ConAgra introduced the latest flour in its Ultragrain range of flours at IFT last month, showcasing it in a range of whole wheat bakery applications. The new product, dubbed Ultragrain High Performance (HP), is produced using a variety of wheat called Snowmass, which is exclusive to ConAgra, and has stronger gluten than other wheat varieties.
The company claims that through the combination of this particular wheat variety and a patented milling process, it can produce a finished wholegrain flour that looks and tastes a lot more like white flour. The stronger gluten reduces the amount of added vital wheat gluten needed in baked goods by 50% or more, it says, and it absorbs more moisture, resulting in lower costs while improving baking performance and finished product volume.
“It is a hard white winter wheat, but handles like a spring wheat,” said ConAgra Mills’ director of marketing Don Trouba.
He added that the flour can absorb 3-4% more moisture than traditional whole wheat flour, and 8-12% more than refined flour. The stronger gluten also gives it greater mix tolerance, creating a bigger mixing window for optimum dough development, he said.
The company expects the new white wholegrain flour to work well with the ‘make half your grains whole’ message that has been a recommendation under the US Dietary Guidelines for Americans since 2005.
In particular, Trouba said that the flour is likely to appeal to schools looking to improve the nutrition of their lunch menus, especially with the advent of new nutrition guidelines for school foods, which include making more wholegrain foods available.
“We are in a good position to be a leader in school nutrition,” he said.