A Reduced-Gliadin Wheat Bread Suitable for Celiacs?

Making Bread Series 009 If you have celiac disease, you almost certainly miss bread and other specific foods that have been hard to replace with ingredients that don’t contain wheat gluten. Scientists do know that the parts of wheat gluten called gliadins trigger reactions in people with celiac disease. There are specific pieces of the gliadins that cause trouble, and the amino acid sequence of these pieces in also known. If it were possible to grow wheat without these pieces, it would theoretically be safe for people with celiac disease.

The problem with gluten-free food is that gluten and its gliadins are actually responsible for many of the properties of wheat (as well as a number of other grains) that make it behave in the way it does. Wheat flour has specific attributes that make the texture and taste of bread people are used to, and this has been difficult to replace. In a recently published article, agricultural scientists from Italy explained that wheat’s ability to make bread and other food items “…is a consequence of the unique viscoelastic properties of wheat dough, which allow the entrapment of CO2 during fermentation, enabling the preparation of leavened breads and other baked products.”

Only specific pieces of the gliadins cause trouble. If it were possible to grow wheat without these pieces, it would theoretically be safe for people with celiac disease

Both rice and corn flour can be used to make gluten-free bread and other items, but they are disappointing in terms of texture and flavor. Flour from ground nuts has also been made. Cooks and nutritionists have tried mixing various groups of ingredients in order to make pasta, bread, and other staples traditionally made with wheat. These do not replace the real thing, although there are now so many people and companies working on this that gluten-free foods are much improved over what was available in the past.

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For these reasons, food scientists are trying to find a way to make gliadin-free or reduced-gliadin wheat that can still make bread. People with celiac disease are only able to eat completely gluten-free foods, but reducing the gliadin content is a step in the right direction. Since there are also drugs being researched that help more completely break down glutens and gliadins in the intestine or keep them out of the circulation, it could be possible in the future for those with CD to eat reduced-gliadin wheat along with one of the drugs to eliminate whatever gliadins remain. For those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), reducing the gliadin content might be enough to eliminate symptoms. PBL_Technology

The agricultural scientists recently published a study detailing their success in making good bread from specific kinds of reduced-gliadin wheat. The wheat produced was baked into bread that was very similar in quality to regular wheat bread. Their research included analysis of the taste, texture and properties of bread made from their wheat, compared to normal wheat and rice flour. Replicating the important properties of wheat as closely as possible was their goal.

Gluten free flours made from things like rice, corn, and nuts still can’t match the texture and flavor of wheat flour

The scientists used grains with low gliadin content that have already been developed. They originated from strains of wheat that exist naturally, so-called wild wheat. One is a line from Triticum strains of wheat that has a natural variability in its gluten/gliadin content. Continuing to grow and breed strains derived from this wheat has led to a strain with even lower gliadin content. Additionally, scientists used a specific method to delete certain gene sequences which code for gliadins in other wheat strains. This entailed using RNA (which sends messages to genes) to “down-regulate” genes that make gliadins in wheat, yielding another low-gliadin strain. It has taken many years to develop these wheat strains, but at this point the researchers believe that they have two kinds of low-gliadin wheat that has not lost all of its viscoelastic properties and can still be baked into satisfying bread.

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They used the two described strains of wheat in their original forms (wild type) and their reduced-gliadin forms plus standard rice flour to bake loaves of bread. They analyzed the properties of the flour from these wheat strains with both scientific tests as well as taste tests. Taste tests are important, because the goal is to find an acceptable substitute for normal wheat that people with CD will enjoy, and this cannot be proven by strictly scientific methods. Trained “assessors” were used to sample the breads.

Analysis included:

  • Physical characteristics of baked bread, including appearance, volume, and shape.
  • Taste of the bread by 11 trained bread assessors, who evaluated the breads’ appearance,aroma, flavor, and overall acceptability.
  • Nutritional content, specifically amino acid content.
  • Microstructure of the bread and bread crumbs viewed by electron microscopes.
  • Total gluten and gliadin content.

Both of the reduced-gliadin wheats produced breads that were acceptable to the assessors and similar in many ways to the breads from the wild strains. Both were considered much better than bread from the rice flour. Measurable physical characteristics corresponded well with the assessors’ results.

The researchers also discovered that the lysine content of the reduced-gliadin flour was higher than that of the wild flour. Lysine is an essential amino acid which the human body cannot make. Its presence in the modified wheat indicates good nutritional content.

It is believed that 50 mg a day is the most gluten that people with celiac disease can safely eat

The amount of gliadin or gluten that can be consumed safely by people with celiac disease has been estimated by other researchers. It is believed that 50 mg a day is the most gluten that people with celiac disease can safely eat over a prolonged period of time. This would correspond to 43.6 grams to 66.9 grams a day of the two reduced-gliadin breads, some 30 times more than the original wheat bread. The investigators also produced data indicating that the gliadin still present in the bread causes less reaction than what is in wild wheat, so that even more might be safe to eat. However, all of this is speculative.

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It is very good to know that there is a way to develop bread lower in gluten that still tastes like bread. How safe it is still needs to be studied. It seems possible that reduced-gliadin wheat along with one of the drugs in development might be a safe combination for people with celiac disease that would allow them to eat food that is more satisfying than some of the currently available choices.


Gil-Humanes J, Pisto´n F, Altamirano-Fortoul R, Real A, Comino I, et al. (2014) Reduced-Gliadin Wheat Bread: An Alternative to the Gluten-Free Diet for Consumers Suffering Gluten-Related Pathologies. PLoS ONE 9(3): e90898. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090898.

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  1. Hi,
    Looking for the flour which can make gravy. I tried coconut, but it was very gritty and I had to throw the gravy away. What can I use.

  2. If you look under our Recipes tab in the Sauces/Savory Sauces section you’ll find a tasty gravy recipe.

  3. the only bread really that i like is udi’s raisen bread or rudies and toasted…i had a hamburger when we went to n.carolina at one of the restaurants and the bun was really good..why they can’t make it that is is beyond me…it was soft and good..and last year in danville ky…we went to a restaurant and chef made me rolls and they were like the wheat ones..soft and very good..restaurants here don’t even serve you bread and if they do of some kind of bread..they charge you for it…..tks..just wanted to see if anybody else had this same experience…

  4. We just tried Barilla Gluten Free Rotini and were we pleasantly surprised! It has the texture of wheat and a great taste!!!

  5. corn starch works very well , use about 1/4 of the amount of flour you would normally use , make a rue or mix in water first so you don’t get lumps

  6. What about using the wheat that was grown in the 1940’s and 50’s BEFORE!!! ‘they’ tampered with it in a lab? Did we all have ‘celiac disease’ then?? I would recommend you read the book “Wheat Belly” by William Davis, MD for an understanding of what has happened to this good grain in the last 50+ years.

  7. I have always used cornstarch for thickening my gravy. If mixed first with water it does not go lumpy.

  8. I use rice flour but to keep it from being gritty, it must simmer for a little while (as if you are cooking rice) to absorb the liquid to soften it. Makes great sausage gravy with my gf biscuits.

  9. Yes I use Corn starch for my gravies also,

    Now is there any list of meals that are easy to prepare like for , breakfast , dinner and supper . Then I don’t have to look all over for this meals.

  10. If you look under our Recipes tab you’ll find everything broken up into a number of categories, so it should make it a bit easier to pick and choose what to make for your meals. Your comment has perfect timing actually, we are in the process of creating some Meal Plans, so stay tuned!

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