A Journey Into Bread Baking World

Rye flour types and where to buy them

This blog is using British rye flour names paired with German flour grading. German flour grades (types) are a golden standard in my opinion and are also used outside of Germany. But since this blog is in English and I, the author, happen to live in UK, it makes sense to me to use British naming conventions.

Common types of rye flour (from left to right):
White, Medium, Crushed Meal, Light, Dark

The issue with British names is that there are no flour standards and regulations currently in UK, so the exact meaning of the terms vary by brand. To make things even more confusing, other English speaking countries are using slightly different terminology. And they also have no standards whatsoever. I’ll try my best in this post to provide some guidance on how to deal with this mess.

German standards and English terminology

German grading is based on ash content of flour and dates back to 30s of XX century. The higher the ash content, the more whole grain the flour is. This is true for all types of flour in Germany. Rye grading starts at 700 and ends with 1740. Grades above 1740 are reserved for rye meal, eg crushed grains instead of flour. More information about German flour grading can be found here.

Austria is using a similar system to German one with slight numbering differences. But usually German and Austrian flours with similar grade numbers can replace each other without any real impact on the final bread.

UK and US are using colour lightness of the flour to describe how whole the flour is. The following table tries to match British and American terms to German and Austrian grades.

UK US Germany Austria
White White T610-T815 R500
Light T997 R960 Light
Light T1150 R960
Medium Medium T1370
Dark Wholegrain T1740
Wholegrain Dark Roggen-Vollkornmehl R2500

White and light rye flour availability might be an issue in some places, but Russian sources indicate that they are interchangeable in home baking and should not affect the end result.

Flour sources in UK

Shipton Mill is a well-known and trusted source of flour in Britain. They sell high quality products at reasonable prices and they are my go to source for everything flour related. But their rye selection is extremely limited: 2 flour types and chopped grain. Their naming is also a bit wrong since they call Type 1350 a Dark Rye Flour (it is Medium), but at least their flour has German grading, so that makes everything a lot simpler.

Doves farm is the only producer of White Rye Flour I know of. No grading, sadly. Their range can be found in many supermarkets. Their Dark Rye Flour (called Wholemeal for some reason…) is also very good.

Main issue with British flour is that it is not milled fine enough and it feels more like fine meal than proper flour. My recommendation would be to buy rye flour from Austria from Piccantino online shop. They have the following flours:

Flour sources in US

I have never been to US, so my recommendations are no more than a speculation here, but Internet is ull of positive reviews of King Arthur Flour. Their rye selection is quite limited and they don’t provide any grading references. This is everything they have:

Ginsberg has a good post on rye flour in his blog and he mentions different American flour manufacturers. I think it is worth checking out if you live in US and want to bake some great rye breads. He also has plenty of recipes there and he wrote probably the only good book about baking rye in English language.

Flour sources in Europe

If you happen to live in rye countries like Germany, Latvia, Finland or Russia, then you hit a jackpot! All of the rye flour variety is available in your local supermarket any day of the year and your country has some set standards about its quality.

If you are not so lucky, try ordering flour from German online shops like Delivery might be expensive though.

Flour sources elsewhere

I don’t know, sadly. If you have any information on where to buy quality rye flour in your country - please let me know and I will update this post accordingly.

P.S. 02.06.2020 update: added Austrian flours, removed outdated or misleading information.