Sunday, August 5, 2012

Vital Wheat Gluten vs. Dough Enhancer

When I began baking my own bread back when Y2K was the concern, there were and still are many opinions about these two items that may make you believe they are must haves. This is just not true, you can bake perfectly good and healthy bread without either of them.

What are they and what’s the difference between them?

Both of these are additives to help bread rise and become chewy especially if using 100% home milled flour from your stored wheat grain.

Both of these additives are texture enhancements, except the vital wheat gluten which also adds physical energy and endurance to the human body from the added protein.

Do I use one?
Yes, Vital Wheat Gluten. Since my long term stored food stocks are under control, I have added the vital wheat gluten to my inventory. I regularly use vital wheat gluten in my bread recipes by adding 1 tablespoon per loaf of bread.

Dough Enhancer:
Ingredients: Whey, soy lecithin, tofu powder, citric acid, dry yeast, sea salt, spice blend, corn starch, ascorbic acid and natural flavor. Natural flavor? I didn't know you could add natural flavor!
Dough enhancer may help with texture and rise but I like things simple and chemical free as possible if I have a choice. So I don’t use the dough enhancer.

Vital Wheat Gluten:
Ingredients: Wheat grain, that's all!
Vital Wheat Gluten is simply wheat flour with most of the starch removed. It is a natural protein derived from wheat and is very concentrated. A great improvement when using home milled wheat grain. Vital Wheat Gluten added to your bread recipes will provide:
  • Traps the gases produced from the yeast enabling the dough to rise higher.
  • Makes bread chewy.
  • Adds protein.
  • Extends the shelf life of the bread.


  1. I've yet to use any wheat that I have to grind myself so for me this is a good tip. I like the texture of bread to be a little chewy and hold together. It's better for dipping like that.

    When I'm trying to get my Neanderthal on, dipping bread instead of using utensils works great!


  2. I have only been baking bread for a short time and I have been wondering about this. Very helpful info! Thanks. I will choose gluten.

  3. Anon,
    Gluten does help make the bread flexible, hold together and be chewy. It is not necessary for survival baking but if you can stock some it's worth it.

  4. Brenda,
    Glad to hear you’ve started baking your own bread! So few people do this and it’s a shame because it is one way of controlling the chemicals you eat. I’ve been baking my own bread at least every other weekend for the last 5 years. It does get addictive and after a while you’ll have it done in no time. It takes me just under 15 minutes from start to cleanup and everything put away. Then all I do is let it rise while doing other things.

    I’m sure you will notice the difference the gluten will make. Vital wheat gluten does make the bread flexible and chewy that’s especially noticeable when making sandwiches, burger and hot dog buns.

    Another thing I find very useful is a bread loaf slicing fixture and an electric knife. The fixture guides the knife blade so each slice is the same size and the electric knife cuts it very fast.

  5. Does a can of this wheat gluten need to be refrigerated or left on the shelf? Is it ok to get a case of this product, or better to get one at a time. (making 1-2 loaves a week). Thanks

  6. Anon 10:44
    Here's the information you're looking for.

    Honeyville's Vital Wheat Gluten can be used to greatly improve bakery products. It is the gluten in wheat flour that is responsible for the unique features of bread, which are not possible with other cereal flours. It is a concentrated protein that possesses a special visco-elastic property. As a functional protein, vital wheat gluten provides additional qualities to the dough when used in baked goods. Wheat flour contains some natural gluten but often not to the extent desired. Many baked goods benefit from the addition of wheat gluten. The effect on the bread is remarkable. Honeyville Vital Wheat Gluten is an ideal product for long term food storage and emergency preparedness.
    Shelf-Life: Vital Wheat Gluten will store for 7 to 10 years in a sealed #10 can (oxygen absorber included) under ideal storage conditions (cool, dry place). Once opened, it has an average shelf life of 6 to 12 months.
    Instructions: Depending on the quality of the flour, the recommended usage is between 3% and 5% of the total weight of the required amount of flour.
    Uses: Vital Wheat Gluten can be used in any recipe calling for flour, including breads, muffins, croissants and more.
    Packaging: Vital Wheat Gluten is sealed air tight in a #10 can and weighs approximately 3.5 pounds. A case contains 6 #10 cans and weighs 21 pounds. Each can contains 45 servings. One serving size is ¼ cup.
    Ingredients: Vital Wheat Gluten
    Allergen information: Contains Wheat. This product is produced on equipment that processes products containing soy, wheat, egg, peanut, and tree nuts.

  7. "Whey, soy lecithin, tofu powder, citric acid, dry yeast, sea salt, spice blend, corn starch, ascorbic acid and natural flavor. Natural flavor?"

    I will personally never use this additive because of all the soy. Tofu is made from soy.


Your thoughts are welcome!