The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Vital Wheat Gluten in Cake Flour?

uberathlete's picture

Vital Wheat Gluten in Cake Flour?

Hi everyone. I am considering making a baked stuffed bread similar to the Chinese steamed buns. The usual recipe for Chinese steamed buns makes use of cake flour and baking powder in addition to yeast. I am thinking of making a baked version but would like to avoid using the baking powder but still use cake flour. So my question is, can I add vital wheat gluten to cake flour and will it help give the bread structure and help it rise (while still keeping the dough light because cake flour is used)? Any comments would be much appreciated.

pmccool's picture

One with the cake flour and another with AP.  If you think the cake flour version will be too tender to hold together, skip it entirely and try a version using AP, instead.  While the results won't be identical to a cake flour plus gluten mix, it will be a lot easier than trying to guesstimate how much gluten is required.


rts306's picture

Are you referring to the slightly sweet but soft breads found in chinatown or Asian bakeries filled with roast pork, custard, chicken or ham and cheese?

Many Asian food blogs have figured these....they invariably use BF or APF with different ratios....some use sponge, others use what they call "water roux" to make the buns softer and stay soft for a few days.

You can try blogs like Angie's recipes, Cafe of the East (closed but still accessible), Happy Home Baking or Do what I like.

ananda's picture

Hi Uberathlete,

Cake flour has been milled to make tender cakes, and to absorb plenty of moisture.   The fine particle size needed for this results in a high degree of starch damage.   This means that the fermentation will not proceed at a sufficiently slow speed.      It also releases amylase too rapidly.   Given the already poor dough structure achieved by using cake flour, the rapid fermentation results in spent dough very quickly.   Even with the use of vital gluten, I am not sure your idea has any mileage.

Best wishes


Edith Pilaf's picture
Edith Pilaf

The steamed version is a totally different dough from the dough used in the baked Asian "bao".  The baked buns use AP or sometimes bread flour and do not contain baking powder.  I have made them many times.  I have even use the Portuguese Sweet Bread recipe from this site, because when I served these rolls with pulled pork last summer, everyone said they were reminded of my baked "char siu bao".  Just search "Mark's Portuguese Sweet Bread" for a recipe that works great stuffed with Chinese BBQ pork and baked.  I just substituted vegetable oil for the butter.  The standard recipe is similar, without the egg and honey.  I personally like the buns made with Mark's bread better.  Good luck.