Upon hydrating and mixing wheat flour, wheat protein forms a network that strongly affects the structure and physicochemical properties of dough, thus affecting the properties of noodles. Different approaches have been taken to alter the gluten network structure in order to control the dough properties. In the current review, we summarize the structure and function of wheat protein, including glutenin and gliadin, and describe food components that may affect noodle quality by interacting with wheat protein. In fact, the ratio of glutenin to gliadin is closely related to the viscosity of dough, and disulfide bonds also contribute to the gluten network formation. Meanwhile, wheat protein coexists with starch and sugar in wheat dough, and thus the nature of starch may highly influence gluten formation as well. Salts, alkali, enzymes and powdered plant food can be added during dough processing to regulate the extensional properties of wheat noodles, obtaining noodles of high quality, with improved sensory and storage properties. This review describes specific methods to reinforce the wheat protein network and provides a reference for improving noodle quality.
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