Homemade Bread Flour – When you’re out of bread flour you can make your own substitute with just 2 ingredients and following a no-fail formula!
I live and die by Bread Flour. I easily have 100lbs of it on hand at any given moment. I know it sounds like a lot but I do a TON of baking for home and commercial use so it makes sense.
I love bread. No, really. I LOVE bread. I swear there is nothing better than a warm slice of freshly baked bread with butter and homemade preserves on it. This many-a-night has been dinner for me.
Ingredients needed to make homemade bread flour
It’s just 2 ingredients:
- American All-Purpose Flour
- Vital Wheat Gluten
That’s it! Nowadays most grocery stores carry the vital wheat gluten but if not, Amazon sells it.
As I mentioned this is for American All-Purpose flour as Canadian all-purpose flour is already had a high protein percentage similar to our bread flour.
What is Vital Wheat Gluten?
It’s the natural protein found in wheat. It’s found in the endosperm of the wheat berry. This, alone, contains 75-80% of the protein. What protein does in the dough helps with the elasticity of it, the rise (it’ll help it retain gas), and gives it more volume. Plus it helps give that ‘chew’ we love in say a crusty bread.
As you can tell on here I have a bunch of bread recipes that call for bread flour. Well, not every home cook has bread flour on hand. Just like cake flour and self rising flour, you buy it specifically for a single recipe and then it sits. Why? To me, that’s wasting money ESPECIALLY when you can make it yourself using All-Purpose flour.
Not all American All-Purpose Flour is the same
Depending on what brand of AP flour you buy, the protein in it can vary from brand to brand. The percentage can range from 9-12%. Bread flour is anywhere from 11-14/15%
You REALLY need to check the bag of flour you buy as you’ll need to know the protein percentage of your flour in order to know how much vital wheat gluten to add!
I need to give a HUGE thanks to Robin who gave me one of the BEST formulas to help calculate how must Vital Wheat Gluten to add to your all-purpose flour.
Protein Percentage – what it is and what it is not
As I just mentioned, not all flour protein percentages are the same.
What it is NOT
The Protein Percentage is NOT the nutritional protein on the back of the flour bag (where you see calories and so forth). That is completely different.
What it IS
Normally the flour bag itself will say what protein percentage it is. For example, King Arthur All-Purpose Flour says on the bag that it is 11.7% protein content. THAT is the number you need for your formula.
If your brand of flour does not list it on the bag then contact the manufacturer or look on Google. Since there are hundreds of brands out there I cannot tell you your %. Keep in mind though, the average protein content is 9% for all purpose flour.
Bread Flour Formula
You have to use math but this will ensure you’re adding the right amount of vital wheat gluten to make your own bread flour.
(Average Bread Flour Protein – AP Flour protein) * 1% (recipe flour amount in grams) = Amount of Vital Wheat Gluten to add
Bread flour can vary in protein however a good one is 12% protein.
- Look at your bread recipe and, calculate in grams how much flour your recipe calls for.
- My Hoagie Roll recipe calls for 448 grams of bread flour and the protein count (per the bag is 12%)
- AP Flour average is 9% protein
- Using the above formula, if I only had AP flour on hand I would use the following vital wheat gluten to add to my recipe
- (12-9) *4.48 = 13.44 grams of Vital Wheat Gluten or 1 Tbl plus 2.75 tsp
Making Bread Flour in Bulk
Many of you have asked if you can use this formula to transform a 5 pound or larger back of all-purpose flour into bread flour.
I do not recommend it and here’s why.
This formula is to use in a single recipe where it’s to make 1-2 loaves of bread, not for bulk processing or batch making. Scaling a recipe is not as simple as doubling the ingredients or timesing them by 10. It doesn’t that work that way. There are other calculations and factors that come into play.
Some know it as “Bakers Percentages”. That is not something I or this formula addresses.Print
- Your bread recipe
- American All Purpose Flour – you must know the protein percentage amount of it (look at your bag of flour)
- Vital Wheat Gluten
- Calculate the flour needed in your bread recipe to grams.
- Look at the bag of AP flour and see what the protein % is.
- Use THIS formula to calculate how much vital wheat gluten you need:
- (Average Bread Flour Protein – AP Flour protein) * 1% (recipe flour amount in grams) = Amount of Vital Wheat Gluten to add
Keywords: bread flour, vital wheat gluten, how to make bread flour, turning US AP flour into bread flour
Tough, huh? *wink*