What is Gluten and Why is It Important?
You see gluten in a whole variety of things from breads to bagels, to pretzels and even things like cinnamon rolls. The list could go on and on with the variety of items you can find gluten in.
Beyond this though, why is this component such a key thing in baking? Why is it event important, and what is it?
Let’s find out…
First off, what is gluten?
In simple terms gluten is two proteins, glutenin and gliadin.
What is gluten found in?
These two proteins for gluten are found in flour.
On the flour side of things, keep in mind the more protein the flour has, the more gluten it creates.
How is gluten created?
Gluten is formed when you mix water with flour. As you work a dough you start to create more gluten.
This is why you knead a bread dough. When you knead a dough, you are creating more gluten.
It’s also one of the reasons you want to be careful to not over mix something like a cake batter. If you over mix something like a cake batter, too much gluten can form, to actually work against you in this case.
Every recipe varies in how much gluten it needs. Some things like cookies, cakes, and various other things don’t need much gluten, but on the other side, items like bread dough need a good amount of gluten to create that signature chewy elastic texture.
As a general concept, the longer you work something with flour, the more gluten you form.
Why is gluten important anyway though?
Gluten is important for the purpose of adding structure to your baked goods..
In addition to this though, it provides your baked goods a network of pockets to trap the gases for your baked goods to expand, therefore resulting in a lighter baked good.
Now you know what gluten is, and the importance of it in our baked goods. However, what if their was a way you could actually see what it looked like?
Well, I came across this interesting video recently, and I thought it was a great interesting demo for you to see gluten in a visual way…