Bread Making Part 4: Where's The Gluten? ~ Mountain Mama

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Bread Making Part 4: Where's The Gluten?


I'm waiting on a delivery (not the mother's) and then I'll wrap this puppy up, ship it out and call it done!

Today's bread lesson is about a protein in wheat called gluten. Gluten is an important feature of your bread dough. If you don't knead your dough enough, you won't activate the gluten and your dough won't rise well. I'm sure it's possible to knead dough too long, but I've never witnessed it. And I tend to leave my mixer running a while.

I realize not everyone is the closet chemist I am, therefore I'm going to do an experiment today, so you don't have to. I'm going to extract gluten from flour.

In my mixer, I added 1/2 cup water and 1 cup flour (I used bread flour, but regular white flour will work too). I let it ride for about ten minutes. Then I gradually added more water.

And it started looking like paper mache paste. Yum.

I kept mixing and adding more water (about three cups) until it was very runny. Then I plunged my hands into the glop and fished around for lumps:

And there it is. Stretchy, sticky, ugly gluten. Before motherhood, I would have been a little grossed out by this. Now I have children.


And, actually, I buy gluten flour (called Vital Wheat Gluten) and use it to make vegan meat substitutes.

But don't you think it's kind of cool to see that flour is more than just flour?

1 comment:

  1. Um, meat substitutes out of gluten? Gross and Where's the nutrition? And I do expect you to have the answer! Very cool experiment--now
    I've got to try it at home and I make bread a lot!

    Baby sweater gets an A+, though I didn't realize it was gray until this post. Poor memory, maybe? Going to the Farm at Lee Martinez at 1pm Wednesday if you'd like to meet us! It could finish up with a coop tour so you can see my chickens!


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