Gluten refers to a group of proteins found in some, but not all, cereals. These cereals include wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye). The two main proteins of gluten are called gliadin and glutenin.
Gluten is needed for many baked goods. If you mix water with flour, gluten provides the sticky dough texture. Gluten forms a net that holds water inside the structure. Gliadin allows the dough to rise during baking and fermentation by trapping air, which throws bubbles. Glutenin gives the dough strength and elasticity. The more the dough is kneaded, the stronger the gluten mesh will be, allowing the light and crumbly texture of the finished product to become firmer. Therefore, prolonged kneading is desirable with bread, but not with cakes. Without gluten, the properties valued in baked goods are usually lost.
What exactly has gluten?
Gluten, also called glue or adhesive protein, gives many cereals their excellent baking properties. Pastry varieties get a fluffy consistency and a tasty crust.
However, gluten also causes negative headlines. Certain protein molecules can complicate the digestive process and trigger symptoms of gluten intolerance. People with celiac disease also suffer from chronic hypersensitivity to gluten. To make matters worse, many finished products often contain gluten in a hidden form. But there are gluten-free alternatives that taste good.
What is gluten?
Gluten is also known as glue or adhesive protein. The name actually suggests that gluten is composed exclusively of a protein molecule, which is not entirely true. In fact, gluten is a whole protein mixture. This is contained in many cereal grains. In high concentration it is found in wheat, closely followed by spelt and rye. However, gluten is also contained in modified form in other cereals such as oats and spelt.
Speaking of the name: the word gluten is similar to the word glutamate, which is why sometimes it seems that these are related substances. In fact, from a nutritional point of view, gluten and glutamate have nothing to do with each other. Gluten is a natural protein that is found in many domestic cereals. Glutamate is the salt of glutamic acid. It is mainly used as a flavor enhancer in condiments and ready meals.
Back to gluten. What does gluten consist of in detail? Gluten consists of protein molecules of the so-called glutelins and prolamines. To make it a bit more complicated: prolamin is the collective name for gliadin and glutenin, also two specific protein types.
What is gluten and why is it harmful?
Is gluten good for health?
What is gluten in simple terms?