The major functional component within wheat flour is its protein, gluten. The gluten must have good water absorbing properties, elasticity and extensibility. The cereal starch should be readily gelatinised because the production of maltose is important if the yeast is to be able to 'raise' the bread. The precise significance of the gluten varies between bread types. For instance, crackers demand low protein content and weak gluten. Chemically leavened products such as cookies require flours that afford 'shortness': the gluten concentration is low but the starch has good pasting characteristics. By contrast, the baking quality of rye flours is very much determined by the properties of the pentosans and starch.
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