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Bad results using vital wheat gluten in low gluten flour biga

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rjerden's picture
rjerden

Bad results using vital wheat gluten in low gluten flour biga

I normally use either Italian 00 flour or Hogdsen's Mill AP flour (either of which has about 9.8-10% protein per the mill specs) to make my Rosetta Rolls. I prepare a biga at 50% hydration with 90% of the flour and pre-ferment 12-16 hours. I add diastatic malt powder, water (52-55% final hydration), salt, and the rest of the flour for the final mix.


Not having enough of either of these two flours on hand, but having some White Lily AP (8% protein per the mill specs) and some fresh vital wheat gluten, I decided to try and boost the gluten content of the White Lily to arrrive at a protein level of 10%. The vital wheat gluten had a 67% protein level, so I calculated that I would need 28 g to bring my White Lily flour (850 g) up to about a 10% protein level.


Typically, I can see my biga (using a straight dough) double in size after 2-4 hours with lots of large bubbles forming. With this mixture, however, it barely moved. Not much change even after 12 hours.

In final mixing, I could not get a good windowpane no matter how much I mixed. The dough would tear with the least bit of stretching. The baking results were not great either. I got a decent rise, but not anything like I get with a straight dough.


I have used the White Lily before by mixing it with bread flour to strengthen it, with good results, but just adding the vital wheat gluten seems not to work. I replicated the test today, just to be sure, with the same poor performance.


What's happening here?


 

GAPOMA's picture
GAPOMA

and I wish I had the answer.  I often use flours with low gluten content (like rye) and wrongly assumed I could make them behave more like "regular" flour simply by adding vital wheat gluten.  I was wrong (as usual).  I too have tried it a number of times with the same poor results.  Even using up to 15-20% added gluten.


I will be interested to hear what TFL experts have say on this subject, as it is clear that the presence of vital wheat gluten is not, of itself, enough to convey the properties of a high gluten flour to an otherwise low gluten flour.  Clearly there are other factors that influence rise and crumb texture, even though we make a big deal about gluten content.


- Greg

cranbo's picture
cranbo

Yesterday I posted a thread about high gluten flours and gluten percentages about this exact topic, asking about what people's experience was with adding vital wheat gluten to low-gluten flours. 


Link to the thread


I've had the same experience with rye, so there are clearly other factors that are at play here. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

of proteins bundled up with the grain.  I'm not familiar with White Lily AP, does it already contain some malt?  


I found that with low gluten flours, adding egg white and/or milk helped considerably.  12 to 16 hours seems long to me for a pre-ferment with low gluten and I would do the minimum of 8 hrs and see if that helps.  Could be the protein strands were already breaking down when the dough was mixed, and the diastatic malt exacerbated the problem.  


Was the vital gluten sifted thoroughly into the AP flour?  

GAPOMA's picture
GAPOMA

that you would reply Mini!


I had thought about the egg white idea long ago but never got around to trying it, then hadn't thought about it again for too long now.  I'll have to go back to that and give it a try.  Do you have recommendations about how many egg whites to add for a 1.5-lb loaf?


As we all probably know, egg whites are mostly water with a high amount of protein (mostly ovalbumin) mixed in.  So adding egg whites is a very easy way to add LOTS of generic protein to a recipe. 


Thanks for the reminder!


- Greg

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

And dropped into the water to weigh.  I would wait until mixing up the dough to add because I don't think it wise to have them sitting around 8 hrs in the warmer preferment.  I use about one egg white to 500g low gluten flour with 7-8% protein.  If you want a more tender crumb, use milk instead of water.  Try and see but still keep the prefermenting time short.  Still going to add vital wheat gluten?

rjerden's picture
rjerden

I might try the egg white idea. I'm looking for an extensible dough of medium-low strength and when I think about the binding properties of egg whites in other foods, it seems to me that it would help to lengthen the protein strands in the dough and assist it to windowpane.


So, I presume you count the egg white as a liquid component? What would the baker's percentage be , i.e. how many egg whites to how much flour?

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

You might double check your calculations. If WLAP is indeed truly 8% protein, I'm getting a result of just short of 9% protein for the blend you mentioned. Still probably too low for a decent window pane. Using the Mixed Mass Calculator at:


http://tools.foodsim.com/


Then there is the issue of the WLAP itself. From what I understand, the integrity of the gluten is compromised by the bleaching process, maybe to the point that it may not be the best candidate for certain types of yeast breads where it makes up the majority of the flour. In other words, even at equal protein levels, a bleached flour is still not as strong as the unbleached.


My thoughts.

rjerden's picture
rjerden

Yeah, I did put down the wrong amounts. I have corrected it via an edit. I usually make 850 g total dough, but I halved the quantities for this test bake and then didn't carry those figures over correctly in the post. I did thoroughly whisk the flour and the VWG together.


Many Italian breads use a long pre-ferment and a high % of biga, and most flour used is relatively low gluten compared to U.S. AP flours, not to mention bread flours.


White Lily AP does not contain any malt. It is an enriched, bleached, soft wheat flour used extensively in the south for quick breads and pastries (8% protein). White Lily bread flour (11.7% protein) is an unbleached, enriched, malted, hard wheat flour. I often mix the two to get a lower gluten flour similar to the Italian 00, with good but not spectacular results (you just can't seem to quite get that great extensibility that 00 has). I do this primarily for economic reasons.


I also use Hodgen's Mill AP flour (10% protein), which I believe is milled from soft wheat based on information from another website. I get good results with it also by increasing the hydration a bit.


http://home.earthlink.net/~ggda/flour_test.htm


I asked HM for their mill specs, but got no response. It is a short patent flour, unmalted, unenriched, and unbleached. These are many of the attributes of Italian flours, but of course the grain is probably not tempered as long nor as gently milled as something like Caputo.

Kitchen Barbarian's picture
Kitchen Barbarian

You said:

"Not having enough of either of these two flours on hand, but having some White Lily AP (8% protein per the mill specs) and some fresh vital wheat gluten, I decided to try and boost the gluten content of the White Lily to arrrive at a protein level of 10%. The vital wheat gluten had a 67% protein level, so I calculated that I would need 28 g to bring my White Lily flour (850 g) up to about a 10% protein level.

Typically, I can see my biga (using a straight dough) double in size after 2-4 hours with lots of large bubbles forming. With this mixture, however, it barely moved. Not much change even after 12 hours.

In final mixing, I could not get a good windowpane no matter how much I mixed. The dough would tear with the least bit of stretching. The baking results were not great either. I got a decent rise, but not anything like I get with a straight dough.

I have used the White Lily before by mixing it with bread flour to strengthen it, with good results, but just adding the vital wheat gluten seems not to work. I replicated the test today, just to be sure, with the same poor performance.

What's happening here?"

White Lily is a low protein flour which is more finely milled than "regular" flour (more along the lines of cake flour).  It is milled from soft red winter wheat which, oddly enough, has never actually been grown in the south but in Ohio and Michigan instead.  The flour is naturally lower in gluten, it is a patent flour, and it is milled much more finely than "regular" flour, more along the lines of cake flour.  It used to be so finely sifted that they ended up using fully 1/2 of the milled flour in other flours; I'm not sure Smuckers has cleaved to such strict standards, but it's still close. It is also "lightly" bleached, which damages starches and enables the flour to absorb more liquids.  It is closer to being a high ratio flour than an AP or bread flour.  It is good for cakes and cookies and biscuits, no good for bread, because it simply doesn't have the ability to maintain the sort of structure we want and need in bread.  Adding vital wheat gluten will not address these structural issues.

Vital wheat gluten is helpful only in those situations where you need a little bit of a "bump"; it's not going to turn biscuit flour or cake flour into bread flour.  It just can't.  There are too many OTHER structural issues involved.

It's not ALL about the gluten.  VWG can certainly help when used with an appropriate flour to start with, but the rest of the support structure needs to be there as well.

EDIT:  OOOPS, sorry for the necropost - not sure how I came across this posting to start with but I THOUGHT that was Feb 2012 and it's actually 2011.  SORRY!