Sprouted grains bring in the good carbs

Consumers trust ancient alternatives to refined wheat flour in bread.

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 DuPont 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.

The ingredient systems used in our trials are GRINDSTED® Fiberline 3106 and GRINDSTED® Fiberline 105 from the DuPont™ Danisco® range.

 

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.

Healthy Bakery Solutions

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The challenge for the bakery industry is to find new ways to reach out to consumers. Many of the big brands are already taking the first steps. Their strategy is to appeal to the one thing that concerns Western consumers most – their health.

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Bread prices have come under huge pressure in European markets where discount supermarket chains have revolutionised the retail grocery landscape in recent times. Along with the free-falling bread consumption that some markets face, this has created serious issues for industrial bakers.

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Sometimes the inspiration for new bakery concepts comes when you least expect it – and least of all when attending a university seminar on brewing beer. Nevertheless, it was a story about ancient Mesopotamian beer that inspired our concept for a nutritious breakfast biscuit called bappir.

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Market data from Mintel shows that new tortilla and wrap products accounted for more than 25% of all new product launches in the bread segment in 2015 – a figure that reflects several years of continuous growth. Wraps are particularly popular among younger consumers and consumers on high incomes.

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Every balanced diet needs a good portion of carbohydrates. The recommendation of the European Food Safety Authority is that carbohydrates should account for 45-60% of our total energy intake.

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If you don’t want your bread products to compete on price alone, you’ve got to focus on quality – and tempt consumers with a good taste, health benefits and an artisanal look.

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Whole grain alternatives to wheat open doors to high-fibre bread that consumers will notice.

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Gluten quality makes all the difference for good and healthy bread time after time.

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