Researchers unlock secrets of making high-quality breads with teff

By Vince Bamford contact

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Teff is considered an 'ancient grain'. Pic: © iStock/derejeb
Teff is considered an 'ancient grain'. Pic: © iStock/derejeb
Bakers need to carefully select ingredients - and adjust bread-making processes – if they aim to produce high-quality breads with wheat and teff flour, say researchers.

A team from the University of Madrid’s School of Agricultural, Food and Biosystems Engineering​ has conducted research to assess the bread-making qualities of teff.

It is an ingredient that, like many other so-called ‘ancient grains’, is of growing interest to bakers and snack manufacturers as it taps key consumer trends: in addition to having high nutritional values, teff is also gluten free.

Researchers looked at two varieties - red and white – and found there are “significant differences​” between them in terms of nutritional value and how the perform in bread mixtures.

Bread quality parameters

They studied the rheological properties of mixtures of teff with strong and weak wheat flour, and looked at bread quality parameters: volume and density crumb structure and analysis of the alveolar structure (crumb).
Results showed differences between the two varieties of teff in protein content, iron and zinc as well as differences in the number and diameter of the alveoli. The red teff reached a high concentration of iron (358.1 mg/kg) and zinc (39.3mg/kg).

teff panes ENG
Cross-section images of the breads made from the different flour mixtures. A) 100 – weak wheat flour- ; B) 85/15-weak wheat flour/white teff-; C) 70/30 – weak wheat flour/white teff-; D) 85/15-weak wheat flour/red teff-; E) 70/30 – weak wheat flour/red teff-; F) 100 –strong wheat flour-; G) 85/15 – strong wheat flour/ white teff-; H) 70/30 – strong wheat flour/ white teff-; I) 85/15 – strong wheat flour/red teff-; J) 70/30 – strong wheat flour/red teff-

The study also highlighted the need for alternative protocols to produce quality breads containing teff, as the ingredient can have a negative effect when used in a mix with wheat.

The baking behavior and structure of wheat flour-based and wheat/teff flour-based breads was remarkably different​,” said the study.

'Careful selection of variety'

It leads us to conclude that production of high-quality wheat/teff breads requires a careful selection of the teff variety to be used but also adjusted bread making protocols that ensure the proper gelatinisation of starch in the blended dough​.”

Researcher María Jesús Callejo added that “due to the specific starch properties of teff, temperature patterns must be modified during the bake to ensure the right starch gelatinization and a proper development of the crumb​”.

She said a possible alternative could be thermal treatment of flour before adding it to the dough.

Source: Journal of Cereal Science 

Volume 68 pages 38-45. March 2016

DOI: 10.1016/j.jcs.2015.11.005

Influence of teff variety and wheat flour strength on breadmaking properties of healthier teff-based breads​”

Authors: Callejo MJ; Benavente E; Ezpeleta JI; Laguna MJ; Carrillo JM; Rodríguez-Quijano M

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