Modern Wheat

Does modern wheat contain more gluten than ancient wheat? Yes. Through centuries of selective breeding, farmers have been able to alter the gluten content of wheat in order to create the enormous variety of wheat flours available today. Gluten produces a “tough” flour that, when made into dough, confers a stretchiness that is great for making bread.

Thus some bread flours have a gluten content close to 45%. Next in gluten content are flours made from hard wheat with gluten levels of 12.5-13.5%. All-purpose flour contains about 10-12% gluten and is actually a mix of high and low gluten wheat flours. Pastry flour contains about 9-10% gluten, and lastly, cake flour (made from soft wheat) is only about 7-9% gluten. Flour high in gluten content doesn’t make very good cakes as the cake would lose its soft, crumbly characteristics. To make good angel food cake, for example, requires flour with less than 5% gluten.