Hungarian High Altitude Flour?

Mike Nolan

I was in a WalMart the other day and they had flour by ConAgra called "Hungarian High Altitude Unbleached Flour".

About all I can gather from the package is that the 'high altitude' refers to where the wheat is grown, not what it is used for. The 'Hungarian' part refers to how it is made. It appears to be a more finely milled flour.

I didn't buy any, yet.

The package didn't have a lot of information about what to do with the flour. Any ideas?

badge posted by: Mike Nolan on January 18, 2012 at 12:38 am in Q & A
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reply by: pammyowl on January 18, 2012 at 1:01 am

My Walmart does not carry it. I'm looking forward to the answers you get!

reply by: KitchenBarbarian aka Zen on January 18, 2012 at 7:52 am
KitchenBarbarian aka Zen

According to the Denver post:

"A note on "high-altitude" flour: The High-Altitude Hungarian Flour sold in grocery stores throughout the Southwest is milled by ConAgra from hard wheat grown at high altitudes. It has about 12 percent protein, about as much as bread flour. "

Some people speculate that it is a "short patent flour". Yes, I had to look that up too.

"..."short patent" milling process, a method that was much more common a century ago than today. The difference is that in short patent milling the wheat is ground more times and sifted with finer-meshed sieves than in standard milling. Also, the short patent process sifts away more by-product, leaving only the heart of the wheat kernel ... The result is a flour that is smoother in texture and produces baked goods that are consistently light and fluffy"

There's actually an entire cookbook devoted to High Altitude Hungarian flour but it's been out of print for 30 years!

Gourmet Sleuth further defines the types of patent flours:

"Patent flour is the purest and highest-quality commercial wheat flour available. Patent flour is made from the center portion of the endosperm.

Patent flour is classified in five categories, depending on the amount of straight flour it obtains.

Extra short or fancy and first patent flours are made from soft wheat and are used for cake flours. Extra short or fancy patent contains 40 to 60 percent straight flour.

First patent flour contains 60 to 70 percent straight flour.

Short patent flour made from hard wheat is the most highly recommended commercially milled flour for bread baking, it contains 70 to 80 percent straight flour.

Medium patent flour contains 80 to 90 percent straight flour and is also excellent for bread baking, as is long patent flour, which is made with 90 to 95 percent straight flour. It is up to the baker to determine which of these flours best serves his or her purposes."

My guess is the finer milling breaks up the starches more and makes a smaller particle size so the flour will (or should) absorb water more easily.

Apparently KA bread flour (not the AP) is also a short patent flour, albeit with a higher protein content (14.7% as opposed to the 11% or 12% of the High Altitude Hungarian).

BTW if you call Conagra, they will tell you the exact protein content of the flour. They've been pretty responsive to those kinds of questions from me in the past.

How it got it's name and a test of the flour, which seems to bear out the idea that the milling process lends itself to better absorption of water.

I'd give it a try, if it's not too expensive. Could be interesting.

reply by: pammyowl on January 18, 2012 at 9:34 am

Wow,you really did your homework! If I can find it, I'll definitively try it. In fact, I'll give my favorite store a call. Perhaps they will be interested!

reply by: Mike Nolan on January 18, 2012 at 9:40 am
Mike Nolan

You don't see a lot of flour labeled as 'patent flour', probably because most people don't understand what that means and may not care, either.

I don't recall having noticed the phrase until just a few years ago, but back then if we had two different kinds of wheat flour in the house that would have been unusual, these days I usually have a half dozen or more of them on hand.

Another flour labeled as a short patent flour that I can get locally is Hudson Cream flour, milled by The Stafford County Flour Mills Co. in Hudson KS, although their website lists several more varieties than I have seen locally.

I'm still not sure exactly what I would make with Hungarian High Altitude flour, though. I don't recall what it was priced at, it was a fairly small bag (under 5 pounds) so on a per pound basis it is probably on the high side. That Walmart (on the other side of town) did not have King Arthur flour on the shelf, the one nearest to us does, but they don't currently have Wheat Montana hard red winter wheat berries, which they had had in the past in 25 pound bags, and that's what I went in to the other store looking for. (They didn't have it, either.)

reply by: KitchenBarbarian aka Zen on January 18, 2012 at 9:51 am
KitchenBarbarian aka Zen

If I could get it and it weren't TOO expensive, I would like to try a conventional baguette recipe with it. Since it's water absorption ratio is high but it's protein content isn't TOO high, I surmise that it might make an adequate replacement for the French flour you can't get very easily here.

reply by: pammyowl on January 18, 2012 at 9:56 am

You must have a much better stocked Walmart than I. They do not have much of a section of flours. They do carry KAF AP, but not their bread flour. I have never seen any wheat berries, not even rye flour! I suppose it all depends on their market.

reply by: Mike Nolan on January 18, 2012 at 10:05 am
Mike Nolan

Some do, some don't, the store and department managers do have some flexibility in what they carry. (My DIL worked for WalMart for several years and went through their management training program.)

I often carry a pocket size reporter's notebook with me to jot down notes on products and pricing at various stores, but I didn't have it with me on Sunday.

See #300 at These are far more durable than the pocket note pads you can get at an office supply store.

reply by: KitchenBarbarian aka Zen on January 18, 2012 at 10:23 am
KitchenBarbarian aka Zen

You can get a lot of items online for in-store delivery that local stores don't carry.

The High Altitude Hungarian flour is a regional thing, it seems to be fairly easily found in some of the plains states, CO, UT, like that, maybe CA. I've never seen it in any of the midwestern, southern, northern, or southeastern states I've lived in.