The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Gluten and sourdough breads

Jahosacat's picture

Gluten and sourdough breads

I'm making my first sourdough loaf this morning. While I was looking thru my recipes, I noticed many of them called for bread flour. I can't find bread flour around here that has a protein content any higher than my AP flour. I like to bake with whole wheat flour, so, between that and the AP flour, when I've made breads prior to this in my bread machine I've added gluten. I'd be interested in reading comments about glutens use in sourdough bread. I didn't add any to the loaf I have rising now, but, I'm curious if experienced bakers think adding it will make a difference.

whiskers's picture

I also made my very first sourdough bread last week using this recipe:

I didn't have any bread flour, so I used all AP four with about 2 TBSP of gluten. It came out beautifully, but I don't know if it would've performed the same way if I had not added any gluten. Since then, I've also made a few loafs with different amounts and combinations of whole wheat, AP flour, and bread flour, but I haven't done any side-by-side comparison - two exactly the same loafs, one with gluten and one without. So I can't really say if there is or should be a big difference.

This is a great question! And I will be cirous to find out what more experiences bakers here have to say.

mrfrost's picture

If you are using the nutrition labels to calculate protein levels, just be aware that, because of rounding(off numbers), flours with identical numbers on the labels may differ as much as 2% in real protein levels. That can be pretty significant.

Of course. this is assumming that the results achieved using the ap flour were not satisfactory.

If you do decide to use added gluten, it only takes about one level tablespoon to increase the protein in a pound of flour 1 percentage point. So, it doesn't take much.


althetrainer's picture

We each have our preference when it comes to bread making.  I always add vital wheat gluten into my SD loaves.  I use 1 tablespoon of VWG for each cup of WW flour that I use.  My WW sandwich loaves always rise very nicely that way.  Of course, it's just my preference.  Al

ArieArie's picture

If I run out of bread flour, I use AP flour with 2 Tblspoons per Kg.   I see that you add 1 Tblspoon per cup, which increases the protein by 6% in adddition to the 10% or 11% the flour already has. I find that much of protein makes the final product a bit too rubbery..

The only tip I can add here is to mix the Gluten in to the flour VERY WELL. I sift the mixture 3 or 4 time to make sure the gluten is dispersed as evenly as possible in the AP flour. 


Jahosacat's picture

Thanks for the comments. I'm not a scientist and I was wondering if the starter would change the rise at all. I'm pleased with the taste of my bread, but, have a long way to go with shaping and learning when to stop kneeding - the texture was a bit tough. Next loaf I think I will add gluten the way I'm used to adding it for bread made in my machine - which is the amounts listed in comments.