Gluten-Free Breads

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
People whose immune systems are intolerant of gluten must avoid wheat and its close relatives, and therefore can’t eat ordinary bread, where gluten plays a major role in texture. A reasonable facsimile of raised bread can be made with gluten-free flours or starches—rice flour, for example—that are supplemented with xanthan gum and emulsifiers. The gum, which is secreted by a bacterium and purified from industrial-scale fermenters, provides a modest gluten-like elasticity, while the emulsifiers stabilize the gas bubbles and slow the diffusion of carbon dioxide from the dough during baking.