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FAQ » General Gluten Questions » What characteristics does gluten lend to food?

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Answer:

Gluten provides many additional important qualities to bread. For example, gluten keeps the gases that are released during fermentation in the dough, so the bread is able to rise before it is baked. In addition, gluten firms up when it is cooked and, with the help of starch, helps ensure the bread maintains its proper shape. Gluten also has an absorbent quality, which is why bread is capable of soaking up broth. Because of this feature, gluten is often used by those on a vegetarian diet as an imitation meat. On the downside, gluten is believed to be partly responsible for causing bread to become stale.