Gluten has become such a popular word amongst 18 million American diners who have a sensitivity. The question that I know I have wondered about it is why is it all of a sudden that so many people are sensitive to gluten? Well, here is some food for thought:
As many people may have noticed the amount of people developing food allergies in general has grown significantly over the past few years. It is not as much directly related to our bodies changing, but more directly related to how our food is being grown and produced. For this article, let’s keep in mind that the FDA has approved over 350 food additives which, includes Copper, Acetone and the main chemical found in shaving cream and yoga mats. Sounds tasty right?
So let’s talk more about gluten.
First off, we should all know what it is first; It is a combination of proteins found in wheat which becomes very elastic like in dough and is responsible for food holding its shape. Common foods with gluten would be bread, pasta and pizza dough. Without gluten your favorite pizza would not be hand stretched and thrown into the air, well, not in the beautiful silky round shape we are all used to. Instead it would be a glop of wet paste.
As scientist continue to dissect gluten and use their fancy formulas and chemical equations, allow me to break down what I know from a Chef’s point of view. The great bakers that I have worked with are always very concerned about a major factor of the dough that they use. That secret major factor is, the Mill date. That date refers to when the tall wheat grass was cut from the field and ground down into a flour. Gluten actually has a personality. For the first three months of its new life the gluten is very active and also, much easier for most people to digest. From three months to one year if not used, the gluten becomes dormant and during this stage, it becomes much harder to digest until it has enough sleep and wakes up after a year.
Now going back to how food production has changed in recent years, farmers and manufacturers are more concerned with mass production than they are with detailed quality so the amount of flour being used during its dormancy phase is wide spread throughout the food market and when you order a sandwich in a restaurant, there is no traceability to say when the flour was milled, only an expiration date from which date the bread was produced.
>So next time you are picking out your favorite flour at the grocery store, look for the bag with the freshest mill date and continue to enjoy baking and see if you also notice a difference after you eat and remember, food loves you too.