Homemade bread often defies success, emerging from the oven as a dense loaf that presents a challenge to tooth and jaw. Though the beginning baker might suspect a problem with yeast, the real culprit might be a lack of proteins in the flour. These proteins form gluten strands, the strands, in turn, providing a sort of trellis for the dough, giving it lightness and structure. When all-purpose flour lacks enough proteins to create a proper loaf, bakers can add gluten, which, like all-purpose flour, is a wheat product.
Buy the gluten, using the nutritional information on the package to ensure the product is about 75 percent protein per serving. Thus, if the serving size is 30 g, 23 g of protein more than suffices.
Add 1 tbsp. gluten with every cup of all-purpose flour used when your recipe calls for you to add the dry ingredients, including flour. If using a bread machine, when the recipe calls for flour, alternate each cup of the flour with the gluten.
Stir the gluten, flour and other dry ingredients together.
- Before you add gluten to all-purpose flour, check the protein content of the flour.
- Gluten goes by many names including vital wheat gluten, vital wheat gluten flour, pure gluten and gluten flour, among other monikers.
- Considering the differences in protein content among flours, you may need to experiment with the amount of gluten to flour until you achieve the texture and structure you like.
- Don't add gluten to all-purpose flour to be used in recipes for cookies, cakes and other products besides bread.
Sophie Johnson is a freelance writer and editor of both print and film media. A freelancer for more than 20 years, Johnson has had the opportunity to cover topics ranging from construction to music to celebrity interviews.