Science papers and R&D investments are piling high in the gluten-free arena as the trend continues to balloon across industry but where is the money being pumped into?
There are a number of hurdles to jump when developing gluten-free breads, cakes or snacks but two dominant challenges are achieving good quality and high nutrition.
Both of these often work alongside one another and have therefore been reviewed and researched simultaneously in many cases.
Let the bake-off commence…
‘No single ingredient for boosting gluten-free quality’
A scientific review published in the European Food Research and Technology Journal concluded: “A customer-satisfying structure, a high volume and a good taste can only be reached by a composition of replacers”.
The biggest industry challenge will be to discover the interaction of each functional additive with basic ingredients, the review said.
‘Calcium salts stable with addition of inulin’
Research published in the journal of European Food Research and Technology found that calcium content in gluten-free can be upped by as much as seven times.
It found that calcium carbonate was the most effective combined with inulin, with calcium content rising from 0.15 mg/g to 10.85.
“Calcium fortification of such products could increase the calcium content in the celiac patients’ diet, allowing them to obtain the amount of calcium they need to prophylactic or therapeutic use,” the researchers said.
‘Buckwheat flour improves texture’
A study published in the journal Food Hydrocolloids showed that the inclusion of up to 40% of buckwheat flour in formulations had a favorable impact on the leavening characteristics of gluten-free breads.
“The improvements in dough development due to the incorporation of dehulled buckwheat flour can be attributed to an increased viscosity, due to its high dietary fiber content, to the swelling and gelling properties of the buckwheat starch and to the emulsion-forming and stabilizing properties of the globulin protein fraction,” the researchers said.
The study noted that buckwheat also worked to improve the nutritional content of the bread.
‘Lupin cereal plugs health’
A new lupin cereal product was developed in Australia following extensive research from food and technology scientists at Curtin University.
The cereal is gluten-free, high in protein and low in fat and the developers claim it could tackle broad health issues.
The product is not the first on the market but the lead professor Vijay Jayasena told BakeryandSnacks.com that the new product had a higher lupin content at 30%.
“To really reap the full health benefits, a food product should contain at least 20% of lupin,” he said.
‘Rice bran shows potential to improve sensory acceptance and shelf-life’
Published in the Journal of Cereal Science, researchers found that adding rice bran to a rice flour-based gluten-free recipe could improve the sensory acceptance and shelf-life.
The study “clearly demonstrates” the potential of rice bran to enhance the quality of gluten-free breads, the researchers said.
“These results prove that addition of rice bran not only enhances the physicochemical and nutritional profile of the final gluten-free breads, it was also preferred by the panelists over the control bread,” they added.
‘Fruit flours inject fiber into gluten-free’
On-going research conducted by scientists in Ireland has found that apple and orange fruit flours made from the by-product of juice and cider production are highly nutritious.
The senior research officer on the project, Eimear Gallagher, told BakeryandSnacks.com: “These by-product flours are high in dietary fiber.”
She said that further nutritional studies are underway, but it is anticipated that findings will show the flours to be high in antioxidants too.
‘Processing temperatures are as important as ingredients to ensure high quality’
UK research institute Campden BRI told this site at the trade show IBA 2012 that the processing of breads, particularly the baking temperature, is almost as important as selecting the right ingredients for gluten-free breads.
The research institute is evaluating different processing to manage end quality of gluten-free breads.
“We’re looking at more gentle processes such that the bread will hold together,” Charles Speirs, baking science manager at Campden said.
‘Sprouted soybean paste creates high protein and low carb baked goods’
A Hungarian start-up firm Fitorex has a patented sprouted soybean paste that ensures gluten-free baked products that are high protein yet low in carbohydrate content.
Lidia Szabo, sales and marketing manager for the product ‘Yaso’, said the high nutritional content, combined with a low carbohydrate content positions it well to special diets such as diabetics or weight loss management as well as celiac consumers.
‘Chickpea flour ensures good baking and sensory properties’
A study published in the Journal of Cereal Science concluded that chickpea flour has the best potential for replacing soya protein in gluten-free formulations.
“Chickpea bread exhibited the best physic-chemical characteristics and, in general, good sensory behavior, indicating that it could be a promising alternative to soya protein,” the researchers wrote.
The flour also ensured a soft crumb.
‘Inulin has a prebiotic function in gluten-free’
A study published in the journal Carbohydrate Polymers found that inulin can work in gluten-free bakery providing the water binding properties are stabilized.
The water binding properties of inulin lead to changes in dough properties but this can be offset by careful recipe selection.
“In the design phase of gluten-free products with added inulin it is then especially important to choose a preparation with appropriate degree of polymerization (DP) and properly adjust amounts of water used in the recipe,” the researchers said.
‘Potato protein isolates create favorable color, shape and shelf-life’
Research conducted by Dutch ingredients firm Solanic finds that potato protein isolates have the potential to address some manufacturing issues with gluten-free bread.
Paul Hard, manager for gluten-free at Solanic, said: “It [the protein] gives a very fine cell distribution in the bread crumb and looks much more like a wheat bread.”
He said it also ensured a 7-day shelf-life and produced better color and shape.