Six European wheat flours with varying breadmaking potentials (Apollo, Slejpner, Sperber, Camp Remy, Minaret, and Soissons; Glu-1 scores 4, 4, 7, 6, 9, and 10, respectively) and pentosan levels were brought to constant protein level with starch. Breads were baked in a straight-dough procedure with varying mixing times (MT) and baking absorption levels (BA). Response surface methodology showed that, among all realistic combinations of interdependent variables MT and BA, there is no optimum combination resulting in a superior bread loaf. Bread volumes increased with longer MT and higher BA levels, handling properties of the resulting doughs being the limiting factor. When flours of different cultivars, adjusted to a constant protein level, were baked with the same MT and BA (provided this resulted in a manageable dough), they yielded breads of essentially equal volume. The baking performance was thus determined by the MT and BA applied, and differences in breadmaking potential of such flours must be attributed to a great extent to factors governing the mixing and absorption level characteristics of the flour. Analysis of pentosan contents indicated that higher water-soluble pentosan levels resulted in lower BA levels and mixing tolerance (and thus lower bread volumes), and that an inverse relationship exists between the handling properties of a dough and the flour water-soluble pentosan content. At the same time, the Glu-1 score was in good agreement with the volume potentials and the MT of the different flours.