The food major filed international patents for dough to make gluten-free pizzas, pies and cookies. All three doughs contain less than 20 parts per million (ppm) of gluten to align with regulations.
General Mills said while gluten-free mixes were already commercially available for all three product categories, there remained a market need to introduce ready-to-bake doughs because dry mixes had several downfalls.
“These mixes tend to produce doughs and baked products that are not as satisfying as the gluten containing products. For example, the taste, texture and mouth feel of the baked product may not be satisfactory as compared to a gluten containing baked product and the baked product may be dry and have a crumbly and/or gritty texture,” it wrote in the patent filings.
In addition, it said there was a huge desire for increased convenience among consumers. “Consumers enjoy the modern convenience of ready-to-bake products which can go directly from the pantry, refrigerator or freezer to the oven or other associated baking appliance without the need for additional preparation steps and/or the addition of ingredients.”
The cookie dough, for example, was ‘spoonable’ and the pizza and pie doughs ‘workable’, General Mills said, meaning consumers could readily spoon or scoop the cookie dough from the container or roll out and use the pizza and pie dough immediately.
For the cookies, General Mills said 'spoonability’ enabled improved portion control for consumers. “The consumer can simply spoon out as much or as little of the dough as is desired and store the remaining portion in the refrigerator for later use,” it explained.
No easy feat
The development of such products, however, came with a mass of technical challenges, the company said.
“Ready-to-bake gluten-free dough adds additional challenges including shelf stability, dough handling properties and the inability for consumers to adjust or manipulate the ingredients of the dough.”
An additional challenge, it said, was product storage refrigerated conditions for an extended period of time – anything between 75 and 120 days.
Despite these challenges, General Mills said it had developed doughs that tasted as good as their gluten-containing counterparts and could be stored for a long period of time without the need for hermetic or pressurized sealing. The secret? Using a blend of ingredients for the gluten-free flour mix within the dough, it explained.
The cookie dough, for example, could be made with a blend of rice flour, potato starch and a tapioca starch or corn starch; the pizza dough with rice, sorghum and millet flour and tapioca starch; and the pie dough with rice and sorghum flour and potato and corn starches.
It was the blend, it said, that ensured a product with taste, texture and rheology similar to gluten containing products. Importantly, it said a reduction in the amount of rice flour used reduced unwanted gritty texture.
The dough formulations also contained sugars – to help with flavor and water activity reduction. “Useful sugars include saccharides such as monosaccharides and disaccharides,” General Mills said.
For example, fructose, xylose, arabinose and glucose could all be used in the formulation. “Sucrose is present in the ready-to-bake dough to provide sweetness and may affect the spread of the dough during baking.”
Antimicrobials like sorbic acid or potassium sorbate should also be incorporated to inhibit mold or yeast growth, it said, at a level of 0.25-1.5% of overall weight dough.
Flours used in the mix could also be pre-treated to reduce or eliminate microbiological activity.
Source: WIPO Publication Nos: WO/2014/193417 [pizza], WO/2014/193422 [pie] and WO/2014/193421
All filed: May 31, 2013. Published: October 4, 2014 [pizza], December 4, 2014 [pie and cookie]
“Ready-to-bake gluten-free pizza/pie/cookie dough formulations”
Authors: General Mills – M. Dacey and C. O’Oconnor