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Gluten free Baking


Gluten is most often associated with wheat and wheat flour but can also found in barley, rye, and triticale – a wheat hybrid. Gluten proteins in wheat flours make dough elastic and stretchy, and trap gas within baked goods, providing a light, airy structure. Spelt is closely related to wheat and is not suitable for use in gluten-free products. Additionally, gluten can be found in products made with these grains like salad dressing, sauces and even toothpaste. Gluten is a protein found in cereals like wheat and other similar proteins found in rye and barley. These proteins damage the villi that line the small intestine, when damaged and inflamed, the villi are unable to absorb water and nutrients, this causes celiac patients susceptible to a variety of other conditions related to malabsorption. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires all foods containing major allergens to be labeled. They also are working to establish gluten-free labeling standards for foods that contain no gluten or gluten at such a low level they have not been shown to produce a reaction. The proposed limit for gluten-free designation is 20 parts per million. The best advice is to read the label carefully and contact the manufacturer if you are unsure about the gluten status of a food product. Keep in mind, however, that other gluten-containing grains, like barley and rye, are not required to be labeled, so “wheat-free” is not the same as “gluten-free.”

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