Gluten in Wheat Flour Doughs

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Wheat has long been the West’s premier grain primarily because its storage proteins have unique chemical properties. When flour is mixed with water, the gluten proteins bond to each other and form an elastic mass that can expand to accommodate gas bubbles produced by yeast. Without wheat, then, we would not have raised breads, cakes, and pasta as we know them. Gluten quantity and quality vary significantly among different wheats, and determine the uses to which a given type is put.