Sunday, September 11, 2011

52 Weeks Food Storage - #37

Week # 37: 1 package of Vital Wheat Gluten

Vital Wheat Gluten:

Gluten is a protein found in Rye, Wheat, Oats, Barley & Triticale. (”Gliadin” is part of the gluten structure. Gliadin is present in varying amounts in these grains. The combination of gliadin and glutenen makes gluten.) This protein gives structure, elasticity and sponginess to baked goods, especially your home made breads.

Vital wheat gluten only does one thing. It helps improve the rise and texture of the bread. Use it in your heavier breads that rise slowly, such as whole grains, rye, or ones loaded with sugar, dried fruit and nuts. Generally, if you are using white bread flour you don’t need to add any gluten. However, all-purpose or whole-grain flours need vital wheat gluten.

Know the Difference:
Sometimes instant gluten flour = pure gluten flour = vital wheat gluten, depending on vendor and manufacturer. Notes: This is flour with the starch and bran removed. Don’t confuse it with bread flour = high-gluten flour, which is gluten-fortified flour, or with gluten = seitan, a meat analogue used in vegetarian dishes they are all very different. Vital Wheat Gluten is usually added to regular flour to turn it into bread flour, or it’s used to make seitan.
One way to know for sure is to understand that vital wheat gluten should be 75-80% protein.
1/4 cup of vital wheat gluten that contains 6g carbohydrate and 23 g protein is the one you need!
1/4 cup of gluten flour that contains 14 g carbohydrates and 12 g protein is not the right one. (While it may have it’s own list of benefits, it’s not what your looking for in this instance.)

  • Some additional advantages of Vital Wheat Gluten:
  • Vital Wheat Gluten has a protein level of 75%.
  • Gluten absorbs nearly twice it’s weight of water and retains a portion of it in the final product, thereby increasing the yield.
  • Gluten traps the gases in the dough more effectively, allowing better oven spring and larger volume.
  • The typical taste of bread is enhanced. The color, especially of the crust, is improved.
  • Vital Wheat Gluten improves the nutritional value and has a longer shelf life.
  • Gluten aids in the machinability of the dough, particularly in the clean-up stage.
  • Thin slicing without breakage is possible.
Use 1 tsp. per cup of all-purpose or 1 1/2 – 3 tsp. for every cup of whole grain or rye flours. Or 1 Tbsp. for each loaf of bread.
Nutritional Benefits:
This food is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Selenium, and a very good source of Protein.

Where to buy:
Please check your labels! Vital Wheat Gluten is usually available in the health food section or baking section of your grocery, or at some health food stores.  There are many online sites that also sell Vital Wheat Gluten if you can't find it locally.

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