1,000 GLUTEN-FREE Recipes by Carol Fenster
WHAT IS GLUTEN?
Most people can easily go through life never knowing—or caring—about gluten. For those who can’t eat it, however, it’s foremost in our minds. But just what is it? Gluten is that mysterious protein that food experts talk about in terms of baking. For example, gluten provides wonderful elasticity in bread dough, but it can toughen pie crusts and biscuits if you handle the dough too much. From a scientific standpoint, gluten is actually a storage protein of wheat.
For people with celiac disease it is the gliadin fraction of gluten in particular that is problematic. For those who are sensitive to wheat but don’t have celiac disease, there may be other proteins in gluten that affect us but we don’t know which proteins are actually the culprits. Other grains have proteins that chemically resemble gluten. Barley contains secalins, and rye contains hordeins.
Other members of this botanical tribe include spelt, kamut, and triticale, and that’s why you see all of these grains—wheat, barley, rye. spelt, kamut, and triticale—on the “do not eat” list for gluten-free individuals. Oats may appear on this list because of the possibility that they are contaminated by wheat, not because they inherently contain gluten.
There are now pure, uncontaminated gluten-free oats on the market that, according to Dr. Peter Green, a leading gastroenterologist at Columbia University, can be tolerated by over 98 percent of those with celiac disease.
So, I offer recipes in this book that use those special oats. For more about the various positions on oats, go to www.gluten.net or www.glutenfreediet.ca, or to learn more about gluten-free oats, go to the manufacturers’ websites: www. bobsredmill.com, www.creamhiIIestates.com, www. glutenfreeoats.com, www.giftsofnature.net, and www.onlyoats.com.
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