A healthy halo with gluten-free fiber

Every fiber counts when meeting consumer expectations for gluten-free bread with a healthy profile, soft crumb and high volume

By Peter Thomson, senior bakery application specialist, Nutrition & Biosciences

Gluten-free is not just about taking something out of a bakery product. For many, it’s also about putting something in – and often it’s fiber. Added to gluten-free bread recipes, fiber both turns up the healthy glow and boosts the soft, moist texture of bread crumb. 

According to a market study by Mintel, 44% of gluten-free consumers in the UK expect the products they buy to be high in fiber. The trend is reflected throughout Europe. From 2014 to 2016, 25% of European gluten-free breads were labelled with an added fiber or high fiber claim.

Invisible fiber for white bread
Bread manufacturers are, of course, no strangers to fiber addition. Many years have passed since our bakery application specialists at Nutrition & Biosciences developed solutions for including ‘invisible’ fiber in white bread without compromising the appearance or taste.

The ingredient we used then was polydextrose, which comprises 80% soluble fiber. Our bakery trials found that polydextrose was a good choice for producing white bread with a high fiber claim.  

It’s just as relevant today for a wide range of gluten-free bakes.

Versatile functionality
Apart from the nutritional advantages, polydextrose has highly versatile functionality. In gluten-free bread or cake recipes, it forms an amorphous, water-binding gel that contributes creaminess, softness and moistness to the final product. In low-moisture products such as gluten-free biscuits, polydextrose acts as a crisping agent – thanks to its high glass transition temperature.

Tests in our application lab show the water-binding influence of polydextrose when added in varying doses to a gluten-free bread dough. Using this information, we can determine the optimum polydextrose dose and water absorption level for each gluten-free bread recipe. 

Hydrocolloids as a fiber source
Our bakery trials confirm that polydextrose alone is not sufficient to give gluten-free bread the soft, stable texture that consumers find appealing. For this reason, various combinations of hydrocolloids are used to fill the gap ¬– typically xanthan, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC), cellulose gum, guar, locust bean gum, pectin and psyllium, which add softness and volume. 

These hydrocolloids are also interesting from a nutritional perspective, as each one of them is a fiber source. Following a recent review of scientific literature, the US Food & Drug Administration has confirmed that all of them satisfy its definition of dietary fiber and may be declared as such on food product labels. 

Influential opinions like that are good news for gluten-free bread, which many consumers associate with better health and a natural image. Every ingredient counts when making gluten-free products with a similar high quality to their gluten-containing counterparts. Fibers that play a nutritional and functional role are a welcome addition.

We used Litesse® polydextrose and GRINDSTED® tailored ingredient systems from the broad DuPont™ Danisco® range for our trials.

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