: a gluey protein substance especially of wheat flour that causes dough to be sticky
Mixture of proteins not readily soluble in water that occurs in wheat and most other cereal grains. Its presence in flour makes production of leavened baked goods (seebaking) possible because the chainlike gluten molecules form an elastic network that traps carbon dioxide gas and expands with it. The properties of gluten vary with its composition, which differs according to the source. Thus, doughs range from soft and extensible to tough and elastic, depending on the gluten in the flours. Persons with an allergy to gluten can often eat rice or spelt products.