By Jan Charles Hansen, principal application specialist, bakery
Sprouted wheat grains are enjoying a revival as a trendy and nutritious alternative to refined wheat flour. According to the Whole Grains Council, sprouted grains are even healthier than whole grains, which for years have been promoted as a prime source of fibre and other nutrients.
In the bakery, they offer an opportunity to introduce more good carbs to bread recipes. Essentially, that means a higher content of fiber, essential amino acids, phenolic compounds and antioxidants, such as vitamin C and tocopherols, than standard whole grains.
Nutrients in reach
The sprouting process also improves the bioavailability of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and neutralizes phytic acid, a substance present in grains which inhibits nutrient absorption.
So, all in all, sprouted grains make good sense when bakery products for a health-conscious public.
Sweeter with no added sugar
But there’s more to them than good nutrition. Another benefit we have noted at Nutrition & Biosciences is that sprouted whole grain flour has a sweeter taste. This is due to the breakdown of starch into simple sugars during sprouting process.
In our trials with sprouted whole grain bread, this natural sweetness cancelled out the slight bitterness typical of standard whole grain breads – improving their appeal with no sugar added.
The addition of our ingredient system ensures the final bread has the long-lasting softness, volume and shelf life of white wheat bread. On many markets, these are still the main attributes that consumers look for. To find out how the ingredient system works, read our previous article on the subject here.
Trusted by consumers
Like quinoa, sorghum, amaranth and other ancient grains that are currently growing in popularity, sprouted grains are as old as the hills. This is a major reason why consumers trust them as a source of natural nutrition.
In 2015, market research by Mintel found, for example, that 35% of UK consumers would be likely to buy bread and other bakery goods with sprouted grains. Similar high interest was expressed when consumers in Italy, Germany and Spain were asked about ancient grains.
Could sprouted grains be the next opportunity to make your product range stand out? Contact me if you’re interested in hearing about our work with sprouted whole grain bread.
Baking trials found that bread made with sprouted whole grain flour has a sweeter taste profile than bread with non-sprouted whole grain flour. Crumb properties, on the other hand, are more similar.