The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

extra gluten

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Breadbabe's picture

extra gluten

I have always added extra gluten to my bread dough (fresh milled hard red, water, oil, honey, salt, then the extra gluten), mainly because when I first started, that was recommended so it would be most like what we find on the shelf. It ends up being about 4 grams per cup of flour (about 2 tsps).

I have recently read that extra gluten is not necessary even in fresh milled 100% whole grain flour, as long as the kneading is done properly. Can anyone speak to this from experience? I would rather not add it if i don't have to.


Yerffej's picture


I can say from experience that extra gluten is 100% unnecessary.


Breadbabe's picture

Jeff, any particular kneading time? that was the discussion - that extra gluten is for laziness. I happen to use dough hooks on my mixers and I like that method for now. will the proof time be the same?

You would think I could experiment and not ask all these ??, but I have a new bread business, its doing really well and I don't have a lot of experimenting time until I hire more people. So I was hoping to cheat and get some trusted info here.

Yerffej's picture


Eliminating extra gluten is going to change what you are doing and the outcome of your dough.  Take a look at Hamelman's Bread book and read the section on mixing.  He talks about the different types of mixer and their best use. 

I fully understand not wanting to make drastic changes at this point but I do not know how much extra gluten you are adding so it is hard to give advice.  If you are ading a lot (whatever a lot might be), then I would eliminate it from the recipe bit by bit rather than all at once.  This way you will feel the changes in the dough as they happen rather than suddenly being confronted with a very different dough.  Let the dough be your teacher.

Happy Baking,   Jeff

Patf's picture

I used to add gluten to the local french flour which is very low in gluten, because we're used to bread made from english or canadian high gluten flour.  I didn't do this for long as I found it produced a very strange texture, perhaps I overdid the gluten.

I know most people like bread from french flour, but I don't.

Now I usually manage to get flour imported from the UK, or use a brand of french bread flour which has additives (including gluten) - apologies to the purists!

mwilson's picture

I enjoy using low gluten flour to make bread. One, you get a more tender crumb and two, it's more challenging.

Low gluten flour makes a dough that is not very strong.

Ways to improve the strength of dough:

  • Use of a stiff preferment (at least 50% of the total flour) - A traditional Biga (40-50% hydration, 1% fresh yeast, 18hrs @ 16C), or salted scrap dough.
  • Increase salt or acidity (a preferment will provide some acidity and sourdough will provide plenty) - Salt that is added directly to the dough is less detectable in taste than salt that is first dissolved.
  • Mix dough from dry to wet. 
  • Stretch and fold the dough. This re-inforces the gluten structure, decreasing extensibility and increasing elasticity and tenacity.

Be pure, don't substitute skill for magic ingredients!