Yesterday I was talking to a friend and she asked me what gluten was.
I gave her a pretty simple answer- what causes bread to rise.
But, it is really more than that.
It is what makes dough stretchy.
It’s what gives cookies structure.
It is why bread rises so much. The yeast helps, but it needs gluten.
If your flour doesn’t contain gluten, the results are different.
To get the same effect, you may need to add more eggs or use a flax seed slurry, xantham gum, or guar gum to mimic the effects of gluten.
Gluten is made up of two proteins- the gliadins and the glutenins. When they come together, you end up with the texture you want in breads, cookies, and cake.
The protein gliadins is the major trigger for celiac disease.
There are three subtypes of gliadins.
They are a/B-gliadins, y-gliadins, and w-gliadins.
Glutenins are basically what causes the rising or structuring effect.
It adds in air and is why the crumb in your baked product is the way it is.
Wheat is the major producer of gluten.
The amount of gluten does vary from strain to strain of wheat.
The ancestors of modern wheat, emmer and einkorn, contain far less gluten.
Gluten is also present in barley, rye, bulgur, kamut, or triticale.
Oats do not contain gluten, but may be cross contaminated if processed in a facility where gluten products are being processed.