The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Quality of gluten: a simple test you can perform right now

RobertS's picture

Quality of gluten: a simple test you can perform right now

I just read at "" about a simple test to determine the relative quality of the gluten in flours you use, and think you may want to try it. It's fun and educational.

We all know about the importance of quantity of of gluten, but quality of gluten is also very important.

Make a small stiff dough of ball using 1/4 cup of flour. Make one ball for each flour you have on hand.

Knead till it becomes quite elastic, then continue kneading between fingers under a stream of water, till the water washes out all of the starch in the ball. You now have a ball of pure gluten. By playing with this ball, stretching and folding it, you will soon see how resistant it is to tearing compared with the other balls you test. A good bread flour will enable you to pull the gluten into a very thin membrane.


RonRay's picture

Thank you, RobertS. That sounds well worth having in one's "tool bag". I have to try that.

copyu's picture

'Quality' vs 'Quantity'...a really interesting concept, although I'm now getting a little confused (or perhaps educated?)

I've been watching videos on YouTube of people making Chinese "pulled noodles" and, when I find a recipe, they generally specify very weak CAKE FLOUR with, occasionally, a a mere quarter or half-cup of All-Purpose flour

I know that most of the Chinese noodle and dumpling recipes use lye water (Kansui) and wondering whether this makes all the difference to the "stretchability" of the dough...or is the gluten in "softer" wheat flours somehow 'better'?



PS: I'm not ignoring all of the elaborate 'working' of the dough that Chinese chefs do...or have their apprentices do for them! copyu




Sour Power's picture
Sour Power

Thank you so much for this. My husband organized my pantry and one of the containers is either all purpose or bread. I’ve just been using it to dust my board because I don’t want to bake anything and have it be the wrong flour. I’ve been googling on how to test what kind of flour it is and all I can find is tests for self rising flour. I should have known just to go straight to the fresh loaf