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Goodness Gracious! Great Balls of Gluten!

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    The Exploratorium

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Goodness Gracious! Great Balls of Gluten!

This is an activity about a very important ingredient in most baked goods - gluten! Why is gluten so important? Without it, there would be nothing to hold the gas that makes bread rise. Learners will experiment with different types of flour to get a feel for gluten, and discover why using different flours can lead to such different results in the kitchen.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Any combination of the following flours: whole wheat flour, bread flour, all-purpose flour, pastry flour, gluten flour, instant flour
  • water (1/2 to 3/4 cup for each flour you’ll be using)
  • bowls (one for each flour you’ll be using)
  • an oven (optional last step)


  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All Rights Reserved, Exploratorium,

Funding Source:

  • National Science Foundation, 978-1559535403


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