Why is extra gluten needed in some breads?

Extra gluten is usually added to bread recipes due to either a large number of ingredients in the recipe which don’t contain gluten or because of the addition of ingredients which contain coarser particles.

If bread contains a high amount of ingredients that don’t contain gluten, then the overall amount of gluten in the recipe is diluted. This will ultimately affect the structure of the end bread product. Ingredients such as bran or germ can have this affect as can non flour ingredients such as fats or liquids. Adding extra gluten ensures that the gluten network is strong enough to hold up these extra components. This is a common practice in the manufacture of Variety breads due to the large amount of non gluten containing ingredients.

The addition to bread of large coarse particles such as bran or seeds can weaken the dough structure physically, as these larger particles can upset the gluten structure. Again extra gluten can prevent any structural problems with the bread occurring.  Also bread requiring extra volume such as Vienna loaves may require extra gluten, especially if the flour is weak.

Types of bread that may need extra gluten are: wholemeal bread, high fibre bread, corn bread, hearth breads and mixed grain bread.