Study finds gluten-free mixes superior to plain gluten-free flour

A study [1][2] from Brunel University, comparing gluten-free multi-purpose mixes to plain gluten-free flour, found the functionality of gluten-free mixes to be superior to plain gluten-free flours.

Six different types of gluten-free mixes and flours were used to make a loaf of white bread following suppliers’ instructions. A number of textural characteristics of the loaves including volume, crumb softness and structure were considered. The results indicated that gluten-free mixes performed far better than gluten-free flours.[1][2]

The removal of gluten provides a number of technological challenges when baking which can affect both taste and appearance.

The removal of gluten provides a number of technological challenges when baking which can affect both taste and appearance.” says study lead Valentina Stojceska.

In order for a loaf of bread to be made that achieves good textural characteristics, it is not possible to substitute one ingredient for wheat flour. Instead, a combination of ingredients including starches, proteins, gums and emulsifiers are required to mimic the viscoelastic properties of gluten. The gluten free mixes used in this study contain this combination of ingredients, which is why they achieved better results when compared to gluten free flours” she added.


A further sensory evaluation conducted with a panel recruited from the Cambridge branch of Coeliac UK showed similar results, with consumers’ preferences favouring bread made with gluten-free mixes over those made with plain gluten-free flour. It also reported that half of the participants utilise gluten-free mixes on a daily basis to support their gluten-free diet, with participants commenting that they found these products provided better handling properties and were easier to use. Some panellists suggested that the poorer performing flours should be removed from prescription, due to their unsatisfactory performance.

The investigators concluded that coeliac patients would find it difficult to maintain a gluten-free diet without access to gluten-free flour mixes on prescription.

[1] Stojceska, V. (2015) Gluten-Free Investigation. Bakery Europe(online).  Issue Autumn 2015, pp 12-15.  Available from Baking Europe autumn 2015. Accessed on 13 November 2017

[2] Stojceska, V. (2017) Consumer Perception & Demand. Gluten-free mixes/flours available on prescription in the UK market. Baking Europe(online).  Issue Autumn 2017, pp 20-23.  Available from Baking Europe autumn 2017. Accessed on 13 November 2017