What is Gluten? Gluten is simply a protein found in several grass grains (wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, & triticale). It is composed of two storage proteins gliadin and glutenin conjoined with starch in the endosperm of various grass-related grains. Its function is simply to nourish embryonic plants during germination.
So, gluten is simply a specific plant-based protein that occurs in wheat, barley & rye. There are many different proteins in various foods, each protein has certain properties. One of gluten’s more interesting properties is its ability to for cross-links which add to the viscosity (or thickness), when cooked, these cross-links create stabilizing structures that cause the product to maintain its shape.
For these reasons, gluten has been used extensively by humans for many thousands of years to make breads and all kinds of foods. Obviously, being a protein bound to starch, it has significant nutritional value which is why wheat has been called “the staff of life.”