Whole grain alternatives to wheat open doors to high-fibre bread that consumers will notice.
Healthy, whole grain bread may have grown in popularity but, outside Scandinavia or Northern Germany, consumers still generally expect a taste and texture comparable to white wheat bread.
The combination of a good nutritional profile with the right sensory and shelf life quality is one of the big challenges of industrial bread production today. So how do you get around that to make your healthy bread stand out in the store?
At Nutrition & Biosciences, that’s a question we’ve spent a lot of time on – particularly opportunities to produce appealing bread with rye and oat flour either as an alternative to wheat flour or in combination. With a fibre content ranging from 10-15%, where rye is the most fibre rich, these flour types are the most widely available to Europe’s healthy bread sector.
Ancient whole grains, including amaranth, teff, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, kamut and sorghum, are other possible additions.
Process and formulation needs
Whole grain bread is a dense, compact experience when made by the standard procedure for white wheat bread. Volume is low and shelf life severely compromised compared to white bread due to the crumb’s rapidly developing dryness.
Some quality improvement can be achieved through process and formulation adjustments – gluten addition, water level adjustment and increasing the mixing time and proofing temperature. But, even with these measures, sensory and shelf life quality still fall short of consumer preferences.
Knowledge opens doors
In our research work, we have studied the effect of gluten, ascorbic acid, emulsifiers and enzymes in various combinations. This knowledge has opened doors to optimising the process and formulation of whole grain breads and overcoming the final hurdles.
One of the challenges is the differing mixing profiles of whole grain flours. Before we can formulate the right ingredient solution, we have to know how the flours perform during mixing.
Using a farinograph, we have analysed the performance of whole grain wheat, rye and oat flour against standard wheat flour. The results show that rye flour behaves similarly to wheat flour at the start of mixing but rapidly loses viscosity once maximum viscosity is obtained, causing the dough to become sticky.
Dough made with whole grain wheat or oat, on the other hand, needs a longer mixing time to obtain maximum viscosity but is more stable during mixing.
Differentiation made easier
Understanding how different flours behave makes it easier to optimise whole grain formulations with enzyme-emulsifier systems and other supporting ingredients. It also makes lighter work of product differentiation. Bakers can, for example, choose to make bread with 100% rye, 50% oat or a combination of rye, oat and whole grain wheat and still deliver a desirable texture and shelf life. Oat is of particular interest for healthy bread positioning as bread containing 50% oat, based on the total flour content, is eligible for an EFSA-approved heart health claim.
National legislation varies regarding the whole grain content necessary for bread to qualify for a whole grain label. But, with today’s knowledge, no legal requirement is too great to produce the kind of fibre bread that most consumers prefer. Creating outstanding healthy bread from alternative grains is a realistic option.
Our studies made use of GRINDSTED® Fiberline 101 for bread based on rye flour and whole grain flour blends, GRINDSTED® Fiberline 103 for 50% oat bread and GRINDSTED® Fiberline 105 for whole grain wheat bread.
A study of whole grain flour behaviour
Different flours have very different dough characteristics. One reason is their mixing profile. As our farinograph analysis shows, the time taken for rye flour to reach maximum viscosity is considerably faster than that of oat and whole grain wheat flour. The ability of flour to maintain stability has a major impact on the handling properties of bread dough on an industrial bakery line.
Understanding and supporting this stability is very important, especially in whole grain flour and flours with low or weak gluten development.