The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

high glutten flour

patnx2's picture

high glutten flour

Today I  bought some "high glutten flour". I mixed a 16oz doughball and it took extra water and the end product is a rubbery ball. I fear I bought pure glutten so I don't expect much. Any ideas?  I have been making bread and Pizza for several years so I know what a doughball feels like.   ???????  Patrick

HeidiH's picture

Looking on the web, there's "vital wheat gluten" which some vendors seem to call "vital wheat gluten flour."  It's about 70% protein versus a "high gluten flour" which is around 14% protein.

patnx2's picture

Thanks Heidi. That is what I suspected. I have been having trouble finding high glutten flour in less then 50  pound bags. thanks again  Patrick

Chuck's picture

Flour names are not standardized, so "high gluten" can mean very different things with different brands of flour, and be different yet again on other continents. I find it much more useful to specify a number (for example King Arthur Flour All Purpose is about 11.7% gluten and KAF Bread Flour is about 12.7% gluten, and the KAF Sir Lancelot Flour which is not available in retail markets but is available from their website is about 14.2% gluten).

(Even gluten level percentage numbers aren't perfect: they don't reflect the "quality" of the gluten; they're often not readily available, especially when you're standing in a supermarket aisle; and they don't apply to whole wheat flour very well. But at least I find them better than names.)

Although bakers often refer to "high gluten flour", you probably won't find much labelled that way in any market. Often in the U.S. what bakers call "high gluten flour" is (mis?)labelled in the supermarket as "bread flour".

If you want a higher gluten percentage than you can buy, but don't want to deal with mail order, you may be able to roll your own by adding a small amount of VitalWheatGluten into whatever bread flour you can buy. Many reports indicate this is not as good as an unmixed higher gluten flour  ...but you might try it to see if the results are acceptable to you.

nicodvb's picture

Proteins percentages are very misleading. In my opinion the only reasonable measure is "(wet|dry) gluten content", that is generally available only on request in spec sheets. It seems that over here in EU this kind of data is generally much more easily available to the public (for example a lot of italian millers publish the full spec sheets on their web sites without asking you to sign NDA and the likes).

This is the high gluten flour I use:

Chuck's picture

Yep, gluten content numbers are much better whenever they're available; all guten is protein, but all protein is not gluten. All too often though protein content numbers are the only ones available without an NDA (and even then in the U.S. they're often available only from the miller's website, not in the store). So using them requires caution, but IMHO is still better than names. Even U.S. millers seem to confuse gluten content with protein content (perhaps because protein content is easier to measure?).

Even though they're not entirely accurate, I find the numbers a better way than names to distinguish recipes that say "high gluten flour" but really just mean the strongest flour readily available in a retail market from recipes that really do mean something special when they say "high gluten flour". (I've never understood which kind of recipe the OP really has:-)


I suggest keeping the following limitations in mind whenever trying to use the very rough approximation of protein content and gluten content:

  • the approximation works only for white flour, not whole grain flour
  • the approximation works only for flour ground from wheat, not for flour ground from any other grain
  • the approximation works only with wheat that's been strongly "selected" for very high gluten content for hundreds of years - in practice this means most of the wheat grown in North America, part of the wheat grown in Europe, and some of the wheat grown in other parts of the world
  • calculation of protein content from information on the U.S. nutrition label does not work right, because the "serving size" is too small so there's too much roundoff error (calculating protein content from nutrition label information does work in other parts of the world that have slightly different nutrition label standards)
  • the approximation can be equally true for low-gluten as well as high-gluten flours (i.e. it's possible to have a very low amount of protein, yet almost all of that protein is gluten)

A very rough (and not all that accurate) summary of the above limitations might be: use protein content as a proxy for gluten content only with white wheat flours grown in North America; don't do it in any other part of the world.