I would like to make whole wheat bread, but can I use whey protein powder in place of vital wheat gluten? If so, how much whey protein? Thx
The short answer is No, if the reason you want to substitute it for vital wheat gluten is to make your WW bread rise loftier and less dense. Whey protein is the kind of protein in milk. If you are wanting to use it to increase the nutritional content of your bread, it will do that, but it is no substitute for the gluten in wheat flour.
The long answer would be VERY long. And mostly boring. With a lot of experimentation and practice you can learn to make 100% WW bread without any additives at all—just whole wheat flour, either commercial or homegrown yeast (often referred to as “sourdough yeast), some kind of liquid and salt, and it will have a pretty good rise and not be too dense.
Unless you have a particular reason for beginning your breadmaking using nothing except WW flour, the quickest and easiest way to learn is to start with a recipe that uses a mix of white flour and whole wheat flour, either all purpose or bread flour, at least 50/50. Discover how that turns out and then decrease the proportion of white flour little by little until you reach a texture and taste you are happy with. The most important thing of all is do you love to eat the bread you make, No matter what ingredients you use.
You can add about a tsp of wheat gluten per cup of whole wheat flour and see how you like the result. There’s nothing artificial about vital wheat gluten. Some people like to use it and some people don’t. There was a time in the evolution of “health food” trends when folks made bread entirely from nearly pure wheat gluten—you can probably still find recipes for it. Breadmaking trends go in and out of fashion like anything else.
So plunge right in and no worrying about right or wrong. Have fun.
Cheers and best wishes
Thank you very much for the quick response and information. I have a 50/50 loaf of bread rising in the bread machine now. Hope it comes out.
I agree with kmollyone234’s post. My suggestion would be to simply skip the addition of the gluten. Most of the breads that I bake are 75% whole grain/25% AP flour @ 75% hydration. With that formula, I mix all of the whole wheat flour and all of the water and let it stand for a couple of hours (autolyse) before adding the starter (15%), and the AP flour, with the salt (2%) blended into the AP. The result is denser than an all white flour loaf. But, it still produces an acceptable loaf with reasonable spring and a decent crumb. It just doesn’t have as many of the larger holes.