High gluten flour, sometimes mistaken for bread flour, is flour that has extra protein – more so than all-purpose flour. It’s great for baking chewy breads, like bagels, pretzels, and pizza dough.
If you are a baker, then you’re aware that the type of flour you use will greatly affect your bake. Although using high gluten flour will result in a great, chewy texture, it’s not a must-have.
You can easily substitute high gluten flour with a combination of all-purpose flour and vital wheat gluten. Don’t have vital wheat gluten on hand? You can also use bread flour or all-purpose flour.
Flour – an Overview
Flour has two different types of gluten that when kneaded, give bread its structure. Gliadin gives the dough the ability to rise and Glutenin creates elasticity and chewiness.
Gluten-free flour such as potato flour usually needs to be combined with an extra ingredient to create a rise. Otherwise, your bread will be flat and hard.
Flours with different amounts of protein will be good for varying types of bread.
Common Types of Gluten Flour
- Unbleached, all-purpose flour
- Great for soft breads, such as white bread.
- Cake flour
- Flour that has been sifted an extra amount. This results in very airy, light bakes and is great for cakes, cupcakes, and muffins.
- Bread flour
- Good for chewier breads, such as sourdough or focaccia. Bread flour has a higher protein content than all-purpose flour, and lower protein content than high gluten flour.
- High gluten flour
- Used in the chewiest of breads such as pizza dough, pretzels, or bagels. Generally, you don’t want to use high gluten flour in anything besides bread.
- Durum wheat flour
- This flour has the highest protein count of all flour. This flour doesn’t have any elasticity so you’ll need to use it in conjunction with another gluten flour.
All of the above flour types contain gluten. If you are gluten-intolerant or live with Celiac disease, you may want to try a gluten-free option, such as tapioca flour, oatmeal flour, almond flour, potato flour, rice flour, or cornmeal (great for making longer-lasting tortillas!)
Best Substitutes for High Gluten Flour
All-Purpose & Vital Wheat Gluten
We’ve covered all-purpose flour above. Vital wheat gluten is a finely ground powder. It looks and feels like flour, but unless you want a massive balloon of a mess (too much gluten!) you shouldn’t use it by itself.
Sometimes, seitan is confused for vital wheat gluten. This is incorrect, as the two are different. Seitan is made with vital wheat gluten, water, and spices. You generally do not use it to make bread.
Depending on the ratio of all-purpose flour to vital wheat gluten, you can make both bread flour and high gluten flour.
Add 1-2 tablespoons of vital wheat gluten per cup of all-purpose flour to make bread flour.
Add 2-4 tablespoons of vital wheat gluten per cup of all-purpose flour to make high gluten flour.
Whether you buy it at the store or make your own as detailed above, bread flour makes a great substitute for high-gluten flour.
In order for bread flour to have a similar effect in bread as high gluten flour, you’ll want to add half the amount of kneading time in your recipe. This ensures that your gluten structure forms well, and you get the chewy texture you’re looking for.
You can easily find all-purpose flour in any grocery store. All-purpose flour is the most versatile of flours.
Make sure that if you are going to use all-purpose flour to make bread, double your kneading time. If you find that your hands/arms get tired, you can always use a stand mixer with a bread hook attachment.
Additional Flour Options – Just Add Vital Wheat Gluten!
Depending on your health wants and needs, flours can be ranked in order from healthiest to least healthy. Any of these flours can be used in conjunction with vital wheat gluten to make a bread dough.
Made from ground, dried coconut, coconut flour is both grain-free and gluten-free. It contains a substantial amount of fat and is a great source of protein, fiber, iron, and potassium. It is said to be rich in antioxidants and be antimicrobial.
Coconut flour is mildly sweet and is great to use in sweeter baked goods such as cakes and cookies. It works best when used with a lot of eggs, as it can dry out your bake.
Almond flour is another gluten-free flour made from ground, blanched almonds. Almond flour is different from coarse almond meal, which is made by grinding whole almonds with the skins still on.
Almond flour is an excellent source of omega-3s, magnesium, vitamin E, and protein. Because it is made from a nut, almond flour is high in calories.
You can use almond flour in most baked goods, including cookies and pancakes. Talking about cookies, learn how to thaw frozen cookie dough..
Quinoa flour is made from, you guessed it, ground quinoa. Quinoa is a gluten-free grain and a good source of fats, iron, fiber, and protein.
Quinoa is great for when you’re looking for a moist texture in your bakes. It’s very versatile and good in anything from pancakes to pizza crust.
If you find the taste of quinoa flour to be bitter, try toasting it for 5-10 minutes over medium heat before adding it to your mix.
Buckwheat flour, despite its name, is not made from a type of wheat. Instead, buckwheat flour is a ground-up version of buckwheat grain.
Buckwheat flour is high in protein, fiber, and micronutrients (magnesium, copper, manganese, iron, etc.) and is said to reduce blood sugar levels.
Buckwheat flour has an earthy flavor and is used in pancakes, noodles, and many crumb coatings.
Make sure you choose the best flour for your dietary and baking needs! High gluten flour is easily substituted, and you can still make that great pizza or bread you’ve been dreaming of.