Gluten-free baguettes get formulation boost

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Guar gum, Bread

Combining buckwheat flour and guar gum could lead to the gluten-free French bread with “improved quality attributes”, says a new study from France.

Writing in the Journal of Food Science​, CNRS scientists report that the buckwheat flour-guar gum combination is the optimal for achieving textural and colour characteristics of French bread.

“This study identified the optimal formulation (with 1.9 per cent guar gum total flour basis and 5 per cent buckwheat flour of all flours and substitutes) for the production of gluten-free breads with French bread characteristics, suitable for coeliac patients,” ​wrote the researchers, led by Marie de Lamballerie.

“Moreover, buckwheat flour in the actual base of ingredients (rice and cornflours, corn and potato starches) was found to have interesting improving effects on the quality attributes of the bread.

“As the behaviour of dough is directly related to the role played by the macromolecules, which determine the texture of the final product, then the proteins, starch and non-starch carbohydrates from buckwheat merit thorough investigation,”​ they added.

Gluten-free boom

According to a recent report from Packaged Facts, the gluten-free market has grown at an average annual rate of 28 per cent since 2004, when it was valued at $580m, to reach $1.56bn last year. Packaged Facts estimates that sales will be worth $2.6bn by 2012.

The market researcher said it expected to see a much wider range of gluten-free products on shelves by 2012, and said that this will be driven by companies reformulating existing products for gluten-free acceptability, as well as by releasing new ones.

Formulation à la francais

de Lamballerie and he co-workers formulated various types of bread using different hydrocolloids (carboxymethylcellulose (CMC, Akzo Nobel), guar gum (Danisco), hydroxypropylmethylcellulose (HPMC, Dow Europe), and xanthan gum(Cargill)) and various substitutes, including buckwheat flour, whole egg powder, and whey proteins.

They report that, while the volume increased when guar gum and HPMC were used, and the hardness of the breads increased when these hydrocolloids were used. One the other hand, only guar produced breads with the same colour characteristics as French bread.

The researchers report that since guar gum-formulated breads had the most “heterogeneous cell size distribution”,​ further formulations used only guar gum.

In terms of the flour substitutes, the buckwheat flour bread “had improved quality”​, said de Lamballerie and he co-workers, including increased volume, softer texture, and better colour.

Coeliac disease is caused by an intolerance to gluten - the protein found in wheat, rye and barley - and currently affects an average of one in 300 people in Europe. In Germany the figure is higher at one in 200, while the UK reports a figure of one in 100.

Source: Journal of Food Science​ Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2009.01096.x“Optimization of Gluten-Free Formulations for French-Style Breads”​ Authors: S. Mezaize, S. Chevallier, A. Le Bail, M. de Lamballerie

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