The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Adding Gluten to 100% Gluten Free Flour? Magic or nonsense?

Tyler Dean's picture
Tyler Dean

Adding Gluten to 100% Gluten Free Flour? Magic or nonsense?

I've been wondering for the longest time what would become of a loaf that was made with gluten free flour, ENTIRELY, yet had added vital wheat gluten, and was yeasted, "kneaded" then allowed to rise. It's not for gluten free purposes obviously, but for experimental purposes and possibly health reasons. Say you used rice flour, or coconut, potato, cassava, hazelnut, corn, teff, etc. and gluten-ized it, yeasted it, rose it, baked it off... does anyone know what might be the end result here? I feel like doing this with multiple flours and maybe even things that aren't even flour...such as ground seeds or dehydrated veggies, chocolate and eggs with gluten and yeast... possibilities are endless? Would anybody be interested in these experiments if I shared them on these forums?
First post. Thank you all for reading and hello to The Fresh Loaf!

~Tyler Dean~

clazar123's picture

My first reaction was- "What's the point?" BUT we do have a number of posts from people that are low carb and seeking bread and VWG is low carb enough for them. Not a lot but a few. There is a forum here called "Baking for Special Needs" that would be the best place to post, I would think.

I always encourage people to bake bread in any form. We didn't always have wheat available and bread (in some form) has been made since fire was used as a tool.

As for what would happen if you add VWG to non-wheat flours-use the search box here. There are a number of interesting posts and you can get the general feel of people's reactions. Remember this is a BREAD forum and most bakers only define bread by wheat. My position is that all kinds of deliciousness can be baked using all kinds of ingredients and still be "bread".

I did help the original poster troubleshoot and I actually baked these. They were surprisingly tasty!

Keep going and bake something delicious! I am always interested in how ingredients come together and behave. Your posts reach world-wide and everyone learns something. Don't forget pictures!

pmccool's picture

Try it and see.  The one suggestion I would offer is to avoid GF flour blends - most of those already include gums to provide structure.  You don't need those if you add gluten, so why pay for them?  Just use flours that interest you and include some VWG.  You'll be able to dial in how much VWG you need after a few bakes.  I suspect you will find that a combination of flours and starches is more to your liking than any single flour or starch; the only limitations to what you try are your imagination and your pocketbook.


EricaO's picture

I would be really interested in ypur findings. Due to IBS I need to follow a lof-fodmap diet but am really missing traditional (real) baking.

clazar123's picture

I believe you will find a treasure trove of information if you explore low carb baking. VWG is used often.

Actually, gluten free baking might also be a good place to start experimenting. Bear with me- I know you want to use gluten! BUT-GF baking can give you the recipes for using other flours. In GF baking gums (guar,xantham,psyllium and chia or flax) and protein (eggs,peanut flour,etc) are used for structure. Just eliminate the gums and start adding in vital wheat gluten for structure. The proteins also add flavor and moisture so make them a less major player in the recipe or eliminate for a leaner product.

The trick is to get a structure that isn't pure rubber. Remember that gluten-at a big concentration- makes seitan which is a nice chewy meat substitute. Not a great baked product texture! The ratio of VWG and starchy flour (rice,flour,etc) will be the key to getting a good texture. Start experimenting with small amounts that you weigh rather than volume measure. That way, it is easier to scale up to a full sized recipe. Also, become familiar with using baker's percentage. Just use the "search" box for that.

Have delicious fun!


adkbob's picture

I received gluten free flour in error. I would like to know if adding VWG to gluten free flour will result in a quality loaf of bread. I know I can experiment as the saying goes: A wise man learns by instruction a fool learns by experience. Thank you.

idaveindy's picture

 "I would like to know if adding VWG to gluten free flour will result in a quality loaf of bread."

 No.  It will not be like wheat-flour bread. 

To be more specific, it depends on the expectations of the consumer/eater.  If the consumer is expecting wheat bread, they will say "This isn't bread!"

If they are expecting non-wheat bread, then it depends on your recipe and your skill as a baker.

In any case, both the flavor and mouth-feel will be different than wheat bread.  

The taste will be in accordance with the type of flour or flours in the bag... rice, buckwheat, tapioca, potato, sorghum, bean, etc.

As pmccool mentions above, if your GF flour already has "gum" added as a binder (guar gum, xanthan gum, etc.), then adding VWG will make it extra thick or gooey.


If you are unable to return the GF flour, or get a refund, and don't want to make 100% GF bread, it is possible to use it up as a partial ingredient in wheat bread.  

Substituting  5% of the wheat flour with the GF flour should maintain the flavor and texture without offending the consumer who is expecting wheat bread. You can then experiment with substituting up to 10%.

Good luck and bon appétit.

Timothy Wilson's picture
Timothy Wilson

The bread will turn out and will be quite tasty, you just need to experiment with the dough fermentation technology.

Chejee's picture

I've been trying to do this forever. Please do the work for me and figure out how to make it good. Thanks!

JonJ's picture

Think it's a good idea. I'm beginning to believe that most of the digestibility issues people have with bread are from modern wheat which has been bred more strongly for yield and processing ability than for nutrition reasons. Gluten may not be the only thing causing all these issues because some people can eat ancient wheat grains like einkorn and kamut without digestion issues.

Valhe's picture

I follow a low-FODMAP diet and have been trying to succeed with baking a Finnish sweet cardamom bread called "pulla" without any wheat starch. I have made at least five different batches of "pulla" already, each time improving a bit.

I use a store-bought mix of gluten free flour (rice, potato, oat, corn), to which I have added some amount of corn flour (for color) and oat flour (for flavor), and then gluten flour (~10% of all flour). It seems that no matter how little or long I knead, the dough will never become as elastic as a dough made of wheat flour. Yes, there will be elasticity - more than with gluten free flour - but the dough will never become stretchy enough to pull into a thin film. It breaks apart quite fast, although slower than gluten-free flour.

I must say, I still have a lot of experimenting to do. My current theory is that problem lies in the non-gluten proteins in the non-wheat flours, and that the starches are too different from wheat starch. My next experiment will be to find a starch that is similar enough to wheat starch, and add gluten to it. My googling says corn starch might be a good candidate.

My next attempts at succeeding in this will be more systematical than previous ones, and I will hopefully post some results here in the future (might take some time though). I might try 9 parts corn starch + 1 part gluten next.

On a last note, all my batches have been good tasting and been consumed (by me and my partner and roommates), although I have not been so happy with them myself.

clazar123's picture

Gluten is actually composed of 2 parts-gliadin and glutenin. Glutenin provides strength and elasticity. Gliadin provides extensibility. When the gluten (both) are well hydrated, at proper pH, have proper minerals and have been properly kneaded to expose enough gluten(both) molecules to water causing them to align, you have a smooth dough that traps gas as it rises and stretches easily enough to double or triple in size before the heat of the oven "sets" the dough. All those things go into a proper loaf of wheat-based bread and most of us aren't even aware. This is why 1 baker in an area of highly mineralized water can have totally different results (using the same recipe) as another baker with a low mineral content water in another area.  But it's not hopeless.

THIS LINK talks about glute and how the 2 components behave in a dough and loaf of bread. It is actually an article on celiac but it has a great explanation about halfway down on gliadin and glutenin.

THIS article is a pdf on how gluten works. 

When you are trying to develop characteristics in a loaf, it helps to know how the ingredients work. It seems to me that you are looking for a protein that has more extensibility. Gums (weather its xanthan, guar, psyllium, chia, egg protein) have a rigid structure. It traps gas, rises, sets in place and stays. No elasticity to make it bouncy. As long as the crumb stays moist (a day or so) it will be flexible. I am by no means an expert but I have yet to find an ingredient that will do this and so I want to follow your posts on this.

With ALL that being said-you may ber able to use the vital wheat gluten and temper its robust strength using pH and  hydration to weaken its structure similar to how they make panettone. They use a strong (high gluten) flour and use a natural levine's acidic pH and a long, temp controlled fermentation to produce an extensible but structurally sound dough. It does get tricky but it is do-able.

I also suggest you start another post on just this topic. Have some delicious fun!