A baking component that often gets pricey-- AP flour is usually cheap and you can get generic/storebrand; I've yet to see storebrand bread flour. I got a box of vital wheat gluten on the clearance pile at Giant-- you can find this stuff at health food stores and big grocery stores, or purchase in smaller bulk quantities online. This is really convenient for recipes that call for only a cup or two of bread flour without necessitating purchasing and storing an extra sack that costs around $5-6 just for 5 pounds! The proportion is all the same-- 1 tsp gluten to 1 cup flour. If making 1/2 cup, use 1/2 tsp.
- In a bowl, sift the proportional amounts of vital wheat gluten and AP flour together. If you have whole wheat flour, add a little bit (no more than 1/2 tsp-1 tsp or so per cup of AP flour) for nuttiness and substance as it adds to the weight that makes it better suited for bread and pretzel making.
I knew that my breads were missing something. Since trying this recipe and adding the gluten to my AP flour, I finally have excellent results. I have also used this method for pizza dough. I am able to purchase this product in the bulk section of my local grocery store. I have been told that the shelf life on this product is six months and because I only bake bread, buns etc. a few times a month, the bulk department seems to be best. I would only purchase it bulk if the store was reliable though, because one never knows how long the product would sit before it was purchased.
Having lived the majority of my life with no need to enhance my dough, I've changed my mind. Now, what other ingredient have I deemed unusable and may have a change of mind.
Seemed to work great for me. I hate buying bread flour because one bag is 2 recipes for the family size I have. It works better for me to buy a 25lb bag of AP flour and make my own bread flour every month when I need it. So far I've made french bread and bagels and they came out great.