What Is Vital Wheat Gluten How To Use It And Gluten
You might have seen vital wheat gluten in the baking supply aisle of your health food market, or perhaps even in your local grocery store. If you arent familiar with this product, Ill try to break it down for you so you can understand what it is, how to use it, and where you can purchase it.
Wheat gluten is a flour-like powder that is primarily made up of gluten with some starch added. Gluten is the protein that is in certain grains including wheat, barley, and rye.
Gluten is present in or added to a variety of food products and recipes. It is responsible for the soft, chewy texture that is characteristic of yeast-risen bread. When gluten is heated it forms an elastic web that can stretch and trap gasses. This allows for optimal leavening or rising. It also gives certain foods a unique texture that is similar to a variety of animal protein based products.
Is Wheat Gluten Bad For You
First of all, if you are celiac or have a gluten sensitivity/allergy: yes, vital wheat gluten is bad for you and please dont use it.
If you dont have a gluten intolerance then, the opinions are mixed as with most things nowadays. Because I want you to be able to form an educated decision when it comes to your health and food choices, here is a summary of the benefits and downsides of vital wheat gluten:
Is it healthy? It’s a highly processed food so while we believe it’s safe to eat. We don’t recommend eating a lot of processed foods.
- High in protein .
- Excellent source of minerals .
- Low in carbs.
- Soy-free .
- Easy to cook with.
- Versatile, especially in the form of seitan.
- Its a highly processed food.
- May be bad for your gut.
- Unsuitable if you have a gluten sensitivity.
The bottom line is that, unless you are gluten intolerant, and if you pair it with a balanced diet of whole plant-based foods, vital wheat gluten can be a versatile protein-rich addition to your diet.
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Your baking recipe is missing Bobs Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten! This handy, protein-dense ingredient is essential for achieving the perfect dough. It helps to improve the texture and elasticity of doughs and gives more volume to bread once baked. Vital wheat gluten is often used by commercial bakeries to produce light textured bread, and can easily put the home bread baker on a par with the professionals. Vital wheat gluten is also a staple ingredient for meat and meat substitutes. It acts as a binder for meatballs, meatloaf, veggie burgers, and tofu alike. With so many uses, Vital Wheat Gluten is bound to be the most popular ingredient in your pantry!
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What Is Vital Wheat Gluten And How To Use It
Lets talk vital wheat gluten. Say what? Close. Sei-tan, actually thats the most commonly known use of vital wheat gluten, and it may ring a bell from your last nights Chinese takeaway.
Also known as wheat protein and wheat gluten, vital wheat gluten is like your normal wheat flour on steroids. It is made by hydrating the wheat flour to activate the gluten , and then processing it to remove everythingbut the gluten.
So while the plain flour you use to bake cakes and cookies contains both gluten and starch, the latter has been completely washed away in vital wheat gluten. After the processing, the gluten is dried and ground back into a powder.
Recommended Reading: Soy Free Gluten Free Protein Powder
Can You Eat Vital Wheat Gluten And Seitan If Youre Gluten Intolerant
If you are celiac or have a gluten sensitivity/allergy, you cannot eat vital wheat gluten. As its name suggests, its 100% gluten, which should ring some warning bells. To put it plainly: if youre intolerant to gluten, vital wheat gluten is just about the single worst thing you could consume. And the same goes for seitan.
However, there are gluten-free substitutes for vital wheat gluten and you can use those to make gluten-free seitan. You can find OrgraN gluten substitute on Amazon or at most health food stores with a gluten-free section.
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Vital Wheat Gluten Flour 623g
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Where Can I Buy Vital Wheat Gluten
You can find vital wheat gluten in most health food markets, such as Whole Foods Market and Fairway. You can easily find vital wheat gluten online through Amazon or directly from manufacturers. The most popular brands are Bobs Red Mill, Hodgson Mill, Anthonys, and Kate Naturals.
An unopened package will last for several years. Once opened, it will stay fresh in a sealed bag or jar for up to six months.
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Where To Buy Vital Wheat Gluten
- gluten prepared from wheat
- The protein remaining after wheat flour has been washed to remove starch. Gluten helps hold in the gas bubbles produced by leavening agents. This is why bread flours contain high levels of gluten and cake flours contain low levels.
- Wheat gluten, also called seitan , wheat meat, Mock Duck, gluten meat, or simply gluten, is a food made from the gluten of wheat. It is made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starch dissolves, leaving insoluble gluten as an elastic mass which is then cooked before being eaten.
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How To Cook Seitan
Just like meat, there are tons of ways you can cook seitan. I like to simmer it so that the flavor of the stock permeates and flavors the inside. My favorite way to finish it is to rip it into pieces then pan fry after its been simmered.
Steam: steaming creates a fluffy rise that has bubbles and aeration of the gluten. Its more dense than simmered seitan and not as juicy its good for searing or stir frying. Steaming is also slightly quicker than simmering.
Simmer: Simmering gives you a fluffy rise and lots of aeration of the gluten. It also has the added bonus of adding flavor to the seitan because you can season your broth. When youre simmering, be careful not to let it come to a boil because it will get overly puffy and lose the meaty texture youre looking for.
Deep fry: Deep frying gives you golden puffs that are airy and have a smooth texture when you cook it again. Pictured below.
What If I Cant Eat Gluten Here Are A Few Vital Wheat Gluten Substitutes
Many people are either gluten-intolerant or have an autoimmune condition, such as celiac disease, that precludes them from eating gluten without getting seriously ill. If that is your situation, then vital wheat gluten should not be consumed by you.
There are some suggested alternatives to vital wheat gluten. However, they dont behave in exactly the same way as this concentrated plant protein. Here are some you might want to experiment with:
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What Is Vital Wheat Gluten Used For
Vital wheat gluten is the main ingredient in seitan , which is a much loved meat substitute and has first appeared during the 6th century as an ingredient in Asian cuisine. To prepare seitan at home, you generally mix the vital wheat gluten in its powdered form with spices and water to form a dough.
When the gluten dough is steamed, baked, boiled or otherwise cooked, it becomes chewy with a very meat-like texture which is what makes seitan such a popular food choice in the vegan community.
Although seitan is made from vital wheat gluten, they are not one and the same. For example, if a recipe calls for vital wheat gluten, you cannot use seitan. Similarly, if a recipe requires seitan, you cant use vital wheat gluten in its place .
Vital wheat gluten can also be used as a binding agent, for instance in helping things like mushroom or chickpea burgers hold their shape .
Another popular use is in improving the crumb and the chewiness of a variety of breads, especially when using low-protein flours such as whole wheat or rye. Just a few tablespoons of vital wheat gluten can go a long way, and the result is a perfect loaf of bread!
Where Can I Find Vital Wheat Gluten In Canada
Im in Ontario & have had a hard time finding vital wheat gluten to make seitan. Ive checked bulk stores, health food stores and regular grocery stores. The health food places around here are trying to stay as gluten-free as possible, so Im not really sure where else to look. any suggestions?
I live in Toronto and I just went through this same thing turns out it is like baypuppy says, its called gluten flour up here. Once youre looking for the right name, its not too hard to find, at least in Toronto, especially in health food stores good luck!
I got gluten flour at the Bulk Barn so it is available in Ontario!
oh man. ok, I must have read a recipe where someone distinctly said it HAS to be VITAL wheat gluten! so no wonder, I didnt know it would be called anything else just assumed any other kind was for bread making or whatever. I will look again next time I go to the bulk barn. thanks guys!
i want to go to a store called bulk barn.
I agree Baypuppy! Sounds like heaven!!!
Bulk Barn IS heaven. I buy all my spices there because its so ridiculously cheap.
it IS pretty amazing. Id rather go to a place called Bulk barn than Dress barnhaha what a name for a dress place.
Bulk Barn IS heaven. I buy all my spices there because its so ridiculously cheap.
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How Do We Use It In Baking And Cooking
Glad you asked!
Baking with vital wheat gluten is great. Seriously.
If you’ve never tried it before..prepare to be amazed.
Vital wheat gluten offers a truly amazing chewy texture to baked goods and a fantastic elasticity to keto-friendly breads and crusts.
You can start by adding 1-2 tbsp in place of almond flour in one of your favourite low carb muffin or cookie recipes.
Then move on to making your own low carb breads by using vital wheat gluten for about 1/4 to 1/3 of the flour in your low carb bread recipe .
You can also use it to thicken sauces, create vegan-friendly low carb meat replacements and even in burgers and patties as a binding agent!
Where can I buy Vital Wheat Gluten?
You can buy it in a few places!
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