1919 Farwell & Rhines Gluten Flour Advertisement

Advertisement for Gluten Flour
Source: American Cookery (February, 1919)

I often learn new things from doing this blog. For example, today I noticed a small advertisement in a hundred-year-old magazine for Farwell & Rhines Gluten Flour. Since some people have health issues that require them to go gluten free (or at least minimize their use of gluten), I was surprised to see high gluten promoted. How did cooks in 1919 use this flour?  . . . Did they mix it with other flours? Use if for bread making?

Gluten is a protein. Flours with higher gluten content rise better when making breads. According to SFGate, all-purpose flour typically contains 11-12% gluten. Bread flour is considered a high gluten flour, and it contains up to 13% gluten. Cake flours only have 7-8% gluten. There are also products sold that are just called “gluten.” Gluten is sometimes added to other flours to increase the gluten content when making bread.

18 thoughts on “1919 Farwell & Rhines Gluten Flour Advertisement

    1. My impression is that gluten increases the elasticity of dough and that this traps more air bubbles which makes bread rise higher, whereas cake flour makes baked goods lighter and more crumbly.

  1. My father had hepatitis in the late 50s and was on a low flour diet. (Among other restrictions.) Flour with gluten made a roll that was virtually all crust, weighed almost nothing but could be spread with jam to eat.

  2. A high gluten flour would have been great for mixing with buckwheat, rye, or other flours when making bread. I think pizza dough is supposed to use a high gluten flour as well. I buy gluten to make a protein product called seitan, and sometimes I will through in a tablespoon in with my all purpose flour when making bread.

  3. Thanks to your comment, I think that I’m finally beginning to understand why this advertisement was in the 1919 magazine. This was right after the end of World War I, and during the war many people were trying to minimize their use of wheat flour so it could be sent overseas for the troops. There are lots of recipes from that era that call for buckwheat flour, rye flour or barley flour – and I bet cooks were adding a little high gluten wheat flour to those recipes to improve the quality of the baked goods.

    Seitan was also new too me until I read your comment, and it me sent me off to googling “seitan” to learn more about it.

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