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    Puff pastry cheese sticks

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    Fusion curry chicken

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    Poppy seed strudel

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    Vietnamese sandwich seller

How to buy flour for bread baking in China - bread baking basics for the artisan bread baker in China

Whole wheat flour packaging
Whole wheat flour packaging
Living in China is a unique experience. It has its up and downs that every expat, after leaving his or her home country knows. One of the less convenient side of this is the lack of the most basic things that every westerner is used to have from home. Actually the idea for my whole blog came up because I wanted to share the experience of me living in China and trying to recreate food from back home and the difficulties I encounter while doing this. 
The second most popular food that every German will miss when moving to China is bread. No other country then Germany has a similar variety of breads. Back home our bake shops have any type of imaginable bread for sale. There is wheat bread, rye bread, spelt bread, rice bread, soft bread, hard bread, bread with grains, bread with bruised grains, grey bread, dark bread and so on and so forth. I started baking bread because I thought that paying nearly 5 Euro for a loaf of bread from one of the specialty shops is simply too much. I can do that on my own and I can do better and healthier. Then my bread baking experience started and brought to where I am today. But during this experience, one of my difficulties was getting the right ingredients – flour. Here in China I mostly found Wheat flour for dumplings and all-purpose wheat flour. And still today, I know that many are haggling in finding the right flour in order to bake the right bread. Yes, there are more and more shops that are focused on selling imported flours, but they are in general rather expensive and today there are other ways to get your flour.

Rye flour packaging
Rye flour packaging
I have been asked several time where to find the right flour for bread baking. Recently I had the same conversation again with a German lady living up in Kumming. So I decided to come up with this essential blog entry for all of you fellow bread bakers out there in China.
On my research concerning this topic I found a lot of useful material. One useful site, which I found on my research was this one as it listed a great variety of vocabulary concerning the different flours, besides this I found a lot of other useful sites out there as well. Today I want to blog about how to buy flour for your bread baking in order to help the readers of my blog in buying their flours and grains.
  • First of all for a better communication, here are some expressions in Chinese concerning flours and grains:
Flour - 粉(fen) or 面 (mian)
Yeast酵母 (Jiaomu)

Different types of wheat flours
Wheat - 特小麦 - (xiaomai)
Regular flour – 普通粉 (putong fen)
Standard flour 标准粉 (biaozhun fen)
Enriched flour 富强粉 (fuqiang fen)
Whole wheat flour 全麦粉 (quanmai fen)
Low-gluten flour 低筋粉 (dijin fen)
Mid-gluten flour 中筋粉 (zhongjin fen)
High-gluten flour 高筋粉 (gaojin fen)
Self-rising flour 自发粉 (zifa fen)
Bread flour 面包粉 (mianbao fen)
Cake flour 蛋糕粉 (dangao fen)

Other flours
Rye 黑麦(heimai)
Rye flour 黑麦粉 (heimai fen)
Barley 大麦 (damai) - yimi
Barley flour 大麦粉(damai fen) - yimi
Oat - 燕麦 (yanmai)
Oat flour 燕麦粉 (yanmai fen)
Spelt -斯佩耳特小麦(sipeierte xiaomai)
Spelt flour -斯佩耳特小麦粉 (sipeierte xiaomai fen)
Buckwheat flour 荞麦粉 (qiaomai fen)
  • Where to get your:
A very good, cheap and convenient way to get your flours is the Taboao (Chinese copy of Ebay) website. Let’s say you want to use buckwheat flour to bake bread. Just go to the Taobao webpage and enter 荞麦粉 and check the search results, order and patiently wait for your flour to arrive at your home.
Since recently I have been able to find some whole wheat and organic wheat flour in some selected supermarkets (see above), which makes us home bakers happy, such as yeast and whole wheat flour (organic). So next time you go shopping, watch out in the flour shelf or speak to the people in the department and ask them to get some of that flour for you. The supermarket in question are:
"Hao You Duo” "好又多“ (also called Trust Mart) is a Chinese supermarket chain that has been bough over by Wall Mart a while ago.
Trust Mart Logo
The other supermarket that get it at the Hong Kong invested Aeon supermarket formerly known as Jusco. Also keep your eyes open in other, less well know supermarkets as I found the above mentioned flour in some of them as well.
Wholesale markets:
In Guangzhou there is a street called Yi De Lu (一德路). In this street there are a lot of wholesale shops that sell anything that you can imagine. You can find toys, shoes, clothes, silver wear, cutleries, furniture, small items, big items, dried seafood, herbs, spices, food, drink and after searching a while, you will fall on some of them that sell baking ingredient such as walnuts, nuts, linseeds and I even found the rye flour that I am using over there, I even found shops that are selling imported cheese and other food items at reasonable prices.
Having been around China, I know that in almost every bigger city there are such wholesale markets. Just ask around where they are or do a research on the internet. Every bigger city in China has an expat forum where such places are shared among those foreigners living there.

So, I hope those tips can help you to get the flour that you need for baking your bread. If you have any additional tips and tricks on how to get to your bread, please share them with me as I am always keen and eager to learn more and improve my ingredient shopping performance.

This is the first article of my bread baking basics section, many more will follow in the future so my reader's will have a practical knowledge base of many topics concerning the baking of bread and the special topics (such as the above) when you want to do that while you live in China.


  1. ... ich sags ja immer wieder, hier ist fast Schlaraffenland, für Mehl gibt es etliche Mühlen in der Gegend.

  2. Ja, ein berühmter Philosoph hat mal gesagt man weiß immer was einem fehlt wenn man was nicht mehr hat. Das geht mir auch so, erst jetzt weiß ich so richtig wie sehr mir das Essen zu Hause fehlt. Hat das wirklich ein Philosoph gesagt oder war ich’s etwa selber? Genieße es, ich würde auch gerne mal wieder neben einer Mühle wohnen.