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How to add vital wheat gluten to sourdough bread

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How to add vital wheat gluten to sourdough bread

Adding VWG to sourdough bread | Adding VWG to sourdough fruit bread


Adding Vital Wheat Gluten to inferior bread flour and low protein specialty flours can make a lot of difference to the height and structure of your finished loaf.

I use strong bread flour (high-protein flours) for making sourdough bread. This gives the bread the ability to hold itself up. This is the difference between a crumbly cake or cookie and a piece of chewy sourdough. Flour low in protein can be one of the major reasons sourdough bread is flat.

Protein levels in flour and the labelling/wording around this varies across the world. To get around this inconsistency, look for 13% protein (13g of protein per 100g flour). Check the nutritional table or product listing for this information, before purchase. If this information isn’t available, no matter how wonderful the flour, I don’t buy it. Not for sourdough anyway.

Sometimes it’s not possible to get high-protein flour or you want to work with a specialty flour. Lower protein flours can be used successfully by adding a small amount of Vital Wheat Gluten.

You can get Vital Wheat Gluten online here: Amazon AU, or Amazon worldwide. Amazon is the cheapest I have found online. In-store? Try health food stores.

Vital wheat gluten will enhance dark ryes, boost wholemeal spelt and give better rise to sourdough tea and fruit bread.

A little goes a long way!

Note
I add the vital wheat gluten without adjusting the water or flour levels. However, my flours are high in protein already so I don’t need a lot of Vital Wheat Gluten. If you are using a LOT of Vital Wheat Gluten in the loaf due to very low protein content, remove the same amount of flour as you are using Vital Wheat Gluten or add more water to your dough. If you don’t adjust accordingly, it will change the hydration of your dough, as it is the same as adding extra flour to the recipe. The table below will let you know when it’s recommended to do make this adjustment, otherwise, a good guide is when you are using 2+% Vital Wheat Gluten in proportion to your flour.

If not removing the same amount of flour but adding more water instead to replenish the hydration, this is what I would do. Mix the dough and assess it. Add 1 tablespoon of water (yes, such a small amount will make a difference!), incorporate and assess again. Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until you reach the right consistency.

Note – it can be quite difficult to incorporate additional water into a mixed dough.


How to add vital wheat gluten to sourdough bread

GRAMS Adding to
sourdough
bread recipes
Protein content
of your flour

Vital Wheat Gluten
amount
Remove the same
amount of flour to
maintain hydration

of the recipe?
Grams per 100g
(%)
Per 415g*
(g)
Per kilo
(g)
83175 Yes
8.528 68 Yes
925 61Yes
9.52253Yes
101946Yes
10.51639Yes
111331Yes
11.51024Yes
12716No
12.538No
1300No
*This is the amount of flour used in my sourdough bread recipe
OUNCES Adding to
sourdough
bread recipes
Protein content
of your flour
Vital Wheat Gluten
amount
Remove the same
amount of flour to
maintain hydration

of the recipe?
(%)Per 14.63*
(oz)
Per pound
(oz)
81.11.2Yes
8.511.1Yes
90.91Yes
9.50.80.9Yes
100.70.7Yes
10.50.60.6Yes
110.50.5Yes
11.50.30.4Yes
120.20.3No
12.50.10.1No
1300No
*This is the amount of flour used in my sourdough bread recipe

how to add vital wheat gluten flour to sourdough bread

How to add vital wheat gluten to sourdough fruit bread doughs

GRAMS Adding to
sourdough
fruit breads
Protein content
of your flour
Vital Wheat Gluten Remove the same
amount of flour to
maintain hydration

of the recipe?
Grams per 100g
(%)
Per 415*g
(g)
Per kilo
(g)
84097Yes
8.53790Yes
93583Yes
9.53276Yes
102969Yes
10.52662Yes
112355Yes
11.52047Yes
121740Yes
12.51332Yes
131024Yes
*This is the amount of flour used in my sourdough bread recipe
OUNCES Adding to
sourdough
fruit breads
Protein content
of your flour
Vital Wheat Gluten Remove the same
amount of flour to
maintain hydration

of the recipe?
(%)Per 14.63*
(oz)
Per pound
(oz)
Yes
81.41.5Yes
8.51.31.4 Yes
91.21.3 Yes
9.51.11.2 Yes
1011.1 Yes
10.50.91 Yes
110.80.9 Yes
11.50.70.8 Yes
120.60.6 Yes
12.50.50.5 Yes
130.40.4 Yes
*This is the amount of flour used in my sourdough bread recipe
411 comments

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11 Comments

Leanne

You are a wealth of knowledge. I have just made another sourdough loaf following your instruction and once again nailed it. Love the idea of making fruit bread. Will keep you posted. Once again Thankyou for making sour dough so easy and enjoyable.

Reply

Mary-Jane

I’m excited to help you skip the sourdough learning curve and just dive straight in! May you enjoy your very sourdough love story as it continues to blossom! Thanks so much for sharing. 🤗🤗

Reply

Seneca

Hi
I’m really having trouble understanding those ratios. Could you pls tell me how much VWG I need to add for 500gms of flour with 13% protein. Thx so much, your article is very helpful.
Kind regards
Seneca

Reply

Stephanie Broomfield

Hello
Thanks for all the above.
However, I don’t understand the chart regarding adding gluten to the flour for sourdough.
So, if I am using 900 grams flour how much gluten do I add??
Thanks.

Reply

Mary-Jane

Hi Stephanie, Thanks for being in touch. How much you need to use is determined by the flour you’re using. Look on the nutritional label of your flour packet for the amount of protein per 100g. The number will be between 8 and 14g per 100g. This is the % of protein inside the flour. Find the same number in the left-hand column of the table and that is the row of information for you. It will say how much to add for that level of protein. I have listed how much you need for my bread recipes, but also per kilo. Since 900g, is 90% of 1 kilo, use 90% of the VWG per kilo amount. (Multiply it by 0.9). If you need further help, I am here. x

Reply

Bruce Brooks

What are we talking about here?

Add to
Feed 1
Add to
Feed 2
Add to
Feed 3

Reply

Mary-Jane

Hi Bruce, That’s a good question. It’s applicable when feeding your sourdough starter when using my recipe process, which takes people through the feeding process each time they bake sourdough – helpful for beginners. If you’re not following that, you may need to work it out manually using the per kilo measurement, and your own feed measurements. I have read online that you don’t need to feed sourdough starter with Vital Wheat Gluten, and just add it to the dough. If your flour is above 11.5% I would think this is okay. I had such issues with flat sourdough in the beginning that I haven’t tried this for flour really low in protein.

Reply

Phawnda Moore

I’m glad to find your article ~ but looking for a simple amount of vital wheat gluten to use. I understand it’s related to the flour’s protein count. Need a measurement, please, in either grams, teaspoons or tablespoons (in the US). Say, for King Arthur AP or Bread flour, just a general amount, per cup.

Has it been your experience that VWG stiffens sourdough, making it a little more difficult to do stretch and folds? Does it change the dough in any way BEFORE baking? Thanks so much!

Reply

Mary-Jane

Hi Pwanda,

Thanks for your comment on the website. It’s hard to give an amount of vital wheat gluten per cup because every flour is different in terms of it’s protein level and every Baker’s cup measurement will vary based on their handling. I also only know by weight. 😁

I suggest weighing your ingredients for sourdough because you will get a better outcome. However, if you send me the protein measurement of the flour you’re using (it’s on the nutritional panel on the packet) and how much 1 cup of the flour weights, I will convert for you and respond with an approximate measurement.

The vital wheat gluten will strengthen the dough – that’s the only change. The dough will handle better. It will make stretch and folds easier and more flexible.

Cheers!
Mary-Jane

Reply

Margaret Spiteri

So if my flour had a content of 14%protein. How much veg do I need to add. Thks

Reply

Mary-Jane

None. It sounds like you might be using spelt with a protein content so high? If so, the structure of the bread will naturally be flatter than a white wheat loaf because the gluten strands are shorter. I am not sure what VWG would do in this instance. It could make it tough. If you wanted to try you could use 5-10g and see if it makes a difference. If you’re not using spelt and it’s wheat flour – it’s already got enough protein in it and the issue could be something else, if you’re having trouble with sourdough bread that’s flat.

Reply

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