The percentage of protein in a particular flour determines its suitability for baking bread. The protein in wheat flour forms gluten when liquid is added. The gluten forms strands that support the expansion of the dough and traps the gases yeast forms as the dough rises. The more gluten, the stronger the dough and the better its ability to expand and form a crispy, chewy crust. Bread flour generally contains 12%-14% protein versus the 9%-11% protein found in all-purpose flour. It is relatively easy to convert all-purpose flour into bread flour by adding vital wheat gluten, which is available in most health food stores.
Determine the cups of flour called for in the bread recipe.
For each cup of bread flour required, put 1 teaspoon of vital wheat gluten into the cup and fill the remainder with all-purpose flour.
Sift the flour into the mixing bowl or mixing surface to distribute the vital wheat gluten and proceed with the rest of the recipe.