Gluten Free Glue

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Struggle:

We like to be challenged here in the test kitchen. Sometimes these challenges lead to failures and other times they lead to successes. Sometimes the challenges don’t come from our own testing rather they come from understanding the testing others have done. This week we wanted to tackle some gluten free breads that don’t often have the best outcome. Gluten free breads need to be dealt with by a delicate hand. More often than not gluten free breads start in a batter state, the mixing methods and handling differ greatly from traditional breads. But this week we found a great tip in the Modernist Bread book. They use meat glue in their gluten free breads and the results were stunning. But of course we needed to ask, does it really work?

“Does meat glue improve gluten free breads?” 

The Testing

This week we were doing research about gluten free breads. We came across this little hack in the Modernist Bread book and it was really interesting. Their gluten free breads didn’t really look like the gluten free breads we have made or seen before. The rise and crumb structure were beautiful. Then we say things like Pizza and Bagels that looked amazing. If you have ever tried to make a gluten free pizza crust, it generally is a batter spread into a circle shape and baked. It’s always gummy and only resembles pizza in the sense that it’s circular. One thing that you will almost never be able to do is roll out pizza crust. As for bagels well look at the shape, a bagel is this perfectly circular bread with a dense but light oxymoronic crumb structure. How could you possibly attain that with a batter? We decided to use our own blend of gluten free flour, gluten replacement and sodium caseinate in place of the milk powder. The sodium caseinate works better with the transglutaminase. We gave this a shot, because we needed to know. 

The first recipe we attempted was pizza crust. When we made the “dough” we figured this was a complete bust. This was a batter, My colleague Derek and I gave each other a look as if to say “this is a waste of time”. We went about the proofing process, I had pretty much written this off. Moved onto my other testing with this in the background. About 45 minutes later Derek called me over and said “it’s solid”. I asked him what he meant and he showed it by turning the mixing bowl over like a Dairy Queen Blizzard artist. The batter had formed into a perfect solid form. We dusted a prep table and divided up the dough. Just feeling the dough we could tell there was something special about it. We rolled it out and as per most gluten free breads the edges cracked a bit, but the dough was rolling out. This was really amazing, we dusted a pizza peel, gathered up some toppings, and popped in in the oven. It worked, we didn’t really understand how, but it worked.  So we moved on to the bagels, the first batch we screwed up the recipe and accidentally added 110% water rather than the 70% the recipe called for. This mess didn’t look like a batter, this was soup. We hadn’t realized our mistake yet because we were riding high from the pizza. The mixture set up quickly and we gave it an hour to proof.  We were able to form really nice bagels with this mixture. The only issue came with baking as they flattened out a bit. The real silver lining is that we saved some of this dough and made another pizza. The 110% hydration dough rolled out beautifully although it was a bit delicate. When we cooked it up it became so light and crispy we were thrilled. This testing was an absolute success. The next batch of bagels came out beautiful. With a little more testing these recipes will be ready to go and we cannot wait to bring them to you 

“How was this possible? How do the meat glue and sodium caseinate work together to make such great gluten free breads?”

The Understanding

The sodium caseinate as we covered last week is a protein from milk. This protein is water soluble. Sodium caseinate and transglutaminase are hydrated by the water in the recipe. As they are hydrated the transglutaminase begins to bond proteins (glutamine and lysine) in the sodium caseinate. These proteins which have occupied the water in the recipe begin to solidify without the need to be heated. The gluten free flour, gluten replacement give the same great structure to the interior of the dough but now with another helping hand. This allows for a dough that is able to be worked into whatever shape you desire. This is such a simple solution that’s amazing to see in action. There are a number of recipes that can now be made possible. We look forward to trying tons of recipes with this amazing gluten free hack.

Ready to get Cooking?

Stay tuned, in the coming weeks we will have more research and recipes available! In the mean time check out our Spectacular Gluten Free Sourdough recipe! This gluten free sourdough knocks it out of the park with a beautiful crust and soft, chewy crumb. The addition of a pinch of lactic acid enhances the unique tang of sourdough flavors. Enjoy it fresh and hot with soft butter or book-ending your favorite sandwich.



  • Julie Tittler
    May 11, 2020 9:45 pm

    I challenge you to fix the texture of gluten free breads based on nut, vegetable, and fruit flours. That’s the kicker. It’s important for those following keto and diabetics.

  • Super excited to hear more about this

  • Margaret Morris
    November 14, 2020 2:07 pm

    How would you achieve a flaky gluten free daily pastry as in a Jamaican patty dough?

  • Other than the TVP is all the other stuff in the Plant based chicken gluten free? Trying to find plant based Chicken Gluten free is literally impossible so I want to make it myself but the ingredients you have down some I can not find out if it is gluten free.

    • TVP does not contain wheat, it is a soy product. TWP contains wheat. You can make the plant-based chicken with either TVP or TWP, the texture will be different. We prefer TWP texture for plant-based chicken but it’s certainly adaptable.

  • André Fontaine
    July 30, 2021 7:35 am

    That picture from your 2021-07-28 chaffle email… are they really gluten-free breads? they look…. too good to be true ( as i have seen on many blogs ).
    I am very interested in your recipes. Are they directly from the Modernist Bread ( I do have the “books” lol!)? what tweeks did you come up with?
    I am still looking for the elusive gluten-free puff pastry and croissants 🙂

    • Cole Whitney
      July 30, 2021 4:33 pm

      Yes! This recipe was created here in the Modernist Pantry test kitchen!

  • André Fontaine
    July 30, 2021 7:46 am

    me again… where are the recipes that make use of the sodium caseinate and transglutaminase Ti ? I looked at your gluten-free sourdough bread….. spectacular is the picture you included in your email…. not the one with your recipe. Sorry to be critical…. always looking for improving…

  • Denise Wellington
    October 20, 2021 12:10 pm

    Does the use of the sodium caseinate and transglutaminase work in other bread recipes?

    • Yes, these ingredients can work on other bread recipes. With all things, testing is required to get your final desired texture.

  • For those that cannot have dairy but are not vegan – has it been tried to use another protein in place of the sodium caseinate? Something such as soy protein, pea protein, egg white powder? Are the results the same?

    • Egg white powder and faba bean protein are suitable replacements. We know they will work as they are in our catalog of products, but we have not developed a specific recipe. This is a great idea and could be something we tackle in the future, stay tuned!

  • What would you recommend to fry onions in to make a gluten free “French Onion” topping for green bean casserole?

  • Elizabeth Porcher
    December 1, 2021 2:49 pm

    Hi there. I am new to GF baking. Last my Christmas cookies were a total bust. (Ice Box cookies, shortbread, sugar cookies) It was embarrassing and an expensive waste of time. They all tasted like gf flour and stuck to the roof of the mouth. I mostly have all purpose gluten free flour (Bob’s Redmill in Blue Bag, Cup for Cup and a bit of Dove’s free from that I paid wayyy too much for). Do you have any tips to help. Could I use expandex for GF Shortbread cookies with cornstarch and Icing Sugar?

    • You could try the expandex idea, unfortunately we have not done any texting on gluten free cookies. Some great resources we use for gluten free baked goods is America’s Test Kitchen, or Chefsteps.

      We like where your heads at, and will look into developing our own gluten free cookie recipes in the future, stay tuned!

      • There is a simple flour substitution for gluten free baking that is in the form of cookies/cakes/muffins. It is 2 cups superfine brown rice flour**, 2/3 cups potato starch (NOT flour), 1/3 cup tapioca starch/flour. When baking substitute this for your regular flour and add 1/2 tsp xanthan gum per cup of flour used. The dough is a little more delicate for roll out cookies but does beautifully in just about everything else. I have been baking gluten free for many years and this recipe beats out pretty much any pre-made mix you can buy!

        (authentic foods is the only one that sells this but I have found Anthony’s brown rice flour is a good substitute. Authentic foods also does sell this exact blend its called “GF )

  • My kid loves Trader Joe’s GF pumpkin bagels, but the are only in stores from halloween till about xmas. I checked the ingredient list, and it contains some pumpkin puree and pectin. If I want to experiment with your GF bagel recipe, how would i measure the extra ingredients? I was thinking of 2 TB pumpkin puree (decrease water by 2 TB?) and 1 tsp pectin? Any ideas would be much appreciated.

    • The 2 Tablespoon substitution sounds like a good starting point. We would suggest diluting the puree into the remaining water before adding it to the gluten free flour to ensure an even mixture. You can experiment with our recipe and if you feel it needs more stability you can add pectin at about 1% of the total weight of the gluten free flour.

Comments are closed.