The increasing prevalence of coeliac disease (CD) and gluten-related disorders has led to increasing consumer demand for gluten-free products with quality characteristics similar to wheat bread. The replacement of gluten in cereal-based products remains a challenge for scientists, due to its unique role in network formation, which entraps air bubbles. When gluten is removed from a flour, starch is the main component left. Starch is used as gelling, thickening, adhesion, moisture-retention, stabilizing, film forming, texturizing and anti-staling ingredient. The extent of these properties varies depending on the starch source. The starches can additionally be modified increasing or decreasing certain properties of the starch, depending on the application. Starch plays an important role in the formulation of bakery products and has an even more important role in gluten-free products. In gluten-free products, starch is incorporated into the food formulation to improve baking characteristics such as the specific volume, colour and crumb structure and texture. This review covers a number of topics relating to starch; including; an overview of common and lesser researched starches; chemical composition; morphology; digestibility; functionality and methods of modification. The emphasis of this review is on starch and its properties with respect to the quality of gluten-free products.
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