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Saturday, March 24, 2012

What Is Gluten?

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.

In Going Gluten Free part 1 & part 2, I gave you a general idea of what you need to know to be gluten free.
Now,I am going to tell you what gluten is.

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.

16 comments:

  1. Thanks for this informative post! Last week, a truck driver delivering a load at my workplace told me that he went on a gluten-free diet and it helped to control his joint pain and swelling immensely. :-) I am going to check out the linked posts too. :-)

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  2. You are welcome. I am experimenting with cutting out gluten. So far, I am feeling good.

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  3. Hi Ruth .. is the one you'll be doing for the A - Z?

    You followed me - but didn't leave a comment and I've only just been able to comment on embedded comment boxes via the IE plug in (within Chrome) ..

    Love food though - so I'll be interested to see what you're posting about ..

    Cheers - I came via Karen Walker's blog .. spotted your Avatar and thought I must 'do' something! See you next week .. Hilary

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    1. Sorry, I normally try to comment. I've been trying to get around to all the A-Z blogs and didn't leave many that day.
      Thanks for stopping by and the follow.

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  4. Interesting! I've got friends who are gluten-free, and I've meant to look further into it, but haven't had the chance yet.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

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    1. It's so much easier to be gluten free than in the past. So many other flours are available to cook with and more recipes to cook with.

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  5. I'm stopping by to say hello before the A-Z challenge begins. Are you going to use recipes as your theme for the challenge? I'm a new follower here :)

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    1. Hi Martha. My theme is recipes, yes. That is mostly what I post these days. I used to do more cooking tips, but the recipes seem to do better so I usually stick with those. Thanks for the follow. I just became a follower of yours.

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  6. Ah that's interesting. I've always wondered. :-)

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  7. Amazing post! I came across your blog via the A-Z Challenge. I now follow your blog :) Please check mine out over at yadinbromberg.blogspot.com

    Good luck with A-Z!!!
    -Yadin

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    1. Thank you, Yadin! I will be over to check out your blog. :)

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  8. I HAVE CUT BACK ON MY GLUTEN INTAKE AND NOTICED QUITE A BIT OF DIFFERENCE.

    LON

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  9. Oh how interesting. I happened across your blog on the A-Z but I have just gone gluten-free (and trying sugar-free and dairy-free at same time, yikes!) and didn't really know what it was! Thanks for this. Will be back for a longer perusal of your site.

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    1. That's a lot all at once. Good luck!

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