Home Bread-Bakers v098.n018.3

FW: Digest bread-bakers.v098.n016

Mitch Smith <smithm@mvp.net>
Mon, 23 Feb 1998 23:03:21 -0600
bbriscoe@runestone.net (Bonnie Briscoe) wrote:

>In the bread bakers digest, you wrote:
>>It is important to remember that =
>>flour itself does not contain gluten, only proteins which, when mixed =
>>with water or a liquid, are capable of forming hydrates which then =
>>=3Donly=3D become gluten when properly kneaded.

>I'm not sure I agree with this.  It has been my understanding that gluten
>is a naturally occurring component of the wheat berry (and it occurs to a
>lesser extent in oats, rye, and barley....

Bonnie, thanks for your question. While I've already addressed your
question with a private reply, here is the answer for the others:

...thanks for your reply. I can understand your confusion on 
this issue since many popular cookbooks and TV cooking shows 
are really quite careless with their cooking and food terminology. 
By way of reference, my wife is a Registered Dietitian and also 
attended the Cordon Bleu cooking school many years ago, and 
I've been a very active bread baker for over 20 years now.

If you consult a good college textbook on the subject ("Foundations 
of Food Preparation" by Gladys Peckham, for example) you'll 
find out that the protein present in wheat berries are the amino 
acids glutenin and gliaden. There is no substance known as 
"gluten" present in the berry itself. Glutenin is a water soluable 
amino acid belonging to the glutelin class of proteins present 
in the berry's endosperm. At such time that water or another 
liquid is added to the ground wheat, this amino acid dissolves. 
As you knead the dough, these dissolved proteins link together 
to form a long, elastic net. It is this elastic net which is known 
as gluten.

Think of it as "cement" versus "concrete." Cement is just a gray 
powder of ground up stone that would blow away in a strong 
wind. However, when water is added and it is mixed, it becomes 
rock hard concrete. Only when you add the water and mix does 
cement become concrete. Same with the glutelin to gluten 
transformation; if you don't add the water or if you don't knead 
enough, you won't have gluten.

Vital gluten is a mixed dough that has had the starch washed 
away, and then the remaining elastic net is dried and powdered, 
leaving the high protein content you mentioned. When mixed 
with flour and re-hydrated it boosts the gluten content of the 
dough, making it useful for whole or multi-grain breads.

I hope this clarifies the issue for you.

- Mitch