Hundreds of sprouted grain products have come onto the market touting increased nutrition, but despite the 150+ items launched in the last year the market remained relatively untapped, said Kevin Richter, engineering analyst at Ardent Mills.
Last year, the milling giant launched its own sprouted white spring whole wheat flour – a product that gave more than just nutritional benefits, he told attendees at the AACCI’s annual meeting in Providence, Rhode Island last week.
“Every time that we’ve used this sprouted product it seems like it always has the same benefits – we’ve seen it repeated times for bread baking quality,” he said.
“Sprouting enhances the whole wheat bread baking quality – you can really control different dimensions,” he said.
Improvements in baking quality were a surprise, he said, because sprouted grains were typically associated with improved nutrition and taste. “You always have a health halo with anything to do with sprouted wheat, and you also have a taste change with it.”
Processing promise and flour strength
Ardent Mills ran several tests on its sprouted whole wheat flour and found baking parameters were different when compared to non-sprouted products, Richter said.
For example, there was a 10% decrease in proof time – an issue that related to enzyme activity, he said. In addition, loaf volumes were up to 12% higher.
Sprouted grain flours were more stable, he said. “Looking at the Farinograph, what we saw repeatedly was the sprouting process had increased the stability. We think the kilning is a major effect here.”
This increased flour stability enabled Ardent Mills to significantly decrease the vital wheat gluten content of breads without losing volume, Richter said.
“Sprouted still had that increased loaf volume even with different levels [of vital wheat gluten]. It still stands pretty strong even with no addition of vital wheat gluten.”
Color and taste still favorable
Visually, the sprouted grain flour still held strong compared to baked goods made using regular flour, he added.
Overall bread crumb color was lighter, he said, because the sprouted grain flour itself was lighter.
In addition, taste panel tests found there was decreased bitterness in the sprouted baked goods. “That’s fantastic news; it’s a great story to tell.”