How much Gluten is enough?

Hi everyone,

As you have probably noticed, in funcional confectionery we don’t use gluten. But for those who want to keep using gluten and be as healthy as possible, here goes some important facts for you…

Gluten is the main protein component of wheat, as well as in cereals related to wheat. Gluten is also widely present in baked goods with many essential roles, especially in baked breads.

Some people may not be suitable to use gluten-containing products, such as patients with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, gluten ataxia, etc.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is one of the three main structural builders in baked goods, along with egg proteins and starch. It is probably the most complex and hardest to control among those three.

Even a tiny change in mixing method can have a large effect on gluten development, especially when we’re dealing with heavily relied upon gluten bread and yeast doughs.

Gluten forms and develops when flour meets water. Of course, we need to mix them well to create a strong, stretchy gluten network.

Its ability to bounce back when pressed or stretched is especially useful in baking. Gluten is easily stretched and changes shapes without breaking or tearing, making the dough smoother, stronger, drier and less lumpy.

So How much Gluten is enough?

For the sake of easy understanding, some may say, the more the merrier, for breads, the less the better, for pastries. But even though this is partly true, the key to success in every baking recipe is moderation.

Gluten and Breads

In fact, different types of bread have different gluten requirements. 

The characteristics of gluten also contribute to your dough. For example, despite high gluten requirements, bread dough can have too much strong gluten and, therefore, can turn out to be tough and chewy. Too much tough gluten makes the dough hardly stretch, resulting in low volume and soft, thin crusts.

Gluten and Yeast-raised Bread

The fact is that yeast-raised baked goods require the most gluten of all bakery products.

Gluten is so vital to bread that when bread makers talk about flour quality, they usually mean the amount and quality of gluten that develops from the flour.

Bread dough created with high-quality flour expands quickly and retains most of the gases produced during fermentation and oven spring. Because the outer layers are less likely to break, gluten often aids in achieving the most loaf volume and oven spring, as well as developing a fine crumb for baked bread.

The less the gluten is, the more the dough is easily broken and torn.

Gluten and Pastries

The same as with bread and gluten can apply to pastries, but usually in the opposite direction.

While it is simple to claim that pastries require less gluten than bread, comparing the gluten requirements of various pastries may be difficult since they are complicated mixes of tougheners and tenderizers, moisteners and driers.

Furthermore, pastries, just like bread, can have too much or too little gluten. Pie crusts with an insufficient gluten amount quickly crack and crumble, cakes collapse and baked cookies sag.

However, I have to say that it is generally reasonable to consider products containing significant amounts of other structural builders, such as eggs, require the least amount of gluten for the structure effect.

For example, both liquid shortening cakes – which mostly rely on gelatinized starch’s soft structure, and sponge cakes – which rely on their high egg content, require a relatively little amount of gluten.

Have a great and healthy week!


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