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vital gluten with excel

dann's picture

vital gluten with excel


i m french, and i m going to try to be inclusive :), sorry for my english :)

I try to develop an excel file which calculates the amount of vital gluten to add in a mixed bred flours,when using poor gluten flours.( to correct the total amount of the dough gluten)

is sommeone has developped a calculation of such tools ?

or mathématical formulas that could help me for this ?

Thank you


alfanso aka Vito Scoreleone's picture
alfanso aka Vit...

Although this is not a spreadsheet (Excel), perhaps you can create a formula in Excel using this as a guide.  The Pearson's Square is used to calculate mixed feed for farm animals, but can be used to calculate Vital Wheat Gluten for use in flour when you want to increase the amount of gluten in the flour.


A. Bread Flour Protein % (g protein per serving / g per serving)

D. Vital Wheat Gluten Protein % (same as above)

C. Desired Protein %

B.  = D - C

E.  = A – C

x – B + E

Total % of mixed wheats

BF% = B / x

VWG% = E / x


  • A - Gold Medal Bread Flour = 13.3% protein
  • D – (Arrowhead Mills) VWG = 56% protein
  • C – target protein = 15.3%


Here is a long description for creating "first clear" flour with the Pearson's Square

You can easily make your own.  Basically, you need to boost the protein content of bread flour (12.5% usually) in order to create clear flour of about 15.3% protein, by adding vital wheat gluten. I went ahead and did the calculation for you. However much clear flour you need, use 96% bread flour sifted together with 4% vital wheat gluten. You can find VWG in the bulk bin section of any natural foods store. Pre-packaged VWG tends to be lower in protein than that in bulk.

High-gluten, or high-protein flour (HPF) has a protein content of 14-14.5%. Unfortunately, it tends to be available only from large distributors in 50-pound bags. The good news is that you can effectively create your own high protein flour.

How can know the protein content of any flour?  Another good question.  Let’s look at the nutrition label of a bag of bread flour.

You need two pieces of information from it:  the number of grams of protein per serving, and the number of total grams of flour per serving.  In this case, the numbers are 5 and 40, respectively.  To learn the protein percentage, we’ll divide 5 by 40:  5 ÷ 40 = .125, or 12.5%.  So we know we have bread flour, or flour that contains enough protein in the form of gluten to dependably yield a good loaf of bread.

So how do we create high protein flour?  Are you familiar with vital wheat gluten (VWG)?  It isn’t pure protein, but it’s darn close.  I buy mine from a bulk bin at my nearby natural foods store.  The grams of protein per serving are 23 (!!), and the total grams of VWG are 30 per serving.  Let’s do the math:  23 ÷ 30 = .766666666666.  Rounding up, let’s call it 77%.

We need to know how much to add to our bread flour in order to create high protein flour.  We’re going to use a tool called a Pearson’s Square.  It simply allows anyone to start with two known quantities and calculate the amounts needed of each in order to create a third known quantity.  


Take out a piece of paper, draw a square in the center, and do this with me.  On the left side of the square, the smaller amount goes at the top and the larger on the bottom:  12.5 (the protein % of bread flour, BF) and 77 (the protein % of vital wheat gluten, VWG).  In the center goes our target % for high-gluten flour:  14.5%.

The arrows inside the square tell you in which directions to subtract on the diagonals.  We’re only concerned with integers here (it’s easier for me to calculate a Pearson’s Square than to figure out how long it’s been since I used the word “integer”), no negative numbers.  The difference between 12.5 and 14.5 is 2.  Write that at the bottom right corner.  The difference between 77 and 14.5 is 62.5.  Write that at the upper right corner.  Now add the two numbers on the right together:  62.5 + 2 = 64.5.  Are you with me?

There is one last step.  In order to know how much of each kind of flour we need to mix together to make high protein flour, we need to know what percentage 62.5 and 2 are of the total 64.5.  Because right now, the information is just in “parts”.  Parts are not as useful as percentages.

So, 62.5 ÷ 64.5 = .97, or 97%

2 ÷ 64.5 = .03, or 3%

97% + 3% = 100%, so we know our numbers are accurate

In the end, I like to look at the ratios in terms of reasonableness.  We’re increasing the protein content of our BF, 12.5%, to 14.5%, the protein content of HPF.  We’re doing that using VWG, whose protein content is 77%.  I would reasonably expect that we would need a much larger amount of BF than VWG in order to create HPF.  Our calculations not only confirmed that, but also told us exactly how much of each flour we need.


 I have used this method of accurately calculating how muchVital Wheat Gluten to add.  Good luck.


My apologies.  I neglected to mention the source for the above material.  Here it is:

gavinc's picture

Glad I found this! Great work and explained very well. I'm struggling to get a good rise in 100% whole-wheat sandwich loaf by Debra Wink. She has given me great tips, but I cannot get the high protein whole-wheat flour that she uses; 16 to 17%. The published recipe recommends at least 14%. Debra has recommended I consider adding VWG. The use of this Pearson's square method looks great and will give me some accuracy so I know what to adjust between bakes. The wholemeal flour here is only 10.8% protein. I've created a spreadsheet :)

Cheers, and thanks


alcophile's picture

Hi Gavin,

If you are interested, there is an online calculator for this:

I can't remember how I found it, but it has come in handy for upping the protein content of flour. The only downside is it gives the result as a whole number with no decimals.

gavinc's picture

Thanks. Luckily it gave the same result as my spreadsheet, although I didn't round off.


dann's picture

hi, thank you for this and it svery easy to set up in excel.

do you know if there s a direct relation between proteins and gluten ?

more precisely, if i can find all kinds of flours with their proteins and gluten quantities ?.

cause if we can have proteins in flour, it don t want to tell us that there is a lot or little gluten in it, like rye, corn, ......

Benito's picture

Both Pearson’s square and the calculator shared here are super useful, I’ve bookmarked both for future use.  Thanks