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Thoughts on adding gluten to bread recipes?

Katie Nell Mar 12, 2007 06:32 AM

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!

  1. c
    cheryl_h Mar 12, 2007 07:19 AM

    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. Olivia Mar 12, 2007 07:52 AM

      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. amyzan Mar 12, 2007 12:47 PM

        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. Katie Nell Mar 12, 2007 02:45 PM

          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. p
            peter_b Mar 15, 2007 02:31 AM

            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
              chowser Mar 15, 2007 04:28 AM

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

              http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-glute...

            2. chowser Mar 15, 2007 04:25 AM

              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
                Katie Nell Mar 15, 2007 05:34 AM

                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. a
                AnnaEA Mar 15, 2007 07:32 AM

                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. m
                  mlrakas Dec 30, 2007 12:53 PM

                  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)

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