Is there wheat without gluten? Someone asked me this recently. It sounds like an attractive option (if it exists) – that way you could make all the recipes you’re used to with this special wheat flour, but be safe if you have celiac disease or a gluten allergy. Perfect for the gluten free diet!
Someone asked me this very question a while ago, so here’s my answer:
There are a few problems with the idea of wheat without gluten.
The biggest and most basic is that wheat without gluten is kind of useless.
Gluten is the defining characteristic of wheat. It provides strength and elasticity. That’s why you can kneed bread, roll ultra-thin phyllo pastry, and create the perfect croissant.
Sorry, I’m probably making your mouth water about now for food you can’t eat. Bummer.
Take the gluten out of wheat and you have something much more like rice.
Problem number two with gluten-free wheat is that it would either have to be genetically engineered (don’t get me started on the evils of genetic engineering) or processed.
You can get processed wheat – wheat bran, wheat starch etc. None of it is very useful for baking though, is it? That’s because it lacks gluten, as we discussed above.
So in answer to the question “is there wheat without gluten”: no, there isn’t, and if there was, it wouldn’t be useful to you.
What do you do instead? Get used to life without wheat or gluten. Learn to love different types of food. Accept that there are some wonderful types of food that you can no longer eat. Actually, I’ve reclassified fancy pastries. They’re no longer food, they’re art.
There is baking that used different types of flour and gums to simulate gluten. You can get amazing results, even if you have to forgo some of what you’re used to. I’ve seen huge leaps forward in the last 20 years.
PS If you were hoping I’d tell you about gluten-free wheat, I’m sorry to disappoint you by telling you there isn’t any.
Good luck with your gluten free diet, and avoid that wheat!