high protein, wheat protein isolate, baking, dough conditioner

Clean label. Functional food. Natural products. In the slurry of food buzzwords, these are determined to stay at the top. As food producers and bakers, it’s up to us to juggle these preferences while still making quality products. One ingredient that fits the bill: wheat protein isolates.

What are wheat protein isolates?

During the wet-processing of wheat flour, two products emerge: starch and gluten. The gluten, known as vital wheat gluten, is high in protein – around 75%. The gluten is then processed further to produce wheat protein isolates, providing a range of functional benefits.1

While whey and soy proteins are ingredients commonly included in beverages and sport products to add protein, many other protein sources are available. Manildra developed the Gem Pro Ultra wheat protein isolate with that intended use. Wheat, a protein high in glutamine, can therefore be added to the ever-growing high-protein category of foods.

However, we began to consider how wheat protein isolate would work in baked goods such as cookies and cakes, or in dough systems. Here’s what we found.

Top 3 reasons to use wheat protein isolates in baking

It improves dough

GemPro Ultra is a natural dough conditioner that acts as a reducing agent, reducing mix times, increasing extensibility and assisting with pan flow. It does more than just hold its own against other reducing agents. We compared loaf volume between bread made with GemPro Ultra, L-Cysteine and other commercial dough relaxers:

Treatment Control Height (in) GemPro Ultra at .25%
Height (in)
GemPro Ultra at 1%
Height (in)
L-Cysteine at 40 ppm
Height (in)
Natural Commercial Dough Relaxer at .25%
Height (in)
6 minutes 4.574 4.888 4.493 4.294
8 minutes 4.324 4.513 4.375

It’s a clean-label substitute for L-cysteine

L-cysteine has historically been used as a dough conditioner to break down disulfide bonds. However, there has been public pushback against the additive. It can be synthesized from a number of things, including duck feathers and human hair2 – ingredients that can be off-putting to consumers. Gem Pro Ultra wheat protein isolate is an organic solution that can be labeled as an ingredient consumers will more easily recognize and accept.

It boosts protein

Natural food is one thing. Food that significantly adds nutrition takes it to a whole new level. GemPro Ultra can create products with up to 10g of protein per serving. That’s no small amount! To reach this level, GemPro Ultra can be used alone or with Manildra’s other wheat protein isolates to obtain the best flavor and texture. Since both proteins are wheat based, they work together harmoniously to increase the final protein content.

To stay in tune with consumer demands, it’s crucial to be adaptive with the ingredients we add to formulas. With all the benefits of wheat protein isolates, it’s an easy change to make.


  1. Bakerpedia. “Gluten | Baking Ingredients.” https://bakerpedia.com/ingredients/gluten/.
  2. Baking Association of Canada. “L-CYSTEINE,” http://www.baking.ca/Food%20and%20Nutrition%20Policy%20Revised/L-cysteine.pdf.