Calcium salts can be added to gluten-free breads with the addition of inulin without affecting product quality, according to a study.
The findings could increase calcium content in gluten free bread by as much as seven times.
The research published in the European Food Research and Technology journal by Krupa-Kozak et al compared gluten-free bread to samples containing inulin and four calcium salts: citrate, lactate, carbonate and chloride.
It found that calcium carbonate was the most effective in upping calcium content while preserving quality.
“The current research has shown the possibility to obtain good-quality gluten-free bread with inulin enriched with fortified with calcium salts,” said the study.
The researchers used gluten-free bread composed of corn starch, potato starch, pectin, sugar and sunflower as a reference and compared to samples of calcium enriched bread that had 3.9% of corn starch replaced by inulin.
“All experimental breads were significantly richer in calcium than the control one,” they said.
Calcium carbonate recommended
“Calcium carbonate and calcium citrate were the salts that induced an increase in dough consistency during heating and cooling; thus, this dough trend should be recommended for obtaining good quality gluten-free breads,” they continued.
The study authors said that Calcium carbonate breads were the best option as they gave the highest volume and a softer and springier crumb structure.
Calcium content was seen to rise from 0.15 mg/g to 10.85 with the addition of calcium carbonate and inulin substitution.
The health benefits
The study pointed to the derived health benefits of calcium intake including reduced colorectal cancer risk and decresed blood pressure and cholesterol level.
“Calcium is an essential nutrient required in substantial amounts,” said the researchers.
“Generally, gluten-free formulas and baked products are poor in minerals, including calcium.”
“Calcium fortification of such products could increase the calcium content in the coeliac patients’ diet, allowing them to obtain the amount of calcium they need for prophylactic or therapeutic use.”
In the UK, white flour is compulsorily fortified with calcium and accounts for 14% of total calcium intake.
Those with wheat intolerance, coeliacs, are unable to benefit, but this research claims manufacturers can make wheat-free breads with added calcium without compromising quality.