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By Mark Anthony, Ph.D., Contributing Editor | 02/02/2011
For its gluten-free solution, American Key Food Products (www.americankeyfood.com) turns to the cassava root. King Lion Cassava Flour can be used as a single flour solution, eliminating the need to blend with other flours in most applications. It differs from both tapioca flour – which often is just tapioca starch -- and even other cassava flours on the market, which often are course cassava meal. King Lion has a finer particle size, similar to that of wheat four.
Quinoa, a seed plant related to beets and spinach rather than a true grain, has experienced a geometric increase in popularity based on a confluence of events. First, the grain benefited from better processing that accounts for its penchant to go rancid quickly, leading to a bitter taste.
The gluten-free trend has shifted more emphasis to such "pseudo" grains. Also, the increased focus on protein as a high-satiety fat replacer and energy provider makes the high-protein quinoa seed a boon. Finally, growers in South America have been able to pull whole villages out of grinding poverty by feeding the rapidly increasing demand. So much so that cooperatives of quinoa farmers saw prices increase by 67 percent, and Whole Foods and Trader Joes stores are forecasting shortages in providing consumers with quinoa and quinoa products.
Flours for future baking include not only grains other than wheat, but also starches from nongrain sources. "Novel flours from barley and pulses are what's new in the baking industry," states Linda Malcolmson, manager of special crops, oilseeds and pulses at the Canadian International Grains Institute (www.cigi.ca), Winnipeg, Manitoba. "These flours are functional ingredients since they deliver enhanced nutrition and unique functional properties. Inclusion of barley and pulses flours in formulations allows manufacturers to achieve products with enhanced nutritional benefits."
"Gluten-free remains a strong target," says Malcolmson. "Gluten-free bakery products are more difficult than other food products since development of gluten is important in achieving the structure of baked goods. Thus, to achieve satisfactory baked products, adjustments to the processing and ingredients are necessary. Flours such as pulses, rice and corn can be used to achieve gluten free bakery products."
"Not only does the gluten-free market continue to grow, but consumers are also demanding an improvement in product quality and nutrition," says Brook Carson, technical products and market development manager at ADM Milling (www.adm.com), Decatur, Ill. Last year, the company launched its Harvest Pearl white sorghum and white whole-grain sorghum flours for use in multigrain and gluten-free applications.
Gluten mixed with water will produce an elastic and porous web, which is capable of trapping the gas bubbles that leavening agents produce allowing the product to raise. Technicians at Gum Technology Corp. (www.gumtech.com), Tucson, Ariz., say the gums in Coyote Brand Stabilizer ST-101 mimic this function.
"The addition of ST-101 to gluten-free flour provides a replacement for the protein strands created in gluten development," says R&D Chef Sarah Martin. "This allows the bread to trap the gases from the expanding yeasts and the cell structure of the original bread is recreated."
In baked goods, Stabilizer ST-101 also binds moisture (reducing staling), improves cell structure, increases dough pliability and improves freeze/thaw stability. Some hydrocolloid gums work better together than they do apart, she says, noting that ST-101 is a synergistic blend of xanthan gum and guar gum.
Clean & green
To make their fare healthier, bakers often reduce calories, sugar and fat, while upping fiber and water. But they also are seeking natural ingredients to replace chemically produced ones. "Mold inhibitors are needed to help delay the growth of mold on bread products and help extend shelf life," Shelke points out. "AB Mauri Fleischmann's (www.fleischmannsyeast.com), Chesterfield, Mo., introduced Nabitor, an effective and synergistic all-natural mold inhibitor."
Another way bakers address consumer preference for chemical-free formulations can involve replacing undesired ingredients with enzymes. And specialty proteins can be used to improve dough handling while eliminating the "unnatural" ingredients, adds ADM's Carson, pointing to the company's Prolite wheat protein isolates as a popular natural example.
For most consumers, MSG is decidedly label unfriendly. Researchers at LycoRed Ltd. (www.lycored.com), Orange, N.J., have developed an all-natural taste enhancer and salt reducer ingredient called SANTE, an acronym for Super Advanced Natural Taste Enhancer. Derived from tomatoes, it has a strong umami flavor and is ideal for crackers, snacks and other savory baked products. LycoRed's extensive application research and multiple test trials showed Sante can replace MSG in a one-to-one ratio and substitute for 30-50 percent of salt in foods. The ingredient is readily soluble and highly stable in high temperatures.
Nothing says clean label in baking like trans-fat free. "I believe bakeries are most interested in knowing if a trans-free, all-purpose shortening can be made to replace the traditional partially hydrogenated oils," says Don Banks, president of Edible Oil Technology Inc., Dallas. "Now it's possible to make trans-free shortening for essentially any bakery application.
"However, the range of performance for individual trans-free shortening products will not be as great as for traditional all-purpose shortening," he continues. "Bakeries making a wide range of products will likely find it necessary to use multiple types of trans-free shortening to replace and match the performance of a single all-purpose shortening previously used."
But St. Louis-based Bunge Oils (www.bungenorthamerica.com) answers that call with a line of shortenings and oils introduced at the International Baking Industry Exposition (IBIE) last September. The UltraBlends EIE line consists of soybean-based products, which undergo enzymatic interesterification to eliminate trans fat and optimize saturated fats while delivering functionality and great taste. They have a wide plasticity range and have a more consistent SFC Curve, creating less variability in firmness of the dough.
Also at IBIE, Cargill debuted Clear Valley omega-3 shortening, an industry-first shortening to help bakeries differentiate their products by allowing a potential FDA health claim for ALA omega-3.
Qualisoy (www.qualisoy.com), St. Louis, provides "enhanced trait" soybean oils to match a variety of baking needs. These include soybean oils with low-linolenic acid content that maintain traditional performance of regular soy, but with added flavor stability to soybean oils high in oleic acid. High oleic soybean oil also provides increased oxidative stability and reduced saturates.
The Plenish line from Qualisoy contains more than 75 percent oleic acid and 20 percent less saturated fat than commodity soybean oil. "The high oleic soybean oils are trans fat-free oils that can be used in any of the applications that previously utilized high-stability oils produced by hydrogenation and winterization," says Banks. And high omega-3 soybean oils contain about 20 percent omega-3 fatty acid. "Early reports are that the new omega-3 soybean oil performs comparably with regular soybean oil in bakery applications," he adds.