Gluten is a natural substance found in grains of wheat, rye, oats and barley, as well as spelt and other cereals. The gluten content determines the flour’s baking properties. Along with the starch in the wheat, gluten makes the bread elastic and light, gives it structure, makes it crumbly or crusty and enables it to retain moisture and stay fresh longer.
Coeliac sufferers have to avoid gluten. In baking, however, conventional flour cannot simply be replaced with a gluten-free version because there is no one blend of flour that is an exact substitute for white flour. Gluten-free baking calls for experience and a willingness to experiment. The blends of gluten-free flour which are available in shops are usually made from potato, maize, tapioca or soya flour. Gluten-free flour absorbs more liquid than conventional flour, making the bread dry out over time. To compensate for this, home-bakers often need to add more liquid, like quark.
Schär brand offers a wide choice of gluten-free bread, which is mostly made from rice and maize. High-quality ingredients, like millet, quinoa, sorghum, buckwheat and chestnut flour, are then added. Sourdough is a real all-rounder in this area. Without it, rye bread would be flat and hard – which is what happens to bread made with gluten-free flour. This is why Schär likes to use gluten-free sourdough in its bread. This stabilizes the structure of the dough, adds a unique aroma and keeps the bread fresh longer.