Any recommendations on where to buy high-gluten flour?
August 7, 2015 6:48 AM   Subscribe

Hi, I've recently started to make bagels at home. For best results, I need high-gluten flour. I'm sick of paying a lot in shipping costs when I buy from vendors on Amazon, but I also don't see that kind of flour in the grocery store. Can anyone recommend a cheaper online vendor they've used or suggest a local source or how I might find one? I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota (historically, the "Mill City," which makes me feel worse about paying to have flour mailed to my house.)
posted by Area Man to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Co-ops usually carry high-gluten flour. Seward, the Wedge, Linden Hills.
posted by correcaminos at 6:52 AM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Yeah, 2nding correcaminos coops, and sometimes other well stocked grocery stores will have it, but you might need to poke around for it in the bulk section. Also, anywhere that carries Bob's Red Mill in your neck of the woods should be able to just special order it for you. Most grocery stores that are above the lowest of low bars for customer service are usually pretty good about special orders.

Another track to take is to find just straight vital wheat gluten and mix it in with your lower-gluten flower to produce the ratio you want. This might require a bit more experimentation, but once you get it down, its pretty painless. I do the same thing for some high-gluten noodles I need to make, and sometimes to compensate for using flavorful, but gluten-less flours in doughs (I'm looking at YOU rye!!!).

That stuff can be found just about everywhere, but I've had really good luck finding vital wheat gluten it at asian markets…and honestly, even at the shittier grocery stores around me. The aforementioned coops will totally have it. And, its available a couple different ways on amazon prime for pretty cheap (since its such a smaller package than just a ton of flour).
posted by furnace.heart at 7:06 AM on August 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

You can achieve the same protein effect by mixing a few tablespoons of vital wheat gluten into regular flour. Bob's Red Mill makes a vwg and has great market share--we have an entire wall of Bob's Red Mill products at my non-specialty/non-national chain grocery store. You ought to be able to find it locally.
posted by phunniemee at 7:07 AM on August 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

Have you tried ordinary "Better for Bread" flour? It is higher in gluten than all-purpose and works really well for me.
posted by Mchelly at 7:15 AM on August 7, 2015

At the risk of sounding patronizing - you know that's the same as bread flour, right? Any decent chain store carries it.
posted by O9scar at 7:16 AM on August 7, 2015

How high are you looking for? King Arthur Flour is somewhat higher-protein than other brands, and several of their flours are commonly available in grocery stores.
posted by mchorn at 7:18 AM on August 7, 2015

Bread flour and high gluten flour are NOT the same thing. Yes, bread flour has more gluten than AP flour, but it's still less than high gluten flour (at least in the case of King Arthur which is what I use). I can tell the difference between them when I'm making bagels.

This doesn't answer the OP's question, but I just wanted to make sure he isn't lead astray...
posted by primethyme at 7:30 AM on August 7, 2015 [4 favorites]

Agreeing with everyone else, "high-gluten flour" is labeled "bread flour" or something similar in the store. Any additional gluten you need, like if you're doing whole-wheat bread or something with an alternative flour that is lower in gluten than wheat flour, can be provided by vital wheat gluten. I've lived in places where vwg was available in a bulk section, but Bob's Red Mill is widely available.
posted by LionIndex at 7:31 AM on August 7, 2015

Actually, primethyme is correct - bread flour has a slightly lower percentage of protein than high gluten flour.
posted by LionIndex at 7:34 AM on August 7, 2015

Another suggestion to add vital wheat gluten, I use a scant tablespoon per pound of all purpose flour FWIW.
posted by werkzeuger at 8:25 AM on August 7, 2015

The supermarkets here in Denver carry "Hungarian High Altitude Flour" that has more gluten. I don't know if that is a thing in cities at lower elevations, but you could maybe ask the grocery store to stock it (most managers are happy to order special requests like that)!
posted by cakebatter at 8:45 AM on August 7, 2015

To clarify, I'm aware that bread flour has a higher protein percentage than all-purpose (the difference varies by brand), but I'm looking for something a bit higher than normal bread flour. I like the bagels to have some real chewiness.

I didn't see HG flour the last time I visited a co-op (Lakewinds), but I'll check out a couple others or try the vital wheat gluten trick.
posted by Area Man at 9:27 AM on August 7, 2015

You want a high-gluten flour, but you don't necessarily need a flour labelled "high-gluten". Gluten content in bread flours can vary quite a bit between different flours and brands. Luckily, the nutritional information tells you the amount of protein in the flour, which is close enough to the gluten content for most purposes. So just check bread flour bags until you find one with 14% protein or whatever level suits you. I'd imagine in your area that shouldn't be very hard to find (high-gluten grain being common in the Northern US and Canada).
posted by ssg at 12:05 PM on August 7, 2015

If you don't have luck at the coops and want to buy local, Sunrise Flour Mill is local and might have a higher protein/gluten blend. (They have a pizza flour which should run 14%'ish protein.)
posted by nathan_teske at 1:22 PM on August 7, 2015

add vital wheat gluten

I do this too. Cub in the Twin Cities is fairly good about carrying the Hodgson Mill brand in the small boxes. They vary between keeping it in the regular baking aisle versus the "health foods" area.
posted by gimonca at 3:59 PM on August 7, 2015

In the past I used King Arthur bread flower to make bagels. As others have said, it's the highest gluten of most common brands. They came out delish, but if you are looking for even more gluten, my only advice (besides ordering it straight from king arthur, and yes prepare to spend extra $$ on it), is to add vital wheat gluten.
posted by Phredward at 4:16 PM on August 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

I run the production at a fancy high-end bakery and we’re happy to sell through a bag of flour when customers request it (even at 100% mark up it’s still way cheaper than buying at the grocery store). Downside is that bakeries are only going to sell full 50# bags so you might want to split one with a friend or two. I don’t think they sell outside of the PNW, but if you can get your hands on Sheperd’s Grain Hi-Gluten you’ll never look back.
posted by nenequesadilla at 6:52 PM on August 14, 2015

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