The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Bread flour vs. wheat gluten

nsimon's picture

Bread flour vs. wheat gluten

  I was wondering if anyone has experience using powdered wheat gluten to strengthen flour/dough as opposed to using high-gluten flour.  It seems attractive not to have to stock two kinds of flour (AP + bread), but does it work as well?  How much of the gluten does one need to add to strengthen the dough adequately?

Paddyscake's picture

I experimented with it for for whole wheat and ryes. Bob's Red Mill suggests a T per cup of flour.


maurdel's picture

I also use vital wheat gluten with whole wheats (even half WWs)  and ryes. Bread flours seem to have something called "dough conditioners" added. These typically consist of a small amt. of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), and usually diastatic malt (barley malt, I think) along with the wheat gluten. 

If you've got some vitamin C at home, and the gluten it sure seems like a good beginning for a test run. 

I'll be interested to hear how you like the results.

Janedo's picture

I have used it for certain recipes, but it has never shown the results that a true bread flour has.


subfuscpersona's picture

a late contribution...

I use these proportions to mimic King Arthur bread flour (which is 14% protein): 2 TBS vital wheat gluten per pound (weighed) of flour. The flour I use is General Mills' Harvest King bread flour (also labeled "better for bread"), which is about 12% protein.

Sift the vital wheat gluten into the flour thoroughly (if you have a kitchen aid mixer, you can use the wire whip to mix it in). If the vital wheat gluten is not completely and evenly distributed in your flour, you can get ropy strands of rubbery dough which can be hard to incorporate evenly in the final dough.

This performs almost as well as KA bread flour.

I use this mixture in breads that contain 30% or more whole grain flour/grits or for multigrain loaves.

I mix up several pounds of this fortified flour at a time, so I always have some on hand.


suave's picture

I never use it, it just feels wrong somehow.  But plenty of people do, and I think it is pretty much a standard for bread machines.

baltochef's picture

Back when I owned a bread machine, before I owned a DLX mixer, and before higher protein content bread flours were available for purchase in local grocery stores here in Baltimore, I spent 3, or so, years using the pure gluten flour that I purchased fro KA Baker's Catalog..

I never felt that the Vital Wheat Gluten was anything more than a so-so substitute for good bread flour..Regardless of the methodology I employed to knead the bread, bread machine, KitchenAid or Kenwood stand mixer with a hook, DLX mixer with roller and scraper, or hand kneading; when using all purpose flour with vital wheat gluten, the finished loaves were always slightly less acceptable than the same recipe executed with the higher protein bread flour..

Now, don't get me wrong, fresh bread is always better than mass manufactured bread..But, seeking out the better bread flour is always to be preferred over a softer flour with gluten added..At least that has been my experience..