'gluten' on Serious Eats

Pizza Protips: Gluten and Water

If you ask a baker what protein does in dough, they'll tell you protein forms gluten, the stretchy web that's necessary for making bread (but a less desirable quality in things like cakes). Protein affects the amount of water that flour can absorb. It's thirsty. Dough made with high gluten flour will seem less wet than dough made from flour with a lower gluten content. This can be true even if the same brand of flour is used to make the same dough. While measuring errors are one common problem, even if the measuring is precise, doughs made from the same recipe can feel different. The reason being, protein levels can vary within the same brand of flour. Although brands state the percent of protein on the bag, the numbers fall within a range depending on the manufacturer's tolerances. The true percentages can be significantly different enough to produce very different outcomes. But how much difference does it make? More

Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Vegan Substitutes?

Fried Tofu, a popular vegan substitute. [Photograph: Robyn Lee] Update: This quiz is closed as of August 26, 2013. Say your friend or loved one (or maybe even you) just decided to become a vegan. What happens to the big, buttery birthday cake or cheese pairing for that wine? Do you know much about vegan substitutes? (Does wheat meat mean anything to you?) See how prepared you would be for the new diet. Take the quiz! »... More

Serious Cheese: Is Blue Cheese Gluten-Free?

Photograph from WordRidden on Flickr Your first reaction to this headline might have been, "What do you mean, is blue cheese gluten-free? Isn't all cheese gluten-free?" Well, the short answer is yes. But blue cheese is a potential corner-case that needs some investigation. The reason is that there are steps in the production process of blue cheese where the potential for cross-contamination of gluten is definitely a possibility. Most people know that the blue in blue cheese is actually mold—penicillium mold to be exact, which during aging breaks down the fats and the proteins in the cheese to change its texture to a silky smooth, and to add depth and piquancy to its flavor. Originally the mold would have... More

A Gluten-Free Mea Culpa

Until I read the article in today's New York Times, I had no idea how many people are limited to gluten-free diets. "Celiac disease (is) an autoimmune disorder affecting about 1 in 100 Americans that can cause serious problems if even a bit of gluten is ingested." One in a hundred!? Yikes! That means that, at any given moment, three million Americans are looking for a tasty gluten-free bite. So today's article on restaurants that have worked hard to make good-tasting gluten-free food offers hope to those people suffering with celiac disease. And a mea culpa here: I am one of those ignorant food writers who have been known to ridicule gluten-free cakes, breads, and pastas when I taste them.... More

The Food Police Turn an Eye Toward Gluten

Pity poor gluten, the stuff that, among (many) other things, gives pizza crusts and bagels their satisfyingly chewiness. It's the latest substance to be hauled in and put in the lineup down at Food Police HQ. As the New York Times notes, there's no doubt that the stuff aggravates celiac disease, but the story also notes that the protein—found in wheat, barley, and rye—may be taking the fall for other issues it has no role in. Dr. Joseph A. Murray, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who specializes in diagnosing and treating celiac disease, says such advice may be misguided. “There’s this ‘go blame gluten’ thing going on,” he said. “It’s difficult to sort out science from... More

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