Kraft Foods has filed a patent for a new method for a shelf-stable, nutritional whole grain flour for use in cookies, crackers and snacks.
The US food firm’s production method uses less grinding to ensure starch content in the flour avoids substantial damage - often caused in the fine-grinding process needed with whole grains.
The flour is comprised of three fractions – bran, germ and endosperm and Kraft said only portions of the bran and germ are subjected to multistage grinding in order to reduce starch damage. At the same time, it added, that only a small portion of endosperm is subjected to stabilization by heating.
Grinding of flours, Kraft said, tends to increase instability resulting in poor food processing performance.
“The functionality of whole grain flour, especially for cookie, cracker and cereal production can be greatly compromised in terms of dough machinability and cookie spread due to significant amounts of gelatinized and damaged starch in the flour resulting from fine-grinding,” it said.
Kraft’s new production method boasts a more ‘stable’ end flour product.
“Such stabilized whole wheat flours exhibit dough and baking functionalities, and particle sizes approaching those of white refined wheat flour. They may be used in the consistent mass production of highly machinable, sheetable doughs for making baked goods such as cookies, crackers and snacks with excellent oven spread and appearance, and a non-gritty mouth-feel,” it said.
The company said that separation of ground bran and germ avoids repeated grinding of the fractions, avoids starch damage and reduces enzyme release which can cause rancidity.
The method also ensures lower acrylamide and fatty acid content and an “unexpectedly high” retention of natural ingredients like vitamins and antioxidants.
“The finely ground whole grain wheat flour, which contains natural proportions of endosperm, bran and germ as in the intact grain, has unexpectedly low solvent retention capacity (SRC), low starch damage and low degree of gelatimzation, and an unexpectedly long shelf-life.”
Whole grains have soared in popularity across the bakery sector, and according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) include; barley, buckwheat, bulgur, corn, millet, flee, rye, oats, sorghum, wheat and wild rice.
However, Kraft said: “Rancidity is a problem that limits the shelf-life of whole grain flours.”
“As the demand for whole grain products grows, there is an increasing need for a whole grain flour with enhanced shelf stability and expanded food processing capabilities that can also meet the texture, appearance and mouth-feel that consumers prefer,” it added.
The patent was filed under The Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), an international patent law treaty that allows a uniform patent to be considered by signatory national or regional authorities.
National and regional authorities that are signatories to the PCT will now decide whether or not to grant the patent.
For more detailed information on Kraft's invention, see its patent application here .