World-Wide Consumption


Vital Wheat Gluten Powder

Vital wheat gluten is a complex of natural proteins obtained from wheat that generally comes in powdered form. This mild-flavoured, protein rich substance is widely used as food additive or alternative to soybean based meat substitutes. It can absorb more than twice its volume of water and is highly elastic in nature. These unique properties of gluten are advantageous for manufacturing baked goods, breakfast cereals, processed meats and fish.

Manufacture of vital wheat gluten flour is done through dry and wet wheat milling. Dry milling procedure is good for creating flour that contains the mixture of starch, gluten and other proteins, while wet milling method is ideal for separating starch from the gluten. In wet milling procedure, the wheat flour is soaked in warm water following the washing of dough until it dissolves. The insoluble elastic mass of gluten left behind is passed through series of alkaline screens. The vital wheat gluten protein extracted through this procedure is dried into powder.

Gluten dough when steamed, baked, boiled or cooked otherwise, results in a chewy meat-like structure, called as 'seitan'. Vital wheat gluten is an all natural vegetarian product that is free of sodium, fat and cholesterol. It imparts extended freshness and enhanced flavour to food products. Vital wheat gluten nutrition facts clearly indicate the presence of additional proteins for lower calorie content per serving. It provides extra nutritional value to baked food items and also contains calcium and iron.

The main component of vital wheat protein is gluten, which contains glutenin and gliadins. Glutenin is appropriate for enhancing elasticity and increasing the strength and durability of dough. This is also very important for the purpose of freezing and thawing. Glutenin is excellent for supporting the structure of processed meats and fish. Vital wheat powder should be used in moderate amount only, as over use might result in undesirable toughness in food products.

Gliadin is another protein component of vital wheat, which is easily soluble in water and other liquids. This contributes towards the adhesive property of wheat proteins. Gliadin is commonly used to improve the texture of pasta, crackers, cookies and enhance the quality of crusts. This has application in cosmetic products and personal care items. Over usage of gliadin results in excessively soft and expandable dough that causes inferior quality of food products.

Vital wheat gluten products should be avoided by individuals with celiac diseases. People who have wheat protein allergies should refrain from consuming gliadins and glutens. They are generally advised to use vital wheat gluten substitutes, which are free of harmful effects of gluten. Xanthum gum is one such substitute, which is produced as a byproduct of bacterial reaction to corn soup. This is readily dissolved in liquid and remains stable even in higher temperature. Guan gum is another substitute derived from seeds of a legume plant. Gluten-free flour, quinoa flour and amaranth flour are some other substitutes to name.

It is often recommended to add vital wheat proteins to whole-grain food products for obtaining wonderful nutritional benefits of gluten. This product is widely used in many countries of Asia, Europe and North America for baking and preparing meat-alternatives.

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