What is Gluten?
Gluten is becoming a mainstream topic these days, with gluten-free diets becoming increasingly popular. But what is gluten and why is it important?
Plain and simple, gluten is a protein. This protein is found in wheat, rye, and barley. (It’s also found in triticale. Triticale is a relatively new grain – it is most similar to wheat, but can be grown more like rye. So some people just consider it part of the wheat family.) Any food that has wheat, rye, barley, or triticale in the ingredients list will contain gluten.
To get a little more complicated (but not much, don’t worry), gluten is one big protein that is a combination of two little proteins. These little proteins are called glutenin and gliadin. When flour gets wet (like with water when you’re making dough), glutenin and gliadin combine to make gluten. The gluten is activated by the water and by kneading.
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