The Importance of Gluten Hydration

water- gluten hydration

Without the proper hydration, gluten will not function properly.

Gluten thrives on hydration. While dough is in the mixer, water molecules are binding to the polar sites on the gluten proteins. When these proteins have enough water, they provide elastic and extensible properties. In other words, the better hydrated gluten is, the better it will function in your baked goods.

Three key aspects to gluten hydration:

  1. Adequate water
  2. Physical agitation, or energy
  3. Properly aged flour, oxidation systems or a long holding time

If it is not hydrated properly, your mixing time will increase, product volume will be affected and you may end up with a short, crumbly texture.

So mixing time is a reflection of hydration?
Absolutely. That is why sponges that take hours to ferment mix faster than a straight dough. Aged flour or the addition of oxidizing agents and dough conditioners strengthens the gluten structure and makes it more acceptable to hydration as well. Hydrocolloids can also help with binding capacities.

These additions are needed in high-speed systems, as there is not enough holding time for gluten to be fully hydrated. Continuous mixing methods, or high impact hydration technology  can also increase gluten hydration.

Discover more about the hydration that gluten needs!

2019-04-15T11:47:01-07:00

About the Author:

Lin Carson, PhD
Dr. Lin Carson’s love affair with baking started over 25 years ago when she earned her BSc degree in Food Science & Technology at the Ohio State University. She went on to earn her MSc then PhD from the Department of Grain Science at Kansas State University. Seeing that technical information was not freely shared in the baking industry, Dr. Lin decided to launch BAKERpedia to cover this gap. Today, as the world’s only FREE and comprehensive online technical resource for the commercial baking industry, BAKERpedia is used by over half a million commercial bakers, ingredient sellers, equipment suppliers and baking entrepreneurs annually. You can catch Dr. Lin regularly on the BAKED In Science podcast solving baking problems. For more information on Dr. Lin, subscribe to her "Ask Dr. Lin" YouTube Channel, or follow her on LinkedIn.

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