The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Vital Wheat Gluten

Nersh's picture
Nersh

Vital Wheat Gluten

Hi fellow TFLers!

 

I've been having trouble getting my wheat breads to rise adequately. Someone reccomended vital wheat gluten. Anyone have any thoughts on this? Does it work? Is it worth it? Should I try something else before draggin my fat butt to the store?

 

Cheers,

 

Nersh

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

In other words, what can you tell us about the formula, the process and ingredients that you use, the environmental conditions, that sort of thing.  From your post, I have the impression that you may mean "whole wheat" when you say wheat, instead of "wheat, not rye" but I can't tell for sure.  Nor do I have a clear idea of how you are defining "rise adequately".  Better info from you will get a better response from others.

Paul

Nersh's picture
Nersh

Oh yeah, sorry about that. I have the tendency to be on the internet for five minutes and off for 20 hours so I didn't really give a lot of thought to my post.

 

Let's see. I do mean whole whole wheat instead of wheat vs. rye. As I am just a beginning baker, I  mostly use the Joy of Cooking recipes for bread baking. I've had success getting both whole wheat and white breads to rise except for the last two loaves of whole wheat. 

 

Here's the latest recipe I used:

 

Warm in large saucepan:

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup water

1 tbsp sugar

1/2 tbsp shortening

1/2 tbsp butter

1/2 tbsp salt

 

Combine 1/4 cup warm water and 1 package active dry yeast (I use bulk so 2 1/4 tbsp) and let stand for about 5 min

 

I then combined the warm milk mixture above to the yeast and added 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour and 2 1/2 cups All-Purpose.

Then, knead and rise. I let it rise twice (punching down the dough after the rise) in an oiled bowl, both for about an hour at approx 85 degrees. It rose, but I dont think it doubled. My eyes play tricks on me and sometimes I'll think it doubled when I really hasn't. Anyways, after that I shaped it and put it into a 9x5 pan and let it rise for another 40 minutes. It rose again, but not to the rim. Then I baked it for ten minutes on 450 and 35 minutes on 350. It came out about 1/2 the size of the brad pan. Again, I've had both successes and failures when baking whole wheat bread. This bread was supposed to be a sandwich bread. This was the first time I tried this recipe. Also, I seem to have some trouble with active dry yeast. I have had more success with instant. 

 

Um, I think that's about all I've got. Let me know if you have any specific questions. Thanks!

 

Cheers,

 

Nersh

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Some possibilities for your consideration, Nersh:

1. The warmed milk mixture may have been warm enough (did you measure the temperature?) to have killed part of the yeast, leading to a slower than expected rise.

2. At 85F, both your bulk and final fermentations should have gone very quickly.  If so, it is possible that the loaves were over-proofed.  If the bread actually collapsed/shrank while baking, this seems like a strong contender.  You may want to allow just one fermentation before shaping, rather than two as you did this last time, to see if that helps any.

3. The dough quantity was nominally in the range for a 9x5 pan.  Still, you might want to try that quantity in an 8x4 pan, if you have one, to see if you get a better result.

Gauging whether a dough has doubled in volume can be tricky, as you note.  Still, that's a skill for you to work on as you go forward.  The clock can give you an indication of what to expect, but environmental considerations (temperature, especially) often have a way of over-ruling the clock.  Hence the admonition, "Watch the dough, not the clock."

Paul

Nersh's picture
Nersh

Paul,

Thanks for the swift response. I wondered about the warm mixture killing the yeast. This could have been the case. My only detractor was the fact that I used a different wheat recipe last week that did not involved heating a mixture (and only went through one rise instead of 2) and I received a similar result. 

 

I'll keep trying some different things. The bread pan thing is an issue as I don't actually own an 8x4 pan. That's caused some other problems in the past. I should go buy one but I'm a broke college kid who can barely afford the yeast and flour let alone a piece of glass! Alas, maybe I'll put it on the credit card.

Anyways, thanks again for your help. I'll keep your suggestions in mind and continue to play around with wheat recipes.

 

Cheers,

 

Nersh

BettyR's picture
BettyR

I am no expert but I will tell you what I know about the subject. I am in my early 60's and I have been baking bread since I was a kid old enough to reach the counter and knead a loaf of bread .

I grew up on my grandfather's ranch and my mother and grandmother made bread everyday. When I got married I continued doing what I always did and made all the bread we ate.

A few years ago I was reading some articles about bread and one of the authors brought up the subject of improving the texture, shelf life and nutritional value by using vital wheat gluten. It seems that Asian people have been making VWG for a couple of thousand years by mixing flour and water into a dough then rinsing the starch out of the dough until all that is left is the protein...aka gluten. They would then use the gluten as a meat substitute, a practice that is still being used today.

I have always been one who enjoyed playing with new ideas and decided to give it a try. So I purchased a small box of VWG at Walmart and started playing with it. The texture of my breads have improved greatly and it has doubled the shelf life. I have since started purchasing my gluten online in bulk to save money.

I find that I like the ratio of 1 level tablespoon of VWG to 1 cup of flour. I also use milk and eggs in my bread. We have 2 milk cows and most days all we keep is the cream to make butter with and the excess milk goes to feed the pigs. We also have more eggs than we could ever use and the excess there also goes to feed the pigs. So anything that we can possibly put an egg in gets it. LOL

But if I were you I would buy a small box of VWG at the grocery store and play with it. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

geggers's picture
geggers

First, thanks to Betty for her enjoyable comment on farm life. I have 18 hens, and even though I sell eggs, I usually have more than just I can eat! So I love brioche and quiche and frittata's, lol. And, as an aside to this, completely off-topic, I do NOT have high cholesterol! Ok, on to the wheat gluten. Nash, I would experiment with this, and err on the low side. I think your issues are more in the activity of the yeast, temp, or other factors. Could be the flour itself that you are using. Different brands (and different kinds of wheat) are variable. I make a lot of bagels, and only add VWG to increase the elasticity and toothiness, not the rise. If  you're not cautious with the gluten, you'll end up with bagel bread! Could require extra teeth.....

BettyR's picture
BettyR

The ratio of 1 level tablespoon to one cup of AP flour does not give you bagel bread. These are some of the breads I have made using this ratio.....

PIZZA

HAWAIIAN SWEET BREAD

STICKY BUNS

HOT DOG KOLACHES

HONEY WHEAT BREAD

FOCACCIA BREAD

CINNAMON BUN BABKA

elight's picture
elight

I use VWG in my spelt bread baking. I've done a bit of experimenting and use about 50g VWG to 400g flour. This is in the same neighborhood as what what Betty suggested. Spelt suffers from the same types of rising problems as whole wheat (even moreso). In the case of spelt, it also helps the dough absorb more water... Without it, my spelt breads would top out at 57.5-60% hydration, but with it, I can get into the 60-62.5% range. The VWG does make the crumb denser, but it's a trade off-off I'm willing to live with.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

also recommends 1 tsp of VWG for each cup of wheat flour used in bread to improve the rise, shelf life and crumb texture.    Spelt is another candidate but I don't put much spelt in the SD breads I make, maybe 50 g at most for flavor so never add  VWG for that.

elight's picture
elight

I should also add, as it pertains to spelt, that I do not know what the affects of vital wheat gluten are on people who are allergic to wheat. I myself am only intolerant of wheat; I do not know if I am able to tolerate the vital wheat gluten because it is included in a relatively small quantity, or if it is because so little of the wheat grain is left.