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Thoughts on adding gluten to bread recipes?

I took a breadbaking class on Saturday with my brother's girlfriend- it was my Christmas present to her! (See how I worked that out well- Christmas present to her, and me!! ;-) The class was slightly disappointing, not a ton of information, I think the presenter lacked the confidence to teach that class. Anyway, she made a whole wheat bread and there was 2 T. of gluten in the recipe. I bake quite a bit, and I make bread every once and a while, so I've seen lots of recipes, but I've *never* seen a recipe with added gluten. What are your thoughts on this? Is it necessary? She said if a recipe has more than 50% whole wheat or some other flour besides all-purpose or bread, to add the gluten for less dense bread. However, she was not necessarily confident in her answer, so now I'm not either!

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  1. DH is the bread baker in the family and he often adds gluten when he makes ww bread. You don't need much, around 1-2 Tbs for about 4 cups of flour (I think). It does make a difference in the texture which is more elastic and less crumbly.

    1. Well put cheryl_h. I also sometimes add a Tbsp or two of gluten flour when I'm making white bread for the same reasons, and always if I'm out of bread flour (oops!). Makes for a better crumb, and crisper crust.

      1. I find the extra gluten helps the dough hold its shape once its risen, so I get a lighter loaf. I use it mostly for whole wheat sandwich breads, though, not so much for other shapes.

        1. Interesting... I might have to try one loaf with gluten and one without, just to see and taste the difference. My one attempt at all whole wheat was extremely dense.

          1. this is excellent stuff..so..i want to make bread using oat flour and found this chat as i thought that adding gluten would help it to raise, as oats dont have teh right protein to make gluten. I am doing this as part of teh weight watchers core plan diet...so what actually is gluten and how do i buy it / where ?

            1 Reply
            1. re: peter_b

              I've seen it in the baking section of grocery stores. It's a protein that's found in wheat, among other grains.


            2. How much gluten would you add to a recipe that didn't call for it? Do you mix it in with the flour? Thanks!

              1 Reply
              1. re: chowser

                The teacher of the class said beteen 1 T. to 2 T. for one loaf... we mixed it in with the warm milk and the yeast. But, like I said, I wasn't super confident in her, so maybe someone else will chime in.

              2. I use pure gluten flour at a proportion of 1 tbs per cup of low-gluten flour in a recipe. This allows AP flour to be used as bread flour very nicely. It also gives a nice boost to the rise in whole wheat breads, rye breads - really any bread made with a large proportion on non-wheat flour.

                I add gluten to my flour, and give it a quick whisk or sift to make sure it's thoroughly distributed. Breads with added gluten usually take little longer to knead up well -- this is typical of flours in general, gluten added or not. More gluten means longer kneading. Occasionally, you will need a little bit more liquid as well.

                On a side note - the pure wheat gluten used in baking is the same stuff you would use to make quick homemade seitan out of.

                1. I must agree with Cheryl H. I made a loaf of whole wheat bread last night. I realized I used AP white flour instead of Bread flour. I added 2 tablespoons of gluten to the mix. It was the best whole wheat bread I have ever made! It was very light, flavorful, and nice texture for making sandwiches. Even though your bread instructor may not have been sure of herself, I feel her information was correct. Happy bread baking! (It's all science and chemistry)