The study funded by the EU Freshbake project and published in the journal Food Chemistry showed that crust water activity, moisture and clearness could be good indicators of the Maillard reaction, a process whereby sugar reacts with the amino acid asparagine to give baked and fried foods their brown color and tasty flavour.
The French researchers involved developed an innovative on-line baking extraction device to study the kinetics of bread baking.
They claim that the acceleration of the Maillard reaction they found in white breads may be as a result of the fructan chains of inulin being degraded, leading to the formation of new low-molecular weight products (glucose, fructose, sucrose and possibly di-d-fructose di-anhydrides) on the crust surface.
“These supplementary saccharides may have then participated in the Maillard reaction and caramelisation of the crust during bread baking. This resulted in breads being baked for a shorter time but having the same overall aromatic quality as those non-enriched and baked for a longer time,” they added.
According to the researchers the addition of fibres, and more particularly the soluble ones, like inulin and oligofructose, to foods might help to prevent diseases like intestinal infections, colorectal cancers, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and type II diabetes.
Currently, bakery, dairy and cereal bars are key growth areas for chicory-sourced inulin, which is a polysaccharide with a flavour range that spans bland to subtly sweet.
There is also growing evidence the soluble dietary fibre can improve the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Riding the functional food wave, food processors and bakery manufacturers are increasingly adding inulin to their formulations to target the European digestive health market that analyst AC Nielsen values at about €2.2bn.
Moreover, Netherlands’s-based Sensus claims that the quantity of inulim that needs to be added to their products is only a small part related to the higher price processors can command for the finished bread product.
Source: Food Chemistry
Published online ahead of print
Title: Influence of inulin on bread: Kinetics and physico-chemical indicators of the formation of volatile compounds during baking
Authors: Prost et al