A bread recipe calls for 4 cups of all-purpose flour... i already have a bag of bread flour, why wouldn't I use the bread flour instead?
What are you making? BF has a protein content of 12-12.5%. AP's is 10-10.5%. AP flour won't make a good bread, generally, and BF is way too strong for baked goods other than bread. Does that help!
Sorry, I just read the rest of your question. Duh, I see you're making bread. I find it extremely frustrating when a bread recipe calls for bread flour OR all-purpose flour, as if they're interchangeable. They aren't. Before I say use the bread flour, may I ask what kind of bread you're making?
I do understand that bread flour has stronger gluten for bread making. However, I've used A/P flour for many recipes over the last few years with delightful results. Just make sure you're doing to steps correctly (kneading, resting, rising) and with enough time to develop the glutens in the a/p flour.
thx guys! i'm making a Whole Wheat Oatmeal Honey Bread. beautiful pix Queen!
One hint: Get a digital scale and measure by weight. They're cheap now..with a 'tear' function you can measure directly in the bowl--spooning in flour.
My baking improved a lot since using that. Google will reveal weights of different AP flours in grams. For example Gold Medal AP flour weighs in 130 g/cup. While other flours weigh in 125g/cup. It adds up and can be the diffrence between success and fail.
We actually just posted a link on differences between many different types of flour! It basically comes down to the gluten content in each. Bread flour typically has a higher percentage of gluten (11-15%) than all-purpose (11-12%). The higher gluten makes the bread "spongier" and more dense. Hope that helps!
Since you are using whole grains which are heavier, an extra boost from the gluten in the bread flour should be beneficial.