Kristine Nolin
Kristine Nolin
Associate Professor of Chemistry, University of RichmondSource
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Thank gluten's complex chemistry for your light, fluffy baked goods

Thank gluten's complex chemistry for your light, fluffy baked goods

Within the bread, rolls and baked goods on many tables this holiday season is an extraordinary substance – gluten. Gluten’s unique chemistry makes foods airy and stretchy. I’m a chemist who teaches a chemistry of cooking class, and every year I ask my students, “What is gluten?” Common answers are “a sugar” or “a carbohydrate.” But rarely does anyone get it right. Gluten is a complex mixture of proteins. It makes up 85%-90% of the protein in flour. Proteins are natural biological macromolecules composed of chains of amino acids that fold upon themselves to adopt a variety of shapes. Gluten...

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