The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

high gluten flour vs vital wheat gluten

bobm1's picture
bobm1

high gluten flour vs vital wheat gluten

just wondering, does it make any sense to add vwg to a high gluten flour??

i know some of you would say don't use the stuff at all but this is one of those idle 'what if' thoughts that begged to be asked.

 

tokyotoshi's picture
tokyotoshi

what are the advantages of using organic flour over regular in terms of bread quality such as flavor, crust and crumb appearance?

bobm1's picture
bobm1

tokyotoshi, i have experimented only a little with organic bread flour. it isn't regularly stocked where we live and is generally more expensive.

i can't say that there has been any real difference in performance or flavor from fresh non-organic flour. at least not enough to warrent the extra cost.

sephiepoo's picture
sephiepoo

Hi Bobm1,

So I guess my question would be: what are you trying to make with your high gluten flour + vwg?

Since (in general) high gluten flour has more gluten than bread flour, it is ideal for things like bagels.  Too much gluten in your flour, and your result will be very chewy, which may or may not be what you want.  I personally don't see the need to add more gluten to an already gluten-rich flour - bagels are chewy enough!

To be honest, I don't stock high gluten flour.  I would use it so infrequently, and DF doesn't like the uber chewiness of bagels anyway.  He prefers them made with just bread flour (even better with apf, but then I don't like them!).  I only keep vwg for the times when I do want an extra shot of gluten, or those emergencies when I run out of bread flour :)

For anyone reading who is unfamiliar with Vital Wheat Gluten - it is very different from flour- all purpose, bread, and high gluten.  Not the same at all.

So I guess to answer your question: no, to me it doesn't make sense to add vwg to high gluten flour.  I'd guess that it depends on what you'd intend to use it for and what your desired result is...

bobm1's picture
bobm1

thankyou, sephiepoo for your reply. it seemed like a no brainer but without a little experimenting ya just don't know for sure.

i have been making RLB's ten grain for some time with bread flour and the addition of VWG. some folks have commented that the bread was to soft and could i make it a bit 'denser'. well, first i tried to make it denser by pre shaping and reshaping. this did create a tighter more dense crumb, though the loaves were a bit smaller, but during the final proof the loaves would split and tear. they did that to some degree before the two step shape so i'm not sure what the cause of that problem might be. anyway, i got hold of some hg flour and began to make that same formula, looking for a little denser crumb and less tearing during the final proof. that's when i started to wonder about weather i should continue to use the vwg.

it really is a matter of personal preference. i like the bread flour version, somewhat soft with a medium open crumb. good toast and sandwich bread. still, it's hard not to try and please everyone!

sephiepoo's picture
sephiepoo

Hi Bobm1,

Are you actually meaning that the unbaked dough tears as it proofs right before baking? or that during the bake, the loaves tend to split and tear?

If the dough tears during proofing, it sounds like you're either preshaping too tightly, and/or you need to let the dough relax more before the final shaping. I don't do a whole lot with whole grain breads (DF doesn't like them so much) so I couldn't really attest to that recipe, but have you ever tried the dough with just the bread flour (no vwg) or with all-purpose (again, no vwg)? Supposedly, the extra gluten gives you extra lift especially with the low-gluten whole grains, but if you're looking for a "denser" bread, maybe you don't actually want that extra lift?

If your loaves are tearing during the bake, you're almost definitely underproofing them too much. What was the result when you used the hg flour? Did you like it? :) You're absolutely right when you say it's hard not to try to please everyone! Ultimately, you should do what YOU like, since you're the baker :) Unless you're actually selling your product, which is an entirely different situation.

bobm1's picture
bobm1

yes, unbaked dough tears during final proof. i have been told that it is most likely a 'handling' problem and i have been more conscience of how i shape. even tried several different methods. i usually allow the dough 20 mins. or so to relax before the final shaping. i know that grains in general interfer with the formation of gluten structure do to their sharp surfaces, thus the addition of vwg?. trying the dough without grain is a good idea and i will try it. some side by side comparisons using different flours,etc., might be useful ,too.