Gluten Flour

TeckPoh's picture

Having heard from a friend who swears by the flours sold by the Adventist Hospital in Penang (an island upnorth which is 4 hrs' drive away), I asked hubby to get me some since he was there for a biz visit. What he got for me was one kg of wholemeal flour and 500g gluten flour. I don't think it's organic but it says it's the product of Australia.

Can anyone can tell me what is gluten flour? Is it similar to vital gluten? Any help as to how I can use it would be appreciated. TIA!
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Danubian's picture
Danubian 2008 May 9
Wheat is unique among cereals because it possesses a significant quantity of a unique insoluble protein matrix called "gluten". It's made up of three proteins - glutenin, gliadin, & globulin - the first two of which have a profound influence on the physical property of wheat dough. Gluten when hydrated forms an elastic rubbery mass with surprising toughness and elastic resiliance. The presence of gluten is largely responsible for the light aerated volume of wheat bread.

Technically, gluten is not a 'flour' but a component of wheat flour. Being a protein it has the characteristic of a string of amino acids much like a string of beads. The amino acid combinations are repetative and specific which give the protein its physical character. In wheat bread doughs gluten forms a three dimensional matrix which traps or retains Co2 produced by yeasts and bacteria. If a wheat bread dough is properley conditioned it has the ability to expand as more gas is produced yet still remain intact. These gluten strands have the ability to form cross bonds by forming sulphur bridges which significantly strengthens the matrix allowing further expansion. See [url=]here[/... for a brief description of gluten modification.

See the gluten strands in this ripe wheat sourdough below.

Detail of gluten strands again in a ripe wheat sourdough.

TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2008 May 9
Thanks, Boris.

Initially, I thought it was high gluten flour and they perhaps left a word out in the labelling. From the above, I see it's something to improve the cross-bonding process? What percentage of total flour should I use, assuming it's to help put some pizzazz into some low-protein flour?
Danubian's picture
Danubian 2008 May 10
It doesn't improve the cross bonding process - ascorbic acid does that - although, in my opinion it's not needed. But in general terms, without a raft of qualifying points, the higher the protein content the larger bread volume can be achieved. However, it will require more mixing and usually longer fermentation to modify the protein. I frankly prefer not to use it but rather use a quality flour which has natural protein characteristics suited for bread. I'd also caution that more protein doesn't necessarily mean improved bread because the protein "character and/or qualilty" is also just as significant.

In conventional baking gluten is used as an addition to bread doughs with heavy amounts of additional whole grain or fruit or any significant amount of something that will stress the matrix framework in order to achieve 'normal' bread volume.
TeckPoh's picture
TeckPoh 2008 May 10

Sigh. Looks like it's a waste of money. What am I going to do with 500g of it?  Hmm...maybe make chocolate challah. I remember the high proportion of fats and chocolate made it difficult to rise.
Danubian's picture
Danubian 2008 May 10
Put a heaped teaspoon in a glass and add a level teaspoon of water and mix it until fully hydrated. play with it in your hands to get the feel what wet gluten feels like. You'll be amazed how it'll make bread doughs more understandable.

It might be useful for things with a high percentage of sugar, fat, and or fruit, etc.
celia's picture
celia 2008 May 10

...what Boris is describing is what I understand to be vital gluten - I add a tsp or so to my spelt flour loaves to help them rise.

But I thought gluten flour was a more generic term given to flour with gluten added to it in a particular ratio ?  I only thought this because some recipes specifying gluten flour ask for quite a lot (1/4 cup etc), which would seem excessive were it to be just vital gluten. (the recipes on this site seem to use "gluten flour" in place of regular flour)

Danubian's picture
Danubian 2008 May 10
From the reading of those links they seem consistent with my post. Not that long ago gluten was only available in 'wet' form. However, it was soon replaced with 'dry' gluten - easier to store, package, and transport. Perhaps that where the word 'flour' was added to gluten to denote a powdery character. High Protein (HP) flour is something very different. Once HP flour had a minimum quantity of protein which was  not less than 13.4% on a moisture free basis; but as far as I can tell this no longer applies. But 'gluten flour' seems to be 'dry gluten', yesterday I checked it in my local Macro store which was definately 'dry gluten' not HP flour.

Just to add, gluten is naturally found in wheat. Sure some gluten protein components are found in other grains such as rye but wheat is the only grain which has the combinations and types of proteins which produce a inslouble robust elastic matrix. Gluten is an extraction, or by-product of starch manufacture.
PaddyL 2008 May 10
I've only ever used gluten flour once and that was in a sprouted wheat berry bread.  I was told the sprouted berries would cut the strands of gluten in the dough and to use the extra gluten just in case.  I've since made lots of sprouted wheat bread without the added gluten and it turned out just fine.  Americans tend to use dough enhancers like gluten flour because their flour isn't as good or strong as Canadian flour.  I haven't a clue what Australian flour is like, and it would be interesting to know more about your wheat.

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