The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

why little gluten in whole wheat flour?

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sourwholewheat's picture
sourwholewheat

why little gluten in whole wheat flour?

Hi everyone,

I'm failing to find info on why whole wheat flour is said to contain little gluten, or less than other flours do.  If gluten is a protein found in the wheat endosperm, and if WW flour means WHOLE wheat, endosperm included, how come WW flour isn't the champion in gluten content?

 

bakeshack's picture
bakeshack

Wheat is the champion in gluten content.  Since whole wheat flour contains the germ and the bran, which cannot be milled as finely as the endosperm, these particles end up "slashing" the gluten formed during kneading, thus, resulting in a dough with weaker gluten (this is the reason why it is much more difficult to get irregular hole structure with whole wheat breads than white breads like sourdough, baguette, etc.).  It does not mean that the whole wheat flour itself has low gluten.  Lower extraction flours (bread flour, HG flour, etc.) end up with stronger gluten strands since it does not contain the sharp particles from the bran and germ.   

sourwholewheat's picture
sourwholewheat

Interesting, thank you!

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

the proteins in bran and germ don't contribute to the formation of gluten.

clazar123's picture
clazar123

"Slashing" gluten strands is a non issue if you use techniques to make sure you develop the gluten in WW dough. It needs some form of a long soak in water (autolyse) or preferment or water roux. If the bran bits become soft with moisture (takes hours for that to happen) then there is no problem slashing gluten bonds. It also gives the chance for the starch to gel out and lubricate the works. So soften/gel out, then knead.

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

A high gluten flour uses only 50-60% of the grain to deliver ~14% protein, but whole wheat flour (by definition) is 100% extraction, so inclusion of the lower gluten fraction of the wheat berry along with the parts that are enriched in protein results in dilution of the protein to the average value.

Elagins's picture
Elagins

high glutens typically range from 90-95% extraction; otherwise, the flour would never contain as much of the high-fiber, high protein aleurone layer (directly under the bran) as it does.

Stan Ginsberg
www.nybakers.com

sourwholewheat's picture
sourwholewheat

clazar123, would you please explain how I can soak the flour? What is water roux?

If I make a very wet dough, let it sit for several hours, then add more flour in order to be able to knead the dough, then will not the newly added WW flour's bran "slash" the gluten again?

Thank you

Doc.Dough's picture
Doc.Dough

search for "water roux"

Also known as tangzhong

nicodvb's picture
nicodvb

after soaking and when it's tender it doesn't pierce gluten anymore.

crazyknitter's picture
crazyknitter

I discovered this in my experimentations... but I was lacking the understanding or terminology to know what was happening and I had not read Peter's book.

The soaking is a HUGE deal in getting the best loaves from whole wheat grains.

 

 

 

richkaimd's picture
richkaimd

The issue of making breads instead of bricks using whole wheat flour is discussed at some length in Peter Reinhardt's cookbook which focuses on whole grain recipes.  It's a good read for information.  The techniques work.

sourwholewheat's picture
sourwholewheat

Where I live, you don't see many things;)  I'll have to learn things thru the web.

I just searched for the book at Amazon & eBay, so at least I saw how it looks:)

Miller1's picture
Miller1

This site is GREAT,  I have owned an organic flour milling company for 8 years.  We produce stone ground whole grain flours and of course whole wheal flour.  I receive many calls from people who have issues getting a good loaf from whole wheat flour and they are always looking for answers.  This site will definitely help.  There are very knowledgeable people offering opinions here.