Making Sense of Gluten

Gluten is formed by two proteins - Gliadin and Glutenin (all the names sound like some family names instead of scientific terms) both these proteins are present in wheat flour and insoluble in water. But interesting fact is dry flour does not develop gluten on it's own, it requires water to activate gluten in the flour. Initially in the wet flour glutenin and gliadin are scattered but with thorough kneading these proteins are elongated and gluten strands stretch and develop further, so next time when you knead dough for bread just keep in mind more you kneed more gluten strands will be strong, bread will have great structure, texture and softness. If the gluten is not developed properly with kneading, dough will be weak and while baking bread will not rise properly.

Gluten is also responsible for trapping gases in the dough, so when well kneaded bread is put to bake, you can see how ell it's rising inside the oven, that is because gluten traps all the gases formed from yeast, baking powder or soda, so it is gluten working behind the scenes like balloon. This is how you get those much-appreciated beautiful air pockets in your bread. Lately, if you would have noticed there is a whole range of mock meats/vegetarian meats available in gourmet restaurants, Gluten is the only component giving those mock meats real meat like structure, so if you are Gluten allergic those mock meats are a big no - no for you.
 
These days many Gluten Free Flours are available in market - Buckwheat Flour, Amaranth Flour, Almond Flour, Teff Flour, which can be very innovatively for baking and cooking. So next time when somebody talk about Gluten allergy you could suggest much more to them rather than only sympathizing or while you knead dough for bread, recall in mind how those little protein strands of gluten coming together with your kneading.
 

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