Lantmännen raises the stakes for specialised bakes with gluten-free wheat starch

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

 Lantmännen's wheat starch will create bakes with a much larger volume and better ‘grain’ than those using only using wheat flour. Pic: GettyImages/Janine Lamontagne
Lantmännen's wheat starch will create bakes with a much larger volume and better ‘grain’ than those using only using wheat flour. Pic: GettyImages/Janine Lamontagne

Related tags Lantmannen Unibake Wheat flour wheat starch Baking Gluten-free baked goods crumb Texture

Lantmännen Biorefineries has developed a gluten-free wheat starch from autumn wheat harvested in Sweden to capitalise on the growing market for gluten-free baked goods.

Wheat starch result in bakes with a much larger volume and better ‘grain’ than those using only using wheat flour.

A study by Japanese researchers found that cake batters made of wheat flour had 20% less volume and high viscosity than that of wheatstarch.​ When wheat flour was folded into the ‘ribbon stage’ of whipped sugar and eggs, the ‘foam’ volume in the cake batter decreased the initial volume. Use of wheat starch only decreased it to 78% of the initial volume. Cakes baked from the reduced levels of flour tended to collapse during baking and cooling.

Wheat starch also stabilises the structure and texture, creating a loaf with an even crumb.

The ingredient is obviously absent in gluten-free bakes, meaning the stabilising and binding function of gluten must be attained from other ingredients, such as hydrocolloids and fibre.

With the market for gluten-free products growing – today, a greater number of consumers have adopted the diet for reasons beyond just celiac disease - Lantmännen Biorefineries realised the benefits a gluten-free wheat starch would bring to bakers.

A Swedish first

“After several years of development, we can now offer the market a gluten-free ingredient with good baking properties that do not affect the final product’s taste,”​ said Lars Lars Franzén, head of food ingredients, Lantmännen Biorefineries.

“In addition, it is the first Swedish alternative in this fast-growing market.”

Lantmännen Biorefineries’ gluten-free wheat starch is a fine white powder with a neutral taste. When cooled down, it forms consistent and firm gels and contains less than 0.35% protein. It is also non-soluble in cold water and hot welling.

The product has been approved as gluten-free under European directives and is initially launching in the Nordics and northern Europe, where demand for gluten-free baked goods is very high.

The diagnosis of celiac disease (gluten intolerance) in the region has increased significantly, affecting approximately 2% of the population.

The gluten-free wheat starch allows bakers to create the same gamut of luxurious products  in the same formulations they are used to, without gluten.


Properties of Sponge Cakes Made with Wheat Starch

Authors: Toshiko Fujii and Genichi Danno

Nippon Shokuhin Kogyo Gakkaishi, 1988, Volume 35, Issue 10, Pages 684-690, Released 17 February 2011

Lantmännen is an agricultural cooperative owned by 19,000 farmers, a 10,000-strong workforce, operations in over 20 countries and an annual turnover of SEK 45 billion ($4.7b).

The parent company plays host to numerous business arms in agriculture, machinery, bioenergy and food products, one of which is Lantmännen Unibake, one of Europe's largest bakery groups producing leading frozen and fresh bakery products for retail and food service.

In 2020, the unit acquired the production assets from French Bakery Company AS, a Norwegian bakery located in Drammen. The acquisition was a critical step in providing sustainable products and bakery solutions in Norway and meeting consumer demand for locally produced bakery products. 

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