What Is Gluten & How Is It Made?

Take a minute to think of your favorite comfort foods. Do those foods include cookies, pasta, bagels, crackers, noodles, pizza and other bread-like bites of doughy deliciousness? If they do, you might be a fan of gluten, or, more specifically, the chemistry of the gluten proteins responsible for creating gluten in foods, known as gliadin and glutenin proteins.

When combined with water, the gliadin and glutenin proteins give sticky starch molecules in the flour the ability to expand, a characteristic known as elasticity, and gluten is the result. Interestingly, not all flours contain gluten. Milled flours made of wheat, rye and barley contain gluten but recipes calling for corn, rice or buckwheat flours are gluten-free.

Gluten Can Be Temperamental

Anyone who has ever cooked with various types of flour knows that the gluten properties can make baking with flour somewhat challenging. For instance, the reason that croissants are light and airy, while doughnuts have a more cake-like consistency and bagels are chewy has as much to do with their gluten content as it does with their recipes, ingredients, and oven temperatures. It also explains why many bakers can spend so much time perfecting a single recipe for a favorite baked good.

Gluten Isn’t for Everyone

Even though some people enjoy the taste of a doughnut with their coffee in the morning, their bodies cannot process gluten. For them, eating foods that contain gluten triggers an immune response in their small intestines that causes digestive distress. This gluten intolerance is known as celiac disease. Symptoms of celiac disease include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Gas
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weight loss

If you think you or a loved one might have celiac disease, keep a food journal and document what is eaten at every meal and make a note of any symptoms that occur. This will help you discover if there is a correlation between diet and digestive distress. Be certain to share the food journal with your primary care physician.

In the past, individuals with celiac disease didn’t have many possibilities for gluten alternatives other than avoiding flour-based products entirely. However, new recipes, combined with advances in food production from gluten-free manufacturers, have given people with celiac disease new opportunities to enjoy their favorite foods.

There are some ways to produce food that is free of the gluten chemical for customers with celiac disease. For example:

  • Gluten-free flour — such as milled corn, rice or buckwheat — can be used instead of flour made from wheat, rye or barley.
  • Ground vegetables can be incorporated in recipes in place of flour, such as pizza crusts and pasta made of cauliflower or chickpeas.
  • Gluten can even be extracted from flour in a removal process that involves a high-speed, food-grade centrifuge.

If your products’ recipes call for gluten production or gluten removal, make PacMoore your partner in food manufacturing. Our array of food-processing capabilities include:

  • Consumer packaging
  • Dry blending
  • Extrusion
  • Liquid blending
  • Re-packing
  • Spray drying

At PacMoore, we pledge to always:

  • Respect your business and your food brands by never competing with you
  • Protect your recipes and other intellectual property
  • Manufacture your high-quality products using the strictest food-safety controls

Let us know how our high-tech food processing solutions can make your food manufacturing business even better.