Neither enzymes, starches, hydrocolloids or sourdough can be used alone to replace gluten to improve the quality of gluten-free breads, according to a recent study review.
Andreas Houben et.al concluded that a combination of replacers was required to obtain a gluten-free bread comparable to French bread quality. The review paper was published in the European Food Research and Technology Journal.
The absence of gluten has been found to significantly impact dough characteristics in gluten free breads, making them less cohesive and elastic than wheat breads. This can result in poorer quality products with a short shelf life. The industry is seeking solutions in order to target the growing popularity of gluten-free products.
Combining replacers and understanding relationship
The review said: “The use of one enzyme, of one additional starch, natural or modified, of just sourdough or the addition of just one hydrocolloid can already increase dough and bread quality.
“But a costumer-satisfying structure, a high volume and a good taste can only be reached by a composition of replacers.”
It said the biggest industry challenge was to discover the interaction of each functional additive with basic ingredients.
“Not all functional additives show the same activity and the same result for all starches and flours, so there are no general statements possible.”
Although the review steered away from calling any replacer better than another, it lauded the use of sourdough.
“A great benefit can be further use of sourdough. It increases enzymatic activity and gives next to functional benefit also an additional aroma to the product and elongates shelf life,” it said.
High pressure treatment
Houben et.al also touted the potential of pre-treatment of doughs through high-pressure (HP) processing, a non-thermal step to modify proteins and change the properties of carbohydrates and fats
"This HP works out covalent bondages in the protein network and leads to a gelatinization of the starch; finally, it comes to an increase in dough stiffness and elasticity. The final bread is smaller in size, and its crumb is harder," said the review.
It added that finding the right pressure level was key as oat breads treated at too high or low a pressure can affect quality.
“Next to the right pressure level, it is necessary to find the optimal ratio between increase in bread quality and decrease in staling,” it said.
European Food Research and Technology Journal.
‘Possibilities to increase the quality in gluten-free bread production: an overview’
Authors: Andreas Houben, Agnes Hochstotter, Thomas Becker