Pulses – beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils – can be used as a direct replacement for wheat flour in baked goods and significantly increase the amino acid profile of the end product, thus enabling protein claims.
Margaret Hughes, VP of sales and marketing at Best Cooking Pulses, said consumers were familiar with pulses thanks to the boom in snacks, so the potential in bread was huge.
“Consumers are more than ready for pulse bread. In terms of taste profiles, if you look back at baby foods – what is used in baby food? Peas! Pea has a very common taste in people’s mouths,” she told BakeryandSnacks.com.
“Also, the other thing is there have been so many snacks launched recently around chickpeas, beans and peas that consumers are used to it. It’s funny, people used to be concerned about the color of pulses and now they’re asking for more color; more purple, for example. Things change and turn around and what might have, at one time, seemed to be a disincentive actually becomes an incentive.”
Industrial breads made using pulse flours could be a way of improving the overall diet for consumers, Hughes said, particularly with the protein, fiber and other associated health benefits.
“Especially if you think about food service, there’s such a push to get children and adults to eat healthier food,” she said.
“A protein claim can actually be made very economically with the use of pulse flours. For many products, you can supplement with pulse flours at around 15-27% to enhance the amino acid profile and actually have enough quality protein to get a ‘source of’ claim.”
She said pulses also had a rich back catalogue of health benefits, from cardiovascular disease risk reduction to abdominal fat reduction in women.
Hughes said pulse flours worked on a 1:1 replacement ratio with wheat flours and just simply required moisture adjustment.
“The pulses work really well in bread. You do have to actually adjust your moisture because they hold more moisture, which in some ways has advantages for bakers.”