Northern-style Chinese steamed bread was made from seven flours differing in quality. Its textural and external qualities were evaluated subjectively by a trained panel and objectively using both an Instron Universal Test Machine (IUTM) and a Minolta CR 310 colour meter. There were significant correlations between sensory analyses and instrumental measurements. The maximum compression force (Pl) was significantly and negatively correlated with the softness and cohesiveness of steamed bread (P<0·01). Stress relaxation (SR) was shown to be significantly and negatively correlated with the overall eating quality of steamed bread (P<0·01). The Minolta x value gave the highest significant correlation (negative) with both steamed bread skin and crumb colour (P<0·001). These results were confirmed using an additional set of flours. The data from the instrumental measurements were highly reproducible, and the methods are suitable for use in routine testing of flours for northern-style Chinese steamed bread.