What is Gluten Flour?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

There are several types of gluten flour, most derived from wheat. Gluten is a protein found abundantly in the endosperm of wheat that adds stickiness and sponginess to dough. When people cook with other whole grains, they may not have adequate gluten, and might need to use a bit of pure gluten in order to make breads and other baked goods lighter. There are a few ways to add extra gluten to dough, most of them employing some type of gluten flour to accomplish this.

Most breads contain gluten.
Most breads contain gluten.

Pure gluten flour or vital wheat gluten is flour that is treated so that wheat bran and starch are removed. This means it’s much lower in carbohydrates, and much higher in protein. A quarter cup (30g) of this flour can contain 23 grams of protein, though it’s seldom the case that you’ll use very much in a recipe. Gluten flour in small amounts is added to other whole grain flours, with some recipes calling for about a cup of it at most for a loaf of bread. It has become popular in low-carb foods because the removal of starch means only about 6 grams of carbohydrates remain in a quarter of a cup.

Gluten flour.
Gluten flour.

Another type of gluten flour is regular white or wheat flour with additional gluten added. This may be called high gluten or bread machine flour. The amounts of the wheat protein differ from brand to brand, but usually this type of flour contains about 12% protein. You can contrast this to the pure form, which is about 75% pure protein.

Most types of gluten flour are derived from wheat.
Most types of gluten flour are derived from wheat.

Many love using bread machine flour because it tends to result in much lighter and fluffier bread. Yet it’s not best if you’re trying to keep carbohydrates low. Though carbohydrate content is lower than in standard white flour, high gluten flour still holds about 54 grams of carbs per cup, as opposed to 24 grams of carbs per cup of pure gluten.

Almond flour contains no gluten.
Almond flour contains no gluten.

You’ll probably be able to find bread machine flour in most grocery stores. You may have to look a little harder to find pure or vital wheat gluten. Your local health food or natural foods store is usually the best bet, and you’ll probably even be able to find this in bulk form. You should note some people have sensitivity to wheat gluten, either in severe forms as with Celiac disease, or in mild forms. If people in your home seem not to tolerate wheat gluten well, you may need to stick to other less glutinous multi-grain flours.

Some gluten flours are traditional white flours that have been enriched with gluten to add extra protein.
Some gluten flours are traditional white flours that have been enriched with gluten to add extra protein.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


"A quarter cup (30g) of this flour can contain 23 grams of protein, though it’s seldom the case that you’ll use very much in a recipe. "

Have you heard of seitan? People eat half a cup per serving.


there is a high gluten flour and there is also a higher gluten flour and you can get pure vital gluten which can be added to the all purpose flour which contains 10 to 11 percent gluten only.In general we can make good breads and pastries using the last type of flour by adding a bread type conditioner.

If you want to make croissants like the one you might have eaten in Paris, then the story is different. A conditioner plus a smooth, high moderate gluten flour (12.5 percent gluten)is required.


a 25lb bag of high gluten flour is $8.99 at Gordon Food Service and a brick of yeast is on only $2.99. Makes excellent sandwich or specialty loaves of bread. We use all 25 pounds in one month, baking three times per week.


If you add only 1/4 cup wheat gluten to two cups bread flour, it makes it perfect. I also use a dough conditioner, two tablespoons per two cups flour, and my pizza dough and bread sticks are the bomb. Crispy outside, light and fluffy inside.


How long does wheat vital wheat gluten flour keep(stay fresh) in the refrigerator if stored in Tupperware? Mine is about six months old.


If I don't have vital wheat gluten but I do have bread machine flour and plan to make the rye bread in my bread machine, do I need to use the gluten?


Too much gluten flour in bread will make you think you are chewing on bread-flavored sponge rubber. A little goes a long way. High gluten flour is relatively expensive, so a baker would not want to use it unless necessary.


Makes it rubbery.


If gluten flour makes breads light and fluffy, why would a baker not want to use larger amounts in food? What does too much gluten do to bread?

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