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Tailoring functional rice flour to different applications
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Tailoring functional rice flour to different applications

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Rice (Oryza sativa) belongs to the family Poaceae ​or Gramineae​, and is one of the most ancient foods in the world, known and cultivated for at least 5,000 years. Rice originated in Asia and most of the world’s production of it comes from that region of the world.

There exist many types of rice; for all of them, the main basic distinction is between brown rice (whole grain) and white rice (in which the bran and germ are removed). While brown rice seems to be more valuable from a nutritional point of view, also because of its higher content in fibres, white rice is the most popular.

Rice is a great source of important nutrients. Carbohydrates are the first element, making up almost 80% of it, while proteins represent approximately 7.5% and fat 1.3%.

The main carbohydrate in rice is called starch, which is made of two long chains of glucose called amylose and amylopectin.

Manufacturers make many products from rice, including rice flour, rice syrup, rice bran oil, and rice milk.

Pregelatinized rice flours made in Italy

Naturis is an Italian company specialized in the development of high added value products that are economically accepted by the market, easy to use and innovative, and based on naturally treated cereals and pulses. The ingredients are versatile and adapt to different applications in the food industry.

Best Matching is Naturis’ line of functional rice and pulses flours.

Pregelatinized rice flours can be used in food preparations to bind, thicken, stabilize, and emulsify. They are 100% natural ingredients for a true clean label.

Pregelatinized rice flours maintain their natural structure and — via a delicate process based on natural elements such as heat, air, and water — are transformed into ingredients with great properties.

The first basic step is to identify the perfect rice variety, knowing the right amount of energy and water to be added, the best dehydration process, and right milling capacity to get the desired performance.

Naturis pregelatinized flours are white, odorless, and disperse easily. They work as functional agents: thickeners, emulsifiers, taste-maskers, viscosity enhancers, and coatings. They can substitute starches and even modified starches. They are “clean” and can be declared as “rice flour”.

Clean-label functional rice flours for a variety of applications

Pregelatinized rice flours are a great ingredient for a range of food applications. For example, being very digestible, they are used in baby foods and infant cereals.

Rice flours can be used as a:

  • raw material: rice noodles, by itself or with corn and legumes
  • basic ingredient: conventional and gluten-free bakery
  • texturing, thickening, or gelling agent: soups, ready meals, vegetable cheeses, candies
  • fat replacer: spreadable products and homemade ice cream
  • filming agent: deep fried products
  • filling agent: fillings for fresh pasta

Rice flours are also great for gluten-free bakery products (bread and derivatives) and for the production of pasta.

The key ingredient in these rice flours is starch. Perfect know-how and expertise in mastering the two entities of starch — amylopectin and amylose — in a way to get the best of the benefits of these chains is fundamental to get a perfect and functional product.

High amylose content reduces stickiness; therefore, extrusion can go faster and with higher yields. Flours with these characteristics are particularly indicated in bakery for the production of bread and derivatives (especially gluten-free), as guarantees the stability and qualitative consistency of the product; especially in gluten-free bread it grants optimal absorption and retention of the water required during the mixing phases.

In the production of gluten-free pasta such flour allows a mechanical workability superior to normal rice flours, thanks to viscoelastic characteristics.

Low molecular weight chains form highly resistant films when used in a batter mix and fried. This coating capacity has been proved to have a good resistance to freeze-thaw process (frozen, fried food) creating a good barrier for moisture loss during the entire life of the finished product. This is how other flours deliver functionality.

Other flours are optimal for increasing the viscosity in any formulation, even after the mix has cooled down. This combination of partially hydrolyzed amylopectin and high values of viscosity (see figure 1, assessing pasting properties of such a flour, Y110) will also provide a nice creamy texture to the final product.

Figure 1: Rapid visco analysis (RVA) index of rice flour Y110

Other flours are well suited to creams, sauces, and desserts, even in challenging manufacturing processes, due to their ability to link fats and proteins.

Naturis Pregelatinized Functional Rice flours are distributed in the US market by Faravelli Inc, the US subsidiary of Faravelli. Faravelli began operating in its native Italy in 1926, before going on to establish a presence in North America in 2014.

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