Happy Friday and hooray for the weekend!
Today’s tip might be a little controversial, but here it goes: stop buying expensive bread flour, and just “hack” your AP flour by adding some Vital Wheat Gluten. This might be a grievous sin to a professional bread baker with proper training, but it works for me and saves a good deal of money. Bread flour is expensive, so I stopped buying it and found an alternative.
Since I live at high altitude I need to use bread flour in pretty much anything made with yeast. AP flour just doesn’t cut it, unless I want a loaf of bread with giant air pockets and/or gaping craters. Bread flour is basically flour with a high protein content. Some whole-wheat flours are like that, but I’m still not willing to use whole-wheat flour in everything s since it tastes like cardboard to me. So instead I use all-purpose flour and add Vital Wheat Gluten. And though it took a while to figure out the correct ratios for various recipes, I now have a system that works very well and is economical too.
Vital Wheat Gluten is pure wheat protein. I figured that adding it to AP flour would increase the protein amount enough to work like bread flour. And it does! A little bit of Vital Wheat Gluten goes a long way and I can have high protein flour whenever I need it. The amount of Gluten I need to add depends on the recipe, but in general I’ve found that adding approximately 1 Tablespoon per 6 cups of AP flour works well for me. I use a bit more Gluten in things like pizza crust and bagels, and a little less in things like cinnamon rolls. While it may not be the “right” way to do things, it works for me and my budget is much happier.
Do you have any “hacks” for expensive ingredients?