Are you a vegan trying to increase your protein intake? Tired of the same old beans and lentils? Well, in that case, you should definitely give seitan a try! Seitan is a great meat substitute for vegans as it is packed with protein!
One of the main ingredients in seitan and various bread is vital wheat gluten. If you are having trouble finding it, this article is definitely worthwhile. This article will help you know the best substitutes for vital wheat gluten. So don’t cancel those plans of making seitan or even some good old bread at home!
Now the question is, what are the best substitutes for vital wheat gluten? The best vital wheat gluten substitutes are xanthan gum, guar gum, pregel starch, protein powder, and eggs.
Although, before we get to the best vital wheat gluten substitutes, how about I tell you a little more about vital wheat gluten? This will definitely help you understand how to use it better in your recipes!
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Quick Peek: Vital Wheat Gluten
This section will help you understand what vital wheat gluten is, its flavor and texture, use, and nutritional values. Read on to know all about it!
What Is Vital Wheat Gluten?
Vital wheat gluten is a super-powered flour that is all gluten. It isn’t technically flour, but it is made from wheat flour. It is very rich in protein and has a very minimal amount of starch.
Vital wheat gluten is made by hydrating wheat flour to activate the gluten. Once processed, everything but the gluten is removed from it. Then it is dried and ground back into a powder. However, it is different from gluten flour as it contains a much higher amount of protein than it.
Describing Vital Wheat Gluten: Flavor And Texture
Vital wheat gluten is available in a powdered form. It has to be combined with water to make seitan and added in its original powder form to baking recipes.
Vital wheat gluten has a very mild, flour-like taste. It can be combined easily with various flavorings and spices to get the desired flavor.
Uses Of Vital Wheat Gluten
Vital wheat gluten is mainly used to make the meat alternative seitan for vegans. It is also used in various baking recipes. While making seitan, the vital wheat gluten powder is mixed with spices and water to form a dough.
When the dough is baked, boiled, or cooked in any other form, the dough becomes chewy in texture like meat. This is due to the high amount of gluten in vital wheat flour. It gives a product that has a similar texture and taste to meat. Hence, it is very popular amongst vegans.
Moreover, it is added to various bread recipes, especially flour with lower gluten content. The addition of vital wheat gluten gives the bread a better crumb and chewy texture. It can also be used as a binding agent in various recipes.
Vital Wheat Gluten On The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope
Vital wheat gluten is an excellent source of protein. This is because the powder contains mainly gluten, a form of protein. It has barely any amount of starch. Moreover, it is low in carbohydrates and fats.
Vital wheat gluten is a great source of iron too. About 30 grams or ¼ th cup of vital wheat gluten contains 120 calories, almost all from protein.
However, the one downside to it is that it is extremely processed food. So consuming it every day might not be the best idea. Moreover, since it is all gluten, it cannot be eaten by people with celiac disease.
That was a lot of information on vital wheat gluten! I am sure by now; you must be eagerly waiting to know the substitutes. So, let me quickly tell you all about the best vital wheat gluten substitutes without further ado.
8 Best Vital Wheat Gluten Substitutes
The best substitutes you could use if you cannot find vital wheat gluten are given below. The substitute list will also help you with how much and how exactly you can find each substitute.
1. Xanthan Gum
Xanthan gum is a vital ingredient in baking. It adds a chewy texture to bread and other baked goods, especially gluten-free recipes. That makes it a great substitute for vital wheat gluten.
Xanthan gum is the most common additive in gluten-free doughs and batters. It also makes a great thickening agent and emulsifier. For any recipe that calls for vital wheat gluten, use your flour as a substitute with 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum for every cup of flour.
2. Guar Gum
Guar gum is an extract of the guar bean. It is a vital ingredient in baking, just like xanthan gum. It helps doughs maintain their structure, making it a great substitute for vital wheat gluten.
Guar gum, however, does not provide as much elasticity in the dough as vital wheat gluten does. Still, it is a great substitute for recipes with a smaller amount of flour.
Adding guar gum will give a great structure without adding vital wheat gluten. Just like xanthan gum, you will need one teaspoon of guar gum for every one cup of flour to give it a chewy, sturdy texture.
3. Protein Powder
Vital wheat gluten is a great source of protein. However, while thinking of a substitute for it when you want to increase your amount of protein intake, protein powder works best!
Unflavored protein powder is easily available and makes a great substitute in baked goods and seitan. Protein powder, along with adding more protein than vital wheat gluten, will also give your food a great structure.
Eggs carry a great amount of protein and give structure to many baked products. This makes them a great substitute for vital wheat gluten.
Eggs, however, may not be the best substitute in bread dough for vital wheat gluten. They don’t provide the same elasticity as vital wheat gluten does. However, they provide extra moisture and work well in gluten-free recipes.
Eggs also will not work if you are looking for a substitute for vital wheat gluten to make seitan. This is because eggs aren’t a part of a vegan diet.
However, if you are looking for a substitute in a baking recipe, you can use eggs in place of vital wheat gluten. Use one egg for every tablespoon of vital wheat gluten.
5. Pregel Starch
Pregel starch is basically starch that’s been precooked and dried. This is to enhance its thickening and water absorption capacity at lower temperatures.
Pregel starch helps maintain structure and elasticity, especially in baked goods. This makes it a great substitute for vital wheat gluten. It also works well in making faux meats. You can use 1 teaspoon of pregel starch for every one cup of flour.
6. Whey Protein
Whey protein is a great protein source and helps add structure to various baked goods. This makes it a great substitute for vital wheat gluten. However, since it does not contain gluten, it won’t really add elasticity to baked products.
Although, you can use the same amount of whey protein as vital wheat gluten in any recipe as a substitute. Just make sure you add ½ teaspoon of xanthan gum to your recipe, as it will help with thickening.
7. High Gluten Flour
High gluten flour contains equal amounts of gluten and flour, making its gluten content higher than regular flour. Considering that, it makes a great substitute for vital wheat gluten.
You can use high gluten flour in baking and vegan meats. It will easily provide the desired structure and elasticity that your product needs. While using it as a substitute for vital wheat gluten, use double the amount than the amount of vital wheat gluten that the recipe calls for.
8. Bread Flour
Bread flour generally contains a much higher gluten content than regular flour. This is why it helps give elasticity and structure to various foods, making it a great substitute for vital wheat gluten.
It works especially well for bread recipes and is very easily available in the market. While using it as a substitute for vital wheat gluten, substitute the flour in the recipe with bread flour. This will help give your dough the desired structure and sufficient amount of gluten.
Those were some great substitutes for vital wheat gluten! However, are you still confused about which substitute would work best? For that, I have broken it down further for you.
Most Suitable: High gluten flour is the most suitable substitute for vital wheat gluten in baking and making faux meat.
Easily Available: Eggs are the most easily available substitute for vital wheat gluten.
Best Flavor Profile: Using xanthan gum as a substitute for vital wheat gluten would give the best flavor and texture profile.
I hope this article has helped you find the perfect substitute for vital wheat gluten. Not all substitutes will work for making faux meat. However, most of them will. If you plan to make bread, any of these substitutes will work well!
One important thing to remember while using vital wheat gluten is extremely processed. So consuming it every day might not be too good for your gut. However, if you consult a medical professional about the same, and they give you a thumbs up, it will add a great amount of protein to your diet!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Is vital wheat gluten the same as high gluten flour?
Vital wheat gluten contains almost no amount of starch, whereas high gluten flour does have starch content. Hence, they are different from each other.
Is vital wheat gluten the same as seitan?
Seitan is a type of faux meat, made with vital wheat gluten. Hence, they are two different things.
Is vital wheat gluten unhealthy?
Vital wheat gluten contains a high amount of protein, making it very healthy.
What does vital wheat gluten do?
Vital wheat gluten produces a strong gluten network, making products elastic and gives them a great structure.
Can I add vital wheat gluten to all purpose flour?
Yes, you can add vital wheat gluten to all purpose flour to increase the gluten content.