The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

High-Gluten Flour Disaster

larryparis10's picture

High-Gluten Flour Disaster

I bought it specifically for bagels from a bin at Whole Foods, not once but twice, and each time the dough turned into a disgusting mass of soggy plastic-like...words fail me. I tried calling Whole Foods just to find out exactly what it was, without any luck.  So here's my question: 

I know it's high protien flour, but did I get an additive or what I thought-- a substitute for  bread flour?

Even when I made mistakes instead of bagels I have always been able to eat them. This one I could hardly look at. :-)

Any ideas? Thanks in advance. Larry R

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

You could have bought Vital Wheat Gluten (or a Whole Foods employee accidentally filled the Hi-Gluten Bread Flour bin with Vital Wheat Gluten (a easy mistake for someone who doesn't know that one is an additive and the other is a flour)).

You say you know it's flour, alas, so I'm at a loss, as Vital Wheat Gluten is the only thing that comes to mind (and it's often in the bulk bin right next to the Hi-Gluten Bread Flour at Whole Foods).

larryparis10's picture

Thanks thomaschacon; not sure what I got? The label on the bin just said gluten. I assumed it was flour because it looked like flour, although priced much higher $2.39 rather than say AP flour, $1.39. But I thought the price difference was because of the higher protein level. I have someone else to call at Whole Foods and will try again tomorrw. Larry r

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

If it just said "gluten", then you almost certainly bought vital wheat gluten.

Is it almost the color of whole wheat flour, but the consistency of baby/talcum powder?

If so, that's vital wheat gluten.

larryparis10's picture

Thanks again. I wish you lived in the kitchen next door. What can I say-Ackkkkk

I guess vial wheat gluten is a distant cousin of wheat germ? Anyway, I'm so glad you cleared up that mystery for me. I really did do it twice, just before summer. Good thing you're not next door; you would be hearing me kicking myself mercilessly. :-)
thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

There are people that believe a proper bagel can be made by adding vital wheat gluten to bread or AP flour.

[There! I said it! Now they're going to get mad at me again! I'm going on vacation!]

yozzause's picture

Gluten is derived from flour, it is often a by product of starch production, it is obtained by mixing flour into a dough soaking it in water and then washing out the starch. The rubbery mass left behind is gluten, it can be used as is in the wet form and added when making a dough or it is dried and turned into the powder form that can be bought in bags.

We used to get 20 litre buckets of the wet stuff in a weak brine and add it to the wholemeal doughs for a bit more strength and to counter the abrassivness of the milled wholegrain .

A simple test if you are ever unsure is to take a teaspoonfull and add a little water if it balls up into an almost latex like ball you have gluten. If it is gluten it can be added to  your flours which will give the dough more strength or gas holding power.      

regards Yozza

Stuart Borken's picture
Stuart Borken

Bagels, Great!

Source: Saveur, Nov.'98 pg.128, modified by Stu Borken
1 1/2 cups water, warmed to 105-degrees minus 2 tbsp.
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons barley malt(2 level ones for dough) 1 for boiling liquid
3 teaspoons Vital wheat gluten
3 1/3 cups all purpose flour(you may not need all)
1 tablespoon kosher salt, level
corn meal to dust baking sheet
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions: 1. Toss the dry yeast into the bowl of a standing KitchenAid mixer with the dough hook in place, then in a Pyrex measuring cup measure out the slightly shy 1 1/2 cup water to which you then add the 2 tbsp barley malt, bringing the volume of liquid to exactly 1 1/2 cups. Place the Pyrex cup in the microwave and heat it to about 105 degrees, use an instant read thermometer to be certain of the temp., stir it well to get the thick malt off the bottom of the Pyrex cup, and toss it into the bowl of the KitchenAid already containing the yeast. Cover with a dry towel to retain the warmth. Meanwhile, sift together gluten, flour, and salt into a bowl. Sift twice more,(this time of measuring the dry ingredients and sifting them, gives you the time to proof the yeast, if it does not foam nicely then start again with new yeast and be sure the water temp. is not too hot) then add flour mixture, 1 cup at a time to the now bubbly proofed yeast mixture, beating at the lowest speed until you've added enough of the flour to make the dough the correct soft elastic dough texture. When the texture is correct, increase speed to medium and continue mixing until dough forms a smooth, ball about 2-4 minutes.
2. Put dough on a surface, flatten to facilitate cutting into equal pieces, and cut into 8 equal pieces about 4 oz. each. Roughly shape into a short stubby rope 4-5" long. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and set aside for 15 minutes to allow the gluten to relax.
3. Then shape, by rolling with your hands, each log into an 11 inch long rope, try to keep the seal on the bottom it will make a better final form when baked, i.e. the bagel will not split open along the seal. Form into bagels by overlapping the ends of each rope by about 1 1/2 inch, dampening with a little water on your fingers to hold the ends together. Splice the two ends together pinching the edges to make it smooth and not real obvious. Then place on a cornmeal dusted baking sheet, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about 10 hours, at least. If you go over this time, the bagels will be huge and the hole closed. I have done less and then allowed a short rising time at room temperature, there is less fermentation but the rise is great, and the final product is just fine.
4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Adjust oven rack fitted with a baking stone to center position. Allow stone to heat for 15 minutes. Remove dough rings from refrigerator. To a large pot of water add the remaining 1 tbsp. of barley malt, 1 tbsp. brown sugar and 1 tbsp. corn starch bring it to a boil . (Or just use honey or just barley malt, you choose from what you have readily available.) Toss in each bagel, two at a time, for 30 seconds on each side then remove with a skimmer and drain on a rack, bottom side down 'til dry and sticky, about 5-10 min.
5. Using a peel, coat with corn meal, place the rings on the meal and then slide boiled rings onto the baking stone in the oven and bake until deep golden brown and crisp, about 15-20 minutes. (I do 15 min. at 450 then 3 min. on convection at 425) Cool on wire rack and serve at room temp. Cut in half then toast. These are REAL bagels, not bread rolls.
Background: Notes: The original recipe used 4 cups flour, it was too much for the liquid. It called for 15 min. baking, too little. I added the brown sugar and starch to the barley malt in the boiling liquid. It glazed the final product better than the orig. recipe that just called for the one tbsp. barley malt in the boiling water. I guess, if I had used less water, the one tbsp. of barley malt would have maybe been just as good, I don't know. Sharon Schwartz added only one tbsp. honey to the boiling water and said, "the glaze on the bagels was perfect". So, choose what you wish. StuBeee
Serves: 8

halfrice's picture
EvaB's picture

here held a seminar on making the gluten and using it instead of meat, they had ways to flavour the mucky stuff and then cook it like hambergers, it did taste sort of like beef, but I say it was a whole lot of expense to get a meat substitute! Then again, there are all those out there who are allergic to gluten or really have celiac and wheat intolerance, I pity them if they are members of that church.

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

You will eat the gluten and you will like it. 

It shall be thee test of your commitment.

You must persevere!

Or die trying, die a martyr to the cause!


Yes gluten!

Someone pass the mustard.


joyfulbaker's picture

Coming in two months after the first posting, a little late--but here's what I found in Nancy Silverton's book (Breads from La Brea Bakery):  To one cup of "white" flour add 1 tsp vital wheat gluten; to one cup of whole wheat flour, add 1 1/2 tsp VWG.  And mix it in well.   If you want a very high-gluten flour, for bagels and special breads that require it, add the same amount to bread flour (1 tsp per cup).  Simple, no?