My friend Tamara hosted a whole wheat breadmaking class today and shared some great information and recipes. If you have seen recipes (like those I included in my previous post) that call for “dough enhancer” or “vital wheat gluten” but aren’t familiar with these ingredients, this information is very helpful. Here is what Tamara shared:
Dough Enhancer or Dough Conditioner
This product improves the rise, taste, texture, color, crumb and shelf-life of whole grain breads. It contributes softness and lightness to breads.
How to make your own dough enhancer:
It’s best to use all three of these enhancers when making whole wheat bread.
Gluten: Use 1/2 Tbsp. – 1 Tbsp. per cup of flour (this means before you measure a cup of flour, place the measured gluten in the bottom of your cup and then measure the flour as usual). Gluten holds the air bubbles. It is a non-animal form of protein.
White Vinegar: Use the same amount of vinegar as the amount of yeast called for in the recipe (i.e., 1 tsp. yeast = 1 tsp. vinegar). Acid strengthens the bubbles.
Potato Flakes: Use 1/8 – 1/4 cup per loaf of bread you are making. Experiment to see what works best in your recipe. Do not substitute potato pearls for the flakes. They don’t dissolve as easily and add artificial flavoring to your breads. The starch in the potatoes adds an extra casing around the bubbles. The bran in the wheat is coarse and can pop or rupture the bubbles, so this helps maintain the fluffy texture of the bread.
Vital Wheat Gluten
Vital wheat gluten occurs naturally in all wheat and whieat derived white flours. Some white flours have more or less than others. In a dry form, it is used to give the yeast a boost because it contains a high amount of gluten forming proteins. 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.
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.