Gluten isthe protein found in the food made of wheat and some wheat-related species,such as rye and barley. It can be found in the endosperm of these grass grains.Gluten is a composite protein, consisted of gliadin and glutenin (they arecalled prolamin and glutelin if they come from wheat), and conjoined togetherwith starch. Some other plants, like rice and maze, also contain proteins. However, they do not contain gliadin.
Gluten canbe used as the great protein source, as the replacement for meat (in vegetariandishes), in food for both people and animals, but also as the food additive, toimprove the amount of present proteins.
How toExtract Gluten
The easiestway to extract gluten is to wash out the starch from the flour. Simply, usewater and wash the flour, until you have a compact sticky mass in your hands –that’s gluten. It can be purer, if you want to. Use saline solution instead ofthe water and some other, minor impurities, will get washed away too. The processis made possible by the difference in solubility: starch is water soluble andgluten can’t be dissolved in water.
The industryuses water as the main solvent and the final product is uniformed gluten.
Where We UseGluten
As said,gluten is used in numerous ways. It can be used to make some bread, which isthe most common use, of course. It can also be added to certain foods, pets andhuman, in order to supplement the proteins. Gluten can also be used tosubstitute meat in vegetarian dishes and diet.
The use ofgluten in food that normally contains this protein is regulated by “CodexAlimentarius”. This set of international standards regulates the labeling ofproducts that in most cases contain gluten. Unfortunately, it doesn’t requirethe labeling of other types of food, which might contain traces of gluten,simply because it was used as stabilizing agent. Although gluten is consideredto be safe (by the FDA, Food and Drug Administration) even small traces of thissubstance may be serious problem for people suffering from celiac disease.
Gluten in breadcontributes its swelling (rise) and thickness. The dough that’s been moredeveloped gets chewier, and less developed more tender, all thanks to so thegluten in it. Gluten can be added to both bread and cake flours, but in mostcases bread flour is richer in it.
It can beused to imitate the meat, and products made of gluten are known as seitan,yakifu or namafu in Japanese cuisine.
This proteinis found as stabilizer in ketchup and ice creams, but also as the proteinenhancer of some pet foods.
Some Gluten SideEffects
Gluten sensitivity(or celiac disease) is estimated to about 1% of the USA population today. Peoplesuffering from this disease experience allergic reaction to incompletelydigested gliadin. Their immune system strongly reacts and these people areadvised not to eat gluten or gluten-containing products.
You shouldbe aware that gluten can also cause some other allergic reactions and neuropathies.