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How to Extract Gluten From Wheat - Three Easy Steps

Updated on November 24, 2017

Easy to make and easy to use

Did you know that you can extract the gluten from wheat and use it as meat-substitute?  It is an awesome source of protein and can be used in many ways.  It can stretch ground beef, it can replace ground beef, it can be used to season dishes such as spaghetti sauce, sloppy joes, curry dishes, enchiladas, tamales... I'm getting hungry talking about all this food.

Step 1 - Knead the Wheat/Water

Use one part water to two parts freshly-ground whole wheat flour.  Combine water and flour in your bowl, and knead for four minutes in your electric mixer.  Add another quart of water and knead one more minute.  This quickens the separating of the gluten from the starch and bran.  If you do not have a mixer with kneading capabilities, you may mix the water and flour in a bowl, place it in a wet plastic bag and beat it with the broad side of a mallet for four minutes.  

Step 2 - Separate the gluten from the starch and bran

Set your bowl with the dough in the sink and fill it with tap water.  In the other sink, get a bowl with 2-3 quarts of water in it.  Place an empty bowl off to the side.   Do not try to answer the phone during this step - it will be a little messy.  With both hands, squeeze the dough through your fingers until it starts coming apart in shreds.  Take handfuls of dough at a time and squeeze and turn it to wash out the starch and part of the bran in the second bowl.  This bowl will be catching your starch and bran.  When the gluten feels as elastic as chewed bubblegum and barely grainy, place it in the empty bowl.  That is your raw gluten.  Continue until you have gone through all of the dough.  Save your starch water and bran by letting them settle, then pouring the water off the top of the starch and bran.  There are lots of vitamins in here, and the water can be used in soups and stews.  We will talk about what to do with all this stuff very soon!

Step 3 - Bake & grind for quick use

Spread the gluten by patting it out onto a board and cutting it into 1" strips. Bake on a parchment-lined or non-stick baking sheet at 350° for 30 minutes or so. It is ready when when the gluten springs back after being poked with your finger.

After the baked gluten cools, run it through a meat grinder. I use the attachment on my KitchenAid and it works great. If you don't have a meat grinder, you can shred it using a grater with larger holes. This isn't going to give you the same "ground beef" look, but it will work the same and taste the same.

If anyone is interested in turning this gluten into mock steaks or lunchmeat, let me know.

Ultimate Health Food

Did you know that ground gluten is fat free and has 72 grams of protein per cup?   That's a pretty amazing profile.

Calculating Gluten Quantities

Use 16 cups whole wheat flour and eight cups of water to yield about 5 cups of raw gluten, 4-5 cups of bran, and 2-3 cups of starch water.

5 cups of raw gluten, baked and ground, yields 10-11 cups of ground gluten.

2 cups of ground gluten is equal in bulk to one pound of ground beef.

So looking from a cost standpoint, five pounds of 93% lean ground beef costs approximately $19.75, and the equivalent of gluten is approximately $1.93 (that's at 4 lbs of wheat at the Provident Living price of $2.80/5.8lb can).


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    • wannabwestern profile image

      Carolyn Augustine 6 years ago from Iowa

      This looks like a great way to stretch the grocery budget. I saw this demonstrated at a church class and got to sample it. It took on the flavor of whatever it was mixed with. Some people even skip the meat altogether and add a little soy sauce to their spaghetti. Isn't it amazing how nutritious wheat grains are! Another awesome hub!

    • cheapsk8chick profile image

      cheapsk8chick 7 years ago

      Lady Guinevere - exactly! You can still make your own bran flakes, which I will get around to adding (eventually!). If it is an actual allergy, though, I wouldn't try it, but an intolerance should be able to use this method safely. Thanks for the comment!

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 7 years ago from West By God

      Good to know what to throw away for those of us who are glutten intolerant or allergic to the stuff.