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Leavened bread has been around since the days of ancient Egypt, Babylon and Greece. Then, as now, it was made from wheat, or from a mixture of wheat and rye. The elastic gluten in wheat is essential for bread to rise. For 50 years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) laboratories have worked with all segments of the industry to help provide consumers with uniform, flavorful, nutritious bread and other wheat products. USDA ARS scientists have identified and isolated wheat proteins not previously known to exist and that these proteins-gliadin and glutenin-contain a specific chemical structure that affects mixing properties of flours in forming dough. They discovered the role of fatlike constituents in flour in controlling volume of bread and size of cookies. They found that certain water-soluble proteins called albumins are as essential as gluten in producing a good loaf of bread. USDA photo by Scott Bauer.

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Taken on February 7, 2013