activity

What is gluten, and how does it work? Find out in this flour-powered activity.

safety
  • No safety considerations
difficulty
  • Beginner
time
  • 40 minutes

hey curious cook—

Have you heard about our Young Chefs’ Club? Members get a themed (and kid-tested) box delivered each month!

Prepare Ingredients

¼ cup (1¼ ounces)
all-purpose flour, plus extra for counter
Water
¼ cup (1¼ ounces)
white rice flour, plus extra for counter

Gather Equipment

Masking tape
Marker
2
small bowls
2
spoons
1-teaspoon measuring spoon
Plastic wrap
1
 

Use masking tape and marker to label 1 small bowl “Wheat Flour” and second small bowl “Rice Flour.”

 
2
 
¼ cup (1¼ ounces)
all-­purpose flour
5 teaspoons
water

In bowl labeled “Wheat Flour,” use spoon to stir and press together all-purpose flour and 5 teaspoons water until shaggy dough forms, about 1 minute.

 
3
 
All-purpose flour for counter

Sprinkle counter with extra all-purpose flour. Transfer dough to counter. Use your hands to gather dough into loose ball and knead dough until smooth, 3 to 4 minutes. Shape dough into ball and wrap with plastic wrap. Return wrapped dough to bowl labeled “Wheat Flour.”

 
4
 
¼ cup (1¼ ounces)
white rice flour, plus extra for counter
5 teaspoons
water

Repeat steps 2 and 3 with rice flour and water in bowl labeled “Rice Flour.” Let both doughs rest for 10 minutes.

 
5
 

Make a prediction: Do you think the wheat flour dough and the rice flour dough will behave the same or differently when you try to pull them apart? Why?

 
6
 

After 10 minutes, unwrap ball of wheat flour dough. Use your hands to gently pull dough apart until it breaks (see photo, below). Repeat with rice flour dough.

 
7
 

Observe your results: What happened to each type of dough as you pulled it apart? Did they behave the same or differently? How so? Which dough could you stretch farther?