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Cholesterol lowering bread: Researcher reveals method using whole grain oats

By Nathan Gray , 05-Dec-2012
Last updated the 05-Dec-2012 at 10:24 GMT

Researcher reveals method to produce cholesterol lowering oat bread

A new way to produce heart healthy bread from whole grain oats could help industry create a new area of functional bread products backed by EU health claims, according to new research.

The research, carried out by Laura Flander from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, suggests new ways to produce bread from healthy whole grain oats with high enough levels of beta-glucan per serving for the use of an EFSA approved health claim on cholesterol lowering.

Flander explained that until now the whole grains used in bakery applications have mainly been wheat or rye. However, whole grain oat flour could offer potential for a new variety of bread with high soluble fiber content, in addition to offering the potential to utilize the EU approved health claims on oat beta-glucan, she suggested.

As a result of her investigations into formulating such a bread product, the researcher has now come up with ingredient and process parameters for the optimized texture and taste of an oat-wheat bread, in a way that does not induce extensive degradation of health beneficial beta-glucans.

“The use of an optimized wheat sourdough process in the production of oat-wheat bread provided a feasible method of producing a new type of bread with high beta-glucan content,” explained Flander.

“The use of wheat sourdough did not affect the content or molecular weight of beta-glucan as compared to straight dough bread,” she added. “The amount of beta-glucan in both breads was 1.5±0.1 g/100 g fresh weight.”

“This means that a portion (2 slices, á 34 g) of the bread contained 1.0 g beta-glucan, which is the amount required for a cholesterol-lowering health claim in the EU.”

EFSA, the EU’s food regulatory body, has awarded an article 14 health claim stating that oat beta-glucan “has been shown to lower/reduce blood cholesterol”. The amount of oat-beta glucan required to make this claim is 3 grams per day, with a minimum of 1 gram per quantifiable portion.

Study details

Flander said that whilst the health-promoting properties of whole grain oats have made it a desirable ingredient for use in foods, including bakery and bread products – the absence of gluten-forming proteins in addition to its high fibre content creates a series of technological challenges for the industry when it comes to providing sensory characteristics that will be acceptable to consumers.

She noted that improvements in the fundamental understanding of how oat components impact the structure formation of dough and bread are needed “to facilitate the development of new healthy variants of oat breads with consumer appealing properties”.

The optimized recipe and processing parameters identified by Flander could provide industry with an idea of the baking conditions required for preparing an oat-wheat bread that contains 51% oat by weight of flour mixture, “with good taste and structure as well as long shelf life.”

“The optimal sourdough conditions for enhanced crumb texture and flavour of the bread were achieved by a small addition of wheat sourdough (10 g/100 g dough) which had been fermented at 40 °C for 20 hours,” she said. “The use of optimized sourdough resulted in a bread with similar specific volume and staling rate as the corresponding straight dough bread.”

The full report produced by Flander can be found by clicking here .

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