Gluten is a type of protein that can be found in grains like wheat, barley and rye, which means it can be found in bread and various kinds of cereals. But it should be noted that not all grains actually have gluten. Some examples of grains that are gluten free include corn, wild rice, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, teff, amaranth, soybeans, oats and sunflower seeds.
Gluten can actually be extracted from wheat flour and then use it to make wheat starch. Even though not all of the gluten can be removed in wheat flour, according to the Food and Drug Administration, this is still enough for a product to be labeled as gluten free. Gluten imbibes many different properties to food. For example, it helps make bread more pliant and elastic, which makes it chewier when eaten. Other properties that gluten provide bread include being able to keep the gases that are the product of fermentation inside the dough, which helps make bread dough rise. Gluten also firms up when it is cooked, which helps keep the bread’s shape when it bakes.
Gluten is also known for its ability to absorb liquids, which is the reason why bread can easily absorb liquids. This particular quality is the reason why it is possible to make imitation meat out of gluten (which is a staple for people who are on a vegetarian diet. Unfortunately, it is also gluten that is blamed for bread becoming stale after a few days or a couple of weeks.