The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Gluten Powder

shounak_phatak@rediffmail.com's picture
shounak_phatak@...

Gluten Powder

Hi there! I am from India.I recently  started baking bread using maida (similar to cake flour).I have done a basic white bread recipe about 3-4 times.I always get a very hard crust and also the bread does not taste right.As far as I have read on the internet I found out that maida is a low protein flour or low in gluten.So I wanted to know if I could add some gluten powder to the maida itself for getting a better bread quality and  what should be the proportion ?  

 

richkaimd's picture
richkaimd

If you've been reading this website as much as I (I should probably get a life), you've noticed the occasional observations by home bakers who are trying to figure out answers to questions like yours in a scientific manner.   I'd love to know whether you can find somewhere the gram content of protein of your maida.   American bread flour's 4 grams is higher than the 3 grams in American all-purpose flour.  I've always thought that American cake flour's protein content is lower than even our all-purpose flour.  No knowlegeable American baker would try to make bread with cake flour.

In any case, why don't you be our tester.  Make a bunch of batches of dough, adding to each batch a different amount of gluten powder.  Tell us what you observe.

 

shounak_phatak@rediffmail.com's picture
shounak_phatak@...

Hey thanks for your reply...I will definitely try out your suggestion and post soon.About the gram content of protein in maida approximately it is  11.5 grams per 100 grams.

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Significantly higher gluten content helps bread to rise even under poor circumstances; however experienced bakers don't need the boost, and in fact often shy away from it. You may be able eventually to make a good bread with just plain Maida (especially flatbread).

Adding GlutenPowder this way is a very reasonable kluge, but is not exactly the same as starting with a higher gluten content flour. Also, if the Maida milling is rough, all the relatively large bran particles may interfere significantly with the gluten. So a) use an awful lot of autolyse and rest, and b) let us know what happens.

(Note I've made no attempt to account for the "quality" of the gluten [such as the ratio of "gutenin" to "gliadin"]; the "quality" of the gluten in GlutenPowder is typically okay-but-not-great  ...but I've ignored that. Also note many of the measures below are actually "protein" rather than "gluten".  I've pretended they're more-or-less interchangeable to keep it simpler, but this is not at all correct:-)

With the caveats out of the way, let's dive into the math. First we need to know a few values:

  • GlutenPowder/GlutenFlour/VitalWheatGluten is typically (not always) around 75% pure
  • Maida typically (yours may be different) has at least 7.5% gluten
  • Your desired end result gluten content is probably somewhere in the range 9.5%-12.5%
    - 9.5% is "weak" by northamerican standards,
    - the typical northamerican "all purpose" flour is 10.5% or higher,
    - the typical northamerican "bread" flour is 12.5% or higher (no idea why it's mis-called "bread" instead of "strong"; it's not necessary for making bread)

Then if you're interested in the details of the math, start out with a formula like (100parts/100parts * 7.5%) + (Nparts/100parts * 75%) = 10.5% [or 9.5% or 12.5% or whatever your desired result is], then solve for N. Skipping intermediate steps, simplification gives N = ((end-percentage-goal * 100) - 750) / 75 (Even this math is actually an oversimplification that's not quite right. It takes the not-quite-correct shortcut of directly adding percentages without accounting for the total being more than 100 grams. Hopefully though it's "good enough" ...)

The bottom line is: for every 100 grams Maida, add somewhere between 2.6 and 6.6 grams GlutenPowder. Adding 2.6 grams GlutenPowder will give a result with about 9.5% gluten, adding 4 grams GlutenPowder will give a result with about 10.5% gluten, and adding 6.6 grams GlutenPowder will give a result with about 12.5% gluten.

 

 

shounak_phatak@rediffmail.com's picture
shounak_phatak@...

Thanks for your reply.Can you tell me what autolyse means ?Like I have mentioned above that maida contains 11.5 grams protein per 100 gram will that change the amount of gluten powder to be added ?

Chuck's picture
Chuck

"Autolyse" is mixing the flour and water (but not the salt or yeast) until everything is moistened (but not stirring it so much you'lre in effect kneading it), then just letting it sit for somewhere between twenty minutes and two hours (often thirty minutes). It's typically the very first step in a bread recipe. It's well-described in this "lesson" (clicking "Lessons" in the dark bar at the top should take you to a wealth of information).

Sorry I missed your description of the amount of protein in your Maida. The formula would change to N = ((end-percentage-goal) - 1150) / 75. That nets to nothing at all for end goals less than 11.5%, 1.5 grams VWG per 100 grams Maida for an end goal of 12.5%, and 4.6 grams VWG per 100 grams Maida for an end goal of 15%.

However, the over-simplification that all "protein" is "gluten" almost certainly invalidates these calculations. Treating (almost) all "protein" as "gluten" is reasonable for white flour made from certain genetic strains of wheat, but is not at all true of your Maida. Assuming (even though we know it's not true) most of the protein is gluten, that 11.5% is on the high side for north american white "all purpose" flour. And 11.5% protein is quite low compared to north american whole wheat flour.

I haven't got much idea how much of that 11.5%  protein is gluten (although one source I found suggested that at least 7.5% is gluten [leaving 4% "other proteins"], which is where my earlier posting came from). There are so many guesses here my faith in the math continues to drop; my suggestion is to try various mixtures roughly between 1 and 5 grams of VitalWheatGluten per 100 grams of Maida and see what works (keep a "bread diary" of your experiments for yourself). In fact, the gluten content of your Maida may be reasonable enough to rise good bread with no VitalWheatGluten at all - I don't know of any way to find out except try it.