’ is not important. Though ‘ss’ can always be used, ‘ß’ is not always normal, for example in Switzerland they don’t use it.

  2. I live in western Austria. I’ve been using “Universalmehl” as AP flour, but it’s confusingly has an ash count of 480, the same as Kuchenmehl (cake flour). Seems to work fine though. I’m trying to find bleached cake flour here for a recipe, but no luck.
    As for cream of tartar, I had to figure this out recently. It is NOT Weinstein Backpulver. What you need is Weinsteinsäure, and you have to get it from the Apotheke, not the Spar or wherever you shop. Fun conversation to have with the pharmacist when you speak German poorly.

    1. Thanks for the tips! Will update the post with your comments… I also use universalsmehl as all-purpose. I had read that Weinstein backpulver and weinsteinsäure were the same thing but haven’t had an opportunity to test this out yet.

  3. Hi Erinna,

    From your experience baking in Austria which flour is best for baking cookies? I’m from New Zealand and it’s very confusing the system over here also it seems you can not get soft brown sugar on raw brown sugar.

    Thanks

    1. Hi Matt,
      Same dilemma.. I get confused with the flour type too, I’ve been using AP flour for cookies. For the sugar though I just use Roh for cookies or a mix of white if you want chewy cookies…but if you want to use brown sugar I buy it from the Asian stores.
      I’m still figuring out what is the equivalent for bread flour, I bought type 700 and just read this article so I guess I still bought AP flour? 😂 Thanks for the info Erinna, will certainly double check next time. I really want to make those fluffy Japanese milk bread.

      1. I use something around 1600/1800 for bread but that’s because I don’t make white bread but stronger Irish soda breads and so on. I don’t know for sure but for something that sounds as light as Japanese milk bread, AP might work… let me know!

    2. Hi Matt, I think Type W480 is probably the best flour for cookies but W700 will work just as well. The problem is sometimes the flour is just labelled as “universal”/”glatt”/”griffig” and it’s hard to see the 480/700 marking! So you end up picking up the wrong one… 🙂 I agree with the brown sugar comment, it is hard to hunt soft brown sugar down but try health food stores or some of the bigger supermarkets. Hope they turn out tasty!

      1. Afaik bigger supermarkets like (Inter-/Euro-)Spar and Merkur sell brown sugar, maybe also try DM (kind of a drugstore but also sells healthy food stuff) – not sure about “cheaper” ones like Lidl or Hofer though.
        You could also look for “Kokosblütenzucker”, which is (brown) coconut-sugar.

  4. Had the same dilemma. Made focaccia with UNIVERSALtype 480 and was poor show.
    Today I spoke to pastry chef a a well renowned supermarket MERKUR and advised that type 700 would work for focaccia and the likes of breads with yeast.

    1. There’s no direct equivalent. “Griffig” means rough/coarse: it’s not as finely ground as “glatt”. “Doppelgriffiges” double so…

  5. Help me out here! Im stucked.. Im new in austria, whenever i wanna bake bread, they will advise me all flour can, (w400 & w700) but i wanna buy a real bread flour.. From where i was from, we buy bread flour, no special code or different tyle of categories… So if i wanna buy sourdough bread.. What flour should i use??

    1. As high a number as you can would be the short answer. They don’t have a flour called “bread” flour here, you just have to look at the pack for the number. Some packs also have a handy chart on the back indicating what the best use for that flour is (kekse, palatschinken, brot, knoedel…). I’d look for a 1600.

  6. Hi Erinna. I too had baking problems when first coming to Austria. If this is allowed its a really good no fail recipe.
    I used griffig 480 flour.
    http:/www.quick-german-recipes.com/easy/banana-bread-recipe.html

  7. I’m almost certain, that you find a lot of specialty ingredients like brown sugar, Kokosblütenzucker, Birkenzucker, Agavendicksaft etc in the Bio-supermarkets (“Denn’s” in Vienna). They really have a rich variety of articles.

  8. Hi everyone! There seems to be a lot of questions about brown sugar, i.e. muscovado, i.e. the molassesy one. If you go to a normal supermarket, you’re likely to only see “braun zucker” which is the raw sugar. If you use this in baking a good ol’ American style chocolate chip cookie for instance, you’re not gonna get that chewy-gooey mouthful, more likely a hockey puck.

    You can find brown sugar, i.e. the molassesy one, at stores like Prosi or the Exotic Green in Vienna, and they even have light and dark versions. I have even tried jaggery, which is basically the same thing but just not ground up. It’s nice for melty recipes, but not so much for baking. I usually also pick up a jar of molasses at one of these stores and when I run out of my stock of brown sugar I put about 1-2 tbs of molasses to 1 cup sugar and blend it up really well in my food processor and use that successfully as a baking replacement.

    Hope this helped! Love that someone else did all the research about the flours though, thanks! 😉

  9. Hi everyone. Not only was I very confused with respect to the various types of flour available in Austria, I have the added issue of living at an altitude of 1450 feet which, unbeknown to me to start with, made my cakes rise over the top of the tins and the middle collapsing! Leading to very disappointing results. No problems with bread baking or yeasted cakes. Also no problem with my Christmas cake, found brown sugar closest resembling UK style packed dark brown sugar in Merkur. Had to ask for black treacle to be sent from the UK though 🙂.
    My husband’s normally amazing Yorkshire puddings were a disaster using Austrian flour and also had plain flour brought across.
    Still haven’t succeeded in baking a sponge cake as well as in the UK but this is likely due to the altitude we’re at.

    1. Oh I feel the pain of disastrous Yorkshires!! I still can’t get them right here and that’s without the excuse of altitude (does 400m have an impact?!)

  10. Hi everybody. It’s interesting to read the conclusions many of you searching for the right answer for the “Austrian” flour market.

    Erinna! First, thanks for a flour-comparison table,… but the art of flour isn’t so simple. The level of the ash in flour indicates how clean is it and its nothing to do with the real quality of the flour! For example… in the UK you will find that the quality of flour is much, much better as you will find here. The protein level, minerals, etc. in the flour in the UK, Italy, France (from 14% – 16% pro 100g) are much higher than here in Austria (7% – 12% pro 100g). And those are the only factors that count.

    For instance, a few months ago, you could found by Hofer the Haberfellner Pizzamehel – as Italian type 00 – but labeled as W700?!? The quality wasn’t even close to Italian type 00.

    Actually, Austrian’s flour has extremely poor quality. I talk about the flour you can buy in supermarkets. It doesn’t matter where you are buying – Spar, Merkur, Lidl, Hofer,… and how expensive it is… it has extremely low quality. And that is something that Austria can’t be proud of.

    But it isn’t so hopeless as it seems.
    #1 Make your own flour-mixture.

    — Bread / Italian half-white / home bread —
    https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1PCclj4G6rYMlbFgRVzfnO99a2NbRr5gf
    79% SPAR Weizenmehel glatt naturrein Type W 700
    14% BUDGET (Spar) Weizenmehel griffig Type W 700
    7% HOFER “bio” Vollkorn Weizenmehl / just for taste and vitamins

    … for better taste, you can lower the percentage by Type W 700 glatt flour to 74% and add a max. 5% of Semolina/Durum flour. In Austria, it is almost impossible to buy this type of flour in supermarkets. But… use the coffee grinder and the Weizengriess… You will get just the right flour quality.
    You can use Hofer Greek olive oil –  max. 3,75% of flour quantity. Sugar replace with the honey – max. 2.65% (it’s also a great natural stabilizer), and not more than 0.55% of fresh yeast… and, of course, no more than 55-60% of hydration.
    ——————————————————————-
    Just as advice for the Yorkshire pudding! Use the HOFER type 480 glatt flour instead of any other Austrian W480 type flour. Hofer sells German standard of flour – without W :). “The devil” is hiding in flour and not in sugar. Cheap doesn’t always mean bad quality and expensive doesn’t always mean good…. Also, the excuse for the higher sea-level altitude… is nonsense and it doesn’t go together with so-called the “pressurized-dough-rising” method where you will get at the end better result!

    P.S. Sorry for my bad English… somehow, when I was born it wasn’t my first option. :))))

    – Best

    1. You can find “Fini’s Feinstes Weizenmehl glatt W700” with 14 % Protein per 100 g and at Lidl you can buy “Omas Backstube Weizenmehl glatt W480” which has 15 g Protein per 100 g.

      Also I read that the flour you use for cake should be lower in protein than the flour you use for bread:

      Cake flour => low protein => less gluten and softeter texture (about 7-9 % protein per 100 g)
      All-Purpose Flour => 10 – 12% protein per 100 g
      Bread flour => high protein => harder texture (about 12 – 16% protein per 100 g)

      I think for cake it is best to use W480 glatt with low protein.

      Maybe this is helpful for someone.

  11. Trying to match flour to strong bread flour and only baking with spelt has been a trial and error challenge. For general baking, I rely on Fini’s Feinest Dinkelmehl, which it tells me is Type 700. Today i found one labelled T1000, so hopefully relying on “In general, the higher the number, the “stronger” that flour is.” I bought it to try.

    It’s labelled Bio Dinkelmehl weiß T1000 1000ge AUS ÖSTERREICH on the back Ein Produkt von: Ollmann Bio Handel e. U A-4190 Bad Leonfelden.

    I used it to make Warburton’s Crumpets. For those of you not used to the winter eating habits of England and Wales, a crumpet is a simple cooked like a pancake with the batter poured into small metal rings to keep the single portion shape. Warburton’s is a commercial bread maker from Northern England, whose crumpets are legendary, and who, in honour of that, has recently published their crumpet recipe and it is so easy and fast to make. https://www.warburtons.co.uk/news/crumpet-recipe-revealed/

    I made twelve and adjusted the ingredients as follows:
    Ingredients (makes 6 crumpets):
    * 150g plain white flour [300g of Bio Dinkelmehl weiß T1000]
    * 200ml water [400ml water]
    * ½ tsp salt [1 x 5 ml teaspoon]
    * ½ tsp sugar [1 x 5 ml teaspoon]
    * 1 tsp baking powder [2 x 5 ml teaspoons Alnatura Backpulver]
    * 1 tsp dried yeast [1 x 7g packet of Haas Germ]

    Turned out well. Last year, I tried to buy 8cm Tortenring in the local shop, but ended up here https://www.amazon.de/dp/B00A3FW1MC

    1. I have recently moved to Vienna.

      Erinna, thanks so much for detailing about flour types and mainly their names. Your post was an eye opener for differentiating baking powder and soda. Am yet to find Natron here, which is so cheaply available in India:-).

      Likewise, all above discussion of flour, quality and suggested blends etc was really helpful. Thank you all. Also, let me know where can I exactly find equipments like say mockmill or even whole grains of sorghum, whole-wheat, rye.

      1. Glad it was helpful! For the Natron, try a healthfood shop like Martin Reformstark, they’ll often sell it in bigger, cheaper tubs as a non-chemical house cleaner.

  12. Hello,

    Which type of flour would you recommend for a sponge cake?

    The comments here are very helpful but still unsure as to which is the best one to go for…

    Thanks in advance!

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