From Gluten-free to Whole Grain: Formulating On-trend Products

March 22, 2017Global Food Forums, Inc.The following is an excerpt from the “2016 Protein Trends & Technology Report: Formulating with Proteins,” sponsored by Arla Foods Ingredients, Amco Proteins, Givaudan, Orochem Technologies, RiceBran Technologies and Synergy. 

Maskus provided formulas using fava beans as the source of pulse flour that they have worked with to produce non-gluten pan bread with higher levels of protein. [For larger PDF of chart, click on image.]

The year of 2016 has been designated the “International Year of Pulses,” stated Heather Maskus, Project Manager at the Canadian International Grains Institute (Cigi), in her opening remarks. Her presentation, “From Gluten-free to Whole Grain: Formulating On-trend Products,” focused upon using combinations of pulses and whole grains to formulate foods—such as cereals, snacks, pastas, noodles, pan bread and crackers—with higher levels of protein.

Maskus noted that pulses are defined as the dry, edible seeds of legume plants and include lentils, peas, chickpeas and beans [but excludes soybeans; soybeans are not a pulse, because their seed is not dry]. Pulses have applications in whole, ground, dehulled, flaked and fractionated forms; the latter is usually produced through air fractionation and wet extraction.

“Pulse flours are nutrient-dense ingredients,” Maskus stated. “They are a high source of dietary fiber (14-25% dry weight) and are a protein source at about 20-30% dry weight.” Pulses are high in lysine but low in methionine and cysteine, while cereal grains are typically the opposite. “Combining pulse and cereal grains is, therefore, of interest to create more complete protein profiles in products.”

Maskus described research that focused on the development of extruded breakfast cereal that use pulses. Pea fiber (6.5%) added to a blend of corn meal (31.5%), and whole pea and semolina flour (56.5%), enhanced extrusion due to its starch characteristics. “The goal for protein levels in pulsebased products is 5g of protein per 30g serving,” she stated.

“However, this blend would not be able to make a protein claim, because the protein digestibility of peas at 87.9 is not high enough.” Maskus indicated that Cigi is continuing this work, using oats and buckwheat as complementary amino acid sources to improve end-product protein quality.

Maskus presented data showing the effects of various milling methods to produce whole yellow pea flour and resulting quality parameters of extruded snacks. She noted that similar formulation principles exist for snacks and cereals. Maskus stated that “extrusion of whole yellow pea flours is more controlled than for the split yellow pea flours. The additional fiber in whole yellow pea flour acts as a nucleation agent and controls air cell size within the final product.”

Pasta was one of the first products investigated for fortification with pulses, due to characteristically low fiber and nutrient contents. Pulse flour milling was undertaken to produce low-, medium and high- (21, 24 and 26.4%) protein content flour and blended with durum semolina (30:70). The advantages of including pulses in pasta include enhanced protein content, quality and nutrient density.

As pulse protein increased, it was necessary to change processing parameters. The challenges, Maskus noted, include sticky dough crumb due to the soluble proteins present in pulses which affect extrusion. Drying cycles should be modified to low temperature-long time to minimize color changes. Maskus stated that a “2% reduction in water addition for yellow pea semolina and the use of a fine semolina pulse ingredient will help to improve the appearance and cooked pasta firmness.” Cooked firmness of the pasta was increased with increasing pulse addition.

Maskus also discussed their work with pulses in flour blends for the development of gluten-free breads. (See chart “Formulation for Gluten-free Pan Bread with Pulse Flours” for products with 30 and 50% fava bean flour that resulted in breads of 5 and 6g protein, respectively.) The breads were also eligible to carry dietary fiber nutrient content claims with 4 and 5g of fiber.

Maskus noted that the gluten-free breads formulated with fava bean flour showed similar loaf characteristics and resulted in breads with a firmer texture and smaller cell diameters compared to the control bread.

“Pulse-based products offer several advantages, including gluten-free potential, as well as a product with higher protein and fiber,” concluded Maskus. “Pulses offer a sustainable protein that is non-GMO with low allergenicity. They can meet many of the requirements for a clean label and have increasing global recognition.”

Maskus went on to note that “challenges include texture, color and flavor, and also meeting protein claims. However, the blending of grain ingredients and processing modifications can solve many of these.”

Heather Maskus, MSc, Project Manager, Canadian International Grains Institute, hmaskus@cigi.ca

Posted on:March 21, 2017

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