On-the-go gluten-free snacks are popular with consumers. Taking our toolbox under our arm, we tested how to make gluten-free wraps softer, more foldable and easier to process.
By Lone Bæk, bakery application specialist at Nutrition & Biosciences
Gluten-free wraps are frequent bestsellers in Europe’s gluten-free markets, where their convenient flexibility meets consumer demand for on-the-go snacks. In our recent consumer survey , we asked if the quality could be even better. The answer we got was: yes, it definitely could.
At Nutrition & Biosciences, we’ve tested many wrap formulations over the years in our bakery application center. Whether wraps are regular or gluten-free, the considerations are often the same. Is the dough elastic enough for efficient pressing? Are the baked wraps soft and flexible enough for folding around a filling? Is the shelf life long enough?
The difference is that, when you take the gluten out of the recipe, the task of achieving your quality goals is a much bigger challenge.
One of the conditions of gluten-free wrap production is a much shorter shelf life. While regular wraps can keep their appeal for three to six months after production, a realistic shelf life for good quality, gluten-free products is more likely to be around two to three weeks.
Here, the goal is to make sure the wraps keep their soft foldability and pleasant eating quality throughout that time, if possible without any need for heating prior to consumption. Another textural requirement is that the dough is elastic enough to be pressed out to the right diameter during processing.
Successful simulation of the water-absorbing and gelling properties of gluten is key in both cases – combined with a few minor alterations on the processing line.
Adding moistness and structure
For our work with gluten-free wraps, we used a tailored ingredient system previously developed for whole grain and high protein wrap recipes as our starting point. Such recipes are similarly challenged in terms of structure. In our experience, the enzymes, emulsifier and hydrocolloids in the ingredient system benefit challenged dough systems by adding strength and binding water, helping the tortillas stay soft and moist after baking.
The ingredient system had a comparable positive effect in our gluten-free wrap trials. To boost quality further, we have also investigated the effect of various hydrocolloid blends. So far, the best result we’ve achieved is with a combination of xanthan, guar, cellulose and locust bean gum. This supports water absorption, adding moistness and structure and avoiding typical defects, such as a sandy texture and dry, cardboard-like feel.
Regardless of the recipe, gluten-free wrap dough is fragile, sticky and more likely to tear during pressing. Drawing on our processing experience from a wide range of wrap types, we have solved this issue by reducing the pressure in the press and increasing the temperature by 20%. The higher temperature seals the surface of the wrap, making handling easier on the line.
Tailored ingredients and a simply adjusted process can improve the taste, quality and appearance of gluten-free wraps considerably. Another important interest area is nutritional quality. In our lab, we have tested gluten-free wrap recipes with a similar protein, fat and fiber content to regular wraps. You can read more about how we work with the nutritional side of gluten-free baking here .
We used POWERFlex™ 2208 and our new hydrocolloid blend for gluten-free tortilla – both from the DuPont™ Danisco® range – in our trials.
See our other articles on wraps in the Bakery Performance Flatbread Issue.