The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Vital wheat gluten uses?

adelie's picture

Vital wheat gluten uses?

I just bought a LOT of vital wheat gluten to make bagels because I heard it really helps make them chewy. However, now I have a lot of vital wheat gluten on my hands that I have no idea what to use for. Can you substitute vital wheat gluten and all-purpose flour in place of bread flour? Any tips or recipes for using vital wheat gluten?


David R's picture
David R

More gluten: more chewy, more springy, more rubbery. If you add too much, or in the wrong situation, it becomes like chewing on a foam-rubber pillow. In the right situation - well, you know how some shampoo ads used to advertise "more body"? Gluten gives "more body", if it's needed.

David R's picture
David R

One important thing I missed:

Some breads, especially some whole-grain breads, use extra gluten to increase the strength of the bubbles in the dough. With too little gluten, those bubbles are weak, which means that the dough tries to rise but then sinks back down again.

"Dough rises but then sinks" doesn't always indicate a gluten problem; if you have a different problem but you try to solve it with gluten, then instead of fallen bread you get fallen rubbery bread. 🙂

Aravinda's picture

I bake with 100% whole wheat flour and follow a recipe that calls for 15 grams gluten for 425 grams flour. 

15 grams is not much but I bake a few times / week and go through the bag of gluten pretty quickly.  

If you use white all purpose or unbleached flour you don't need (or want) to add gluten.  Even with 100% whole wheat you can make it without gluten but it will be on the crumbly side and usually not rise as much.  It will still taste good right out of the oven but may not be so appealing the next day.