Saturday, May 16, 2009

On to the Gluten, pt 1

We've made the gluten, we've dealt with the bran and starch water so on now with how to use it.

Gluten is also called "wheat meat". When seasoned, it tastes like meat and also has the texture of meat. Gluten can be made into "vital wheat gluten", the stuff that helps whole wheat bread to rise higher and be tender - foldable even. It's all in the final processing.

Today we're making the dried gluten for adding to bread. This will eliminate our need to spend $2.00 or so for a small box of "vital wheat gluten". This procedure will allow the gluten to keep indefinitely on the shelf.

Take your raw gluten and break/tear off quarter size pieces. (For non-North Americans, that a piece of dough larger than a marble, but smaller than a golf ball.) Flatten it and place the pieces on an oiled cookie sheet or on the tray of your dehydrator. In oven, bake at 350 degrees until hard. In dehydrator, dry out dough. You can also roll dough out into 1/4" thickness and cut shapes with it. Thin shapes will dry more quickly, evenly and be easier to get to grind to a flour.

When dough is very dry, you can place it in an airtight container and place it on the shelf. As another option, you can actually put them in a jar with an oxygen absorber packet and put the lid on. Or use a vacuum sealing device and suck the air out of the jar. Anything is better than zipper bags. I've found after a while that foods put in zipper bags will pick up tastes from the pantry and get a rather odd taste to them.

At some point, you will want to use the dried gluten for bread making. You will need to grind or grate the dough balls to a flour texture. Use of a micrograter, food processor, grain mill, blender, nut/coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle will all work. Youwant a flour with this, so keep grinding the larger chunks until it's flour. Mills will be the easiest and quickest to use. Then the grinder/food processor, next the blender, the grater and last the mortar and pestle. M&P's do work, but it will be WORK to get it ground by hand. You can grind it all ahead of time or just what you need at the moment.

Tomorrow on to "wheat meat".