Do grains apart from wheat contain gluten?
When gluten is discussed it is most commonly discussed with regards to wheat, however there are other grains which contain gluten as the list below highlights.
Other grains which contain gluten are:
- Rye grain is a dark coloured, fibrous flour with a low gluten content and strong flavour.
- Although Rye is not often used alone, it is the only non wheat flour with enough gluten protein for bread making. However it is usually mixed with strong wheat flour to produce a lighter loaf of bread.
- Breads made with Rye flour have a distinctive sour tang.
- Used to make traditional bread like pumpernickel.
- A cereal grain derived from the annual grass Hordeum vulgare.
- Barley contains all eight essential amino acids. These are amino acids that the body must receive from the diet as the body can not produce them.
- Barley-meal, a wholemeal barley flour which is lighter than wheatmeal but darker in colour, is used in porridge and gruel.
- A hybrid or combination of wheat (Triticum) and rye (Secale) to achieve the best attributes of both of these cereals.
- Triticale has grayish brown oval shaped kernels that are larger than wheat but plumper than Rye.
- Triticale’s nutty flavour is similar to that of wheat.
Ingredient Labelling of Wheat
There are many components of wheat used in bakery products or other food items which are may not actually be called wheat in the ingredient list. These ingredients include:
- Bran – Protective outer coating of the wheat grain, which is separated from flour after grinding and commonly found in breakfast cereals and wholemeal breads.
- Wheatgerm– Part of the wheat grain and a rich source of B Vitamins, Oil and Vitamin E. It is used in many health food products as well as baked products.
There are also different names for wheat. These may relate to a particular species of wheat or the name may indicate the way in which the grain has been milled. Here are some examples:
- Durum Wheat – Species of wheat which has the hardest wheat grains. It is preferred for pasta making.
- Spelt – Closely related to modern day wheat, which was popular staple in medieval times and is now making return as a ‘health food’ in breakfast cereals.
- Semolina – Refers to a particular grain being milled to a larger or coarser particle size than commonly used flour. Semolina is used in the manufacture of pasta. Although the term semolina can be applied to any grain it is commonly associated with wheat.
- Couscous – Is a dish made up of spherical granules made by rolling and shaping moistened semolina wheat, which is then coated with finely ground wheat flour.
But what about Oats?
Unfortunately there is not a straight forward answer to this question.
Oats are the seed of the cereal plant Avena sativa or A. byzantina. Although they do not contain gluten they do contain the protein avenin which is similar to gluten. Most people who react to gluten do not react to this protein but some people do.
However due to high possibility of cross contamination during planting, harvesting and processing many brands of oats do have detectable amount of gluten in them. Therefore to be safe and avoid any issues, oats are usually grouped with the grains containing gluten; however in reality oats may have a place in a gluten free diet.
Oats are commonly included in breakfast foods and health products, as well as in some baked products.