The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts


BetsyMePoocho's picture


Hey Folks,

I normally use Gold Metal Bread Flour because it is the only brand I can convenelently purchase where I live.  I believe it's protein is somewhere in the 12% range (?).

Recently, I added 6% Vital Gluten to my French dough receipt to see if I could tell a difference in the baguettes.

I used the same procedures  during the process as always and other than a longer "relax" time before forming the baguettes I could not really tell a difference.

Has anyone tried the addition of VG and if so what were your results?  Also, it would be interesting to hear any thoughts on this subject......

Thank you....

hanseata's picture

I bake my own bread so that I don't have to buy mass produced bread with all kinds of additives. Why adding a dough enhancer when it's not absolutely necessary?

I use VWG only in small amounts for some rye breads or breads with gluten-free flours.




mrfrost's picture

GM Better for Bread flour has plenty enough gluten for baguettes.

Yes, it has precisely 12% protein, which is more than adequate(for baguettes). This is based on the belief(reality?) that it is identical to institutionally distributed GM Harvest King brand.

mcs's picture
mcs absolutely not Vital.

And I agree with mrfrost that the flour you're using is great for baguettes (it's what I use) and every other bread (and pastry around) without adding any additional gluten.


DoubleMerlin's picture

I agree that unless you want the world's chewiest baguette, you don't need added gluten. Now if you want a real thin and strong pizza crust or a very chewy bagel, upping the gluten by 6% or so will easily do the trick. Otherwise I'd add gluten to a rye bread or a low-gluten multigrain bread. Besides that, really not too necessary.

While I disagree vehemently with hanseata that all dough enhancers and additives are unnecessary, she's got a point. If you can't make a bread well without dough enhancers, why think adding them will make your bread any better?

dabrownman's picture

the French have made fine baguettes with low gluten flour - 10% protein Type 55.  I prefer 10% AP flour for them here as Type 55 is very expensive.  Also of note, Type 55 may contain up to 2% fava bean flour - used o get the protein level down I suspect rather than for flavor and garbanzo bean flour would have a similar effect.  Another way to get there is to mix cake flour or KA Italian flour (8.5% protein) with your 12% and make it a 10%.  Cake flour can have corn starch in it though.

Hi gluten flour in the 12% range is unlikely to give you the texture and crust you want in a French baguette.   

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

you're almost there!   Try skinnier loaves and test your oven width.  :)

mrfrost's picture

I guess your experiment pretty much proved you didn't need the vwg.

Wondering why you thought it was needed?


BetsyMePoocho's picture

What a nice group in this forum.... Good advise and comments.

Karen, you are correct I found that adding the VG is not necessary.  I was happy 'cause it would have added just another step and expense.

mrfrost, my mission was just an experiment to satisfy my curiosity after having a friend baker proclaim that his baguettes are far better than mine 'cause he uses VG.... I'll deal with him later...(grin).

dabrownman, having lived in Verdun and Etain France as a teen is the main reason I started crawling up this vertical bread-making hill.  Always wanted to accomplish what I had eaten in France, but have never gotten there.  Your comments on the protein content in their bread has gotten my attention.... Ah,,, another trail to sniff down....

mini-oven, you are spot on in your suggestion about "skinner-loafs"...... my wife says that I am similar to your comment... I've got the "loaf" down pat, but could I could be a bit "skinner".  I happy that she likes a fatter loaf and similar husband....  Actually, I do make the baguettes the traditional slimmer size for "cocktail" hour and appetizers.

Again, thanks for the support....


Making Bread Is Like Playing Golf,,,,, The Occasional Great Shot Keep You In The Game..........