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Have you come across a recipe that specifies bread flour instead of all-purpose flour?

The Damsel has, and until she found out what bread flour really is, she always quickly rejected any such recipe. Things are cramped in the Damsel’s pantry. She can’t keep a zillion kinds of flour hanging around. She needs the room for other important items like chocolate chips and cheerios.

Bread flour is in fact flour with a high gluten content. And if you have one magic ingredient, you can make your own so easily, you won’t ever pay extra for the stuff again.

The magic ingredient: Come closer, and the Damsel will whisper it in your ear: Gluten flour, or vital wheat gluten. This stuff used to be sort of hard to find, but it’s becoming pretty common in the baking aisles these days. It’s often used in whole wheat recipes to make them turn out more bakery-like, instead of doorstop-like, by increasing the percentage of gluten.

The vital wheat gluten comes in a sort of small package, so you’ll sacrifice only a little pantry real estate in trade for having a pretty versatile and somewhat magical ingredient on hand.

It’s ridiculously easy to make all-purpose flour into bread flour. Just add 1 tablespoon of vital wheat gluten/gluten flour per cup of all-purpose flour to your recipe. You don’t have to mix it into the flour ahead of time or say any magic words. Just add it as part of the flour measurement.

That. Is. All.

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  • http://fortheloveofblogtherapy.com SarahJane

    Hey Damsel! Thanks for stopping by my blog today (for the love) We’ve already been in touch about the CBC! I wrote the Sugar Cookie story. :)

  • Cathy

    I have high-gluten flour that I use for homemade pizza – could that be used instead?

    • damsel

      I bet that would work just fine!

      • Cathy

        Thanks! I have to buy it in 50 lb bags at Sam’s Club, so this will give me another use for it!

  • http://www.letterstolizzie.blogspot.com Amy

    You. Are. A. Goddess.
    Thanks for commenting on Letters to Lizzie! I’m definitely following this blog.

  • http://latermom.blogspot.com Charlotte

    That is all there is to it?!? I’ve seen the gluten before but was unsure how to sub it into the recipe. 1 Tbs per cup, huh? Glad to know!
    .-= Charlotte´s last blog ..Dead last in the 5K *Slightly Updated* =-.

  • http://beinglds.blogspot.com Jocelyn

    Oh yes!
    .-= Jocelyn´s last blog ..Perspective =-.

  • Chloe Rowles

    NEAT! I have never heard of vital wheat gluten. I will look for it now!

  • http://lynnewsnyder.blogspot.com/ Lynne’s Somewhat Invented Life

    I’ve been catching up on all your posts. I’d love to comment on all of them but it’s after midnight….

    Loved them all, the bride is beautiful. That is your greatest accomplishment. Bless you for all your sharing.
    .-= Lynne’s Somewhat Invented Life´s last blog ..BEING AN EXAMPLE AT WOMEN’S CONFERENCE =-.

  • http://www.bradenbell.com Braden

    You are really something, Damsel. I hope you write a book with all these cool things in one place.

  • http://amandascookin.com Amanda

    Excellent info. And I do have vital wheat gluten in the fridge! :)
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Cookies =-.

  • http://joycomesfromwithin.blogspot.com/ Jacqualine

    What a fun little blog you have. Found you through Towards Sustainability.

    Do you know if it is the same ratio of 1 Tablespoon to 1 Cup for whole wheat flour? I have been making my own bread for a while now and though my husband loves the taste he wishes it were more “fluffy”.
    .-= Jacqualine´s last blog ..This moment in time… =-.

    • damsel

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Adding vital wheat gluten will definitely help with the Fluffy Factor. Another thing I add is powdered lecithin. This helps the bread to have a more spongey, more store-like, texture. Also adds B vitamins!

      Another thing that helps is to use flour ground from white wheat instead of red wheat.

      As for ratios, I’d experiment, starting off with 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten to 1 cup flour. See how you like it and adjust. It’s hard to say for whole wheat because there are so many other factors coming into play, like this thing about what kind of wheat it is. That actually makes a MAJOR difference.

      • http://joycomesfromwithin.blogspot.com/ Jacqualine

        Thanks so much! I will be trying it soon :)

        • Cindy Lloyd

           Did you ever try it? If so, how did it go and did you ever find a good ratio?

          • http://www.joycomesfromwithin.blogspot.com/ Jacqualine

             I did try it… but I can’t remember what ratio. I am pretty sure it was a heaping tablespoon to a cup of flour.

  • http://cookingwithrockymento.blogspot.com Sande Nascimento

    okay. let me add my wowser.
    .-= Sande Nascimento´s last blog ..I make a pretty good vegan cook! =-.

  • Barbarajburgess1

    I remember in years past seeing something about making your own gluten flour..  Do you have any information on that?

    • Anonymous

      Super good question! I haven’t been able to find a way to do that. I see ways to make gluten, such as is used in Asian dishes, but it isn’t a flour…it’s a stretchy glob. If I learn how, I’ll be sure to post it on my blog.
      Margot (The Damsel)

  • http://twitter.com/magnoliasouth MagnoliaSouth

    Just one OCDish question: do you take out 1 tbs of flour when you add the gluten or do you just toss it in with the full cup?

    • Jacqualine Chamberlain

      I just add it in…

      • thedamselindisdress

        Either way will probably work just fine. ! tbs. of flour in a loaf of bread is too small to really matter. Margot (The Damsel)