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Have Food Scientists Finally Found a Way to Make Gluten-free Bread Taste Good?


Photo: CC--Bart Everson

Celiac.com 08/19/2016 - Gwyneth Paltrow, Miley Cyrus and the clean-eating bloggers of Instagram have all helped propel gluten-free foods out of health-food stores and into the aisles of Whole Foods and Wal-Mart.

Anyone who has ever tried a gluten-free bread or cake has likely found what sufferers of celiac disease have long known. They often don't taste very good. Gluten-free baked goods are often dry, crumbly and flat tasting.

As long as there has been gluten-free bread, there has been mediocre gluten-free bread. This is not the fault of bakers. The problem is structural, chemical. Gluten, the protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, triggers adverse immune reactions in people with celiac disease. But that same gluten also has uniquely elastic properties that make it perfect for mixing with water, kneading into dough, and baking into chewy delicious bread.

Gluten is what makes our breads spongy, and chewy, and delicious. Cereals and grains like rice, sorghum, buckwheat, which are often milled into gluten-free flours, lack this important component.

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Now two inventive Italian food scientists, Virna Cerne and Ombretta Polenghi, are being lauded for their isolation of a protein called zein, that is found in corn. Under the right temperature, humidity, and pH, zein forms an elastic network similar to gluten.

These days, says Cerne, "gluten-free products include a lot of fiber but the fiber cannot be really elastic." Added to different gluten-free flours like rice or corn flour, Cerne adds, isolated zein protein "solves the problem of no elasticity." That means that products using zein protein can be used to develop gluten-free products with many of the same chewy, flaky attributes as bread and baked goods made from wheat flour.

Currently, products using isolated zein protein are still in the research and development phase, but food scientists hope the abundance of low-priced corn will allow the protein to be made cheaply, and thus give rise to more affordable gluten-free alternatives. Cerne and her co-inventor Polenghi, who both work with Italian-based food company Dr Schär, say that their research remains focused on people with serious medical reasons to avoid gluten.

Stay tuned to see how Cerne and Polenghi's work develops and what food breakthroughs might result from their efforts.

Read more at Quartz.com.

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6 Responses:

 
Jo Ann Boyd
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
22 Aug 2016 7:47:27 AM PDT
This leaves the problem of genetically modified corn, which is in abundant supply, but not good for us.

 
Linda
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfull Unrated
said this on
22 Aug 2016 8:53:17 PM PDT
Yes, I agree with Jo Ann. Fortunately we do have a few GF Companies that are also Non-GMO and organic. I look forward to trying zein containing products in the future if they are non-GMO.

 
Laura
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
22 Aug 2016 11:07:06 PM PDT
Zein is basically gluten. This is really not a solution. Many doctors do not allow corn on a gluten free diet as it has been determined that zein affects the gut just like any other gluten.
What we are all missing in gluten free bread is unfortunately, the gluten itself. Until someone can find a "gluten" that people don´t react to (probably impossible), good tasting, strong, flexible bread will not be available in the gluten free aisle at the store.

 
John T. Baird
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said this on
23 Aug 2016 3:05:14 AM PDT
What about the synthetic Gluten called WELLENCE developed by DOW Chemical from cellulose? It is about time that DOW did something positive for food science!

 
dappy
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said this on
23 Aug 2016 6:25:42 AM PDT
HURRY UP !!!

 
Christian Treitler
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said this on
31 Aug 2016 7:11:56 AM PDT
Three recent finds of good non-GMO bread. (1) Fresh bread "Delicious Gluten Free" by Little Northern Bakehouse available at Sprouts. (2) Multi-grain bread mix "YesYouCan" available at EpicureanTemple.com. (3) Freshly baked house bread or sesame bread (to order) at Merkur supermarket in Austria. - Sorry about the last one but this is the best gluten free bread I ever tasted. It gets delivered frozen to the supermarket where they bake it for you in 30 minutes: great taste and crispy crust!




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I believe the talk around this forum is that cheerios are not gluten free enough for people with celiac at this time. I don't know if anything has changed on that and when their lawyer calls me I'll quickly delete this. haha

Could be we generally say get off of dairy for a few months when going gluten free. The part of the intestines that produce the enzymes, and help break down dairy are associated with the tips of the villi, which are the most damaged if not gone in celiacs. THIS is why most of us end up with a lactose intolerance early on. And most can introduce it later after healing. As to her symptoms with it there was a bunch of research about dairy permeated the gut and causing neurological issues in a autism study I was looking at years ago. And there have been other studies about damaged intestines and how the hormones in milk can easier effect ones body. Personally I also have a huge grudge against dairy on a personal level as it is not natural to suck on a cows tits and drink the stuff, nor your dogs, nor a rabbits......I mean come on even Human Breast milk you would find odd to drink as an adult right? Back in the past dairy was a great way to get calories and fats when there was famine, etc around I mean it is meant to make a calf grow into a 500+lb cow. But on a genetic and hormonal level it is not really for human consumption and now days the whole corporate BS propaganda push and dairy farms shove that oh its healthy stuff down your throat. There are plenty of dairy free options for everything feel free to message me if you need help finding anything I have been dairy free for over a decade.

The full celiac panel checks TTG IGA and IGG, DGP IGA and IGG, IGA, EMA as Jmg stated above. Your test included TTG IGA and IGA. If your IGA was low, a low on TTG IGA would be inconclusive. But your IGA is fine. A high on any one test is a positive for celiac and should lead to an endoscopy for confirmation. So I'd get tested for TTG IGG, DGP IGA and IGG and EMA since there are symptoms. Warning I'm not a doc.

I did a gluten challenge for my endoscopy and requested a second blood test after my follow up with the consultant. I never did see those results but my GP said no celiac was indicated: Which left me gluten free for life, that wasn't an option after the challenge, but with a less satisfactory diagnosis, one by omission rather than the definitive 'you're celiac' one I was expecting. Yes! I have been 'properly' glutened on a couple of occasions but on several more I've detected a change or a reaction based on what could only have been trace amounts. NCGS is as yet poorly understood but patients tend to have more neuro symptoms than digestive. That's definitely been my experience, although it was only after going gluten free that I realised quite how many digestive symptoms I had just been living with as 'normal'. Close friends and family get the full explanation. 'I have an auto immune disease similar to 'coeliac etc.' If they stay awake long enough I'll tell them about the less than perfect testing process I went through or the Columbia Med research and the possibility of a blood test soon. They can see the difference between me on gluten and off it so they understand its not all in my head* If I'm ordering food in a restauarant or asking questions about food prep etc I will often just self declare as coeliac - people are aware of that and understand those requests are medical rather than fad diet based. I don't have any problem doing this, I'm not going to claim that and then cheat on dessert for instance and to be honest I expect once the research is complete the two conditions may wind up alongside others as different faces of the same coin. In the meantime I safeguard my health and avoid getting into a detailed conversation about genuine gluten sensitivity versus faux hipster posturing! *apart from the bits which are in my head

I originally had it on my face and scalp. (22 years ago) First biopsy with dermatologist came back as folliculitis. Then when I had a new outbreak on my upper back, she was able to remove a nice clean blister and we got the diagnosis of DH. She started me on Dapsone (100mg/day) and gluten free diet. Now I take 25-50 mg/day. My understanding at the time was that DH was the skin version of Celiac. Did a lot of research on my own. I met Dr. Peter Green at a Gluten free Vendors Fair and he said that a diagnosis of DH IS a diagnosis of Celiac, even if no other symptoms. So I stay gluten-free