Bakers go beyond ho-hum by using ancient wheats and alternative flours made from grains such as sorghum or even watermelon seeds. Although most flours are still derived from wheat, corn and rice, trying something out of the ordinary may appeal to consumers looking for differentiated end products in the market through the introduction of various flours that offer a wide range of colors, flavors, nutrition and textures. And there is also a marketing bonus. While all of these flour sources are technically plant-based, flagging flours made from legumes, nuts, and vegetables on product labels appeals to consumers who follow a plant-based diet.
With most baked foods, it’s not just a simple swapping of one flour for another, especially if the flour being replaced is from wheat, which is a source of gluten and responsible for the desired springy texture. pasta and pasta. Corn and rice flours are inherently gluten-free.
“When substituting alternative flours for wheat flour, it’s important to keep in mind that the alternatives may have a different protein, fiber, vitamin, etc. composition than wheat flour,” Amr said. Shaheed, Technical Service Manager, Food Applications. , Innophos. “It will change the rheological properties of the dough or batter. Therefore, alternative flours may have different water absorption capacity, which may impact their viscoelastic properties responsible for gas retention.
Alternative grains can replace any of the three major grains, noted Sean Liu, director of research at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Functional Foods Research Unit in Peoria, Illinois. These substitutes are not necessarily cereals themselves, but they are diverse.
Keith Petrofsky, Director of Research and Development at Ardent Mills, spoke about the booming alternative grain sector at this year’s IFT FIRST, the Institute of Food Technologists meeting and expo. He explained that cereals such as sorghum, millet, rye and barley are recognized as alternative cereals, as are ancestral wheat varieties such as spelled, emmer and khorasan. He also counted non-grain grains, such as amaranth and quinoa, as alternative grains. He even categorized legumes, like chickpeas, lentils, and yellow peas, as an alternative grain.
“All of these really fit into one big category that people call alternative grains,” Mr. Petrofsky said. “There are a lot of different colors, flavors and textures.”
Kathy Lewis, senior research and development scientist at Ardent Mills, said cereal alternatives to wheat flour may provide additional nutritional benefits. It’s a growing consideration for consumers purchasing baked goods, according to market research from Ardent Mills.
“The protein content of alternative grains is particularly appealing to consumers today,” Ms Lewis said. “Additionally, some of these ingredients may contain higher amounts of certain vitamins and minerals, dietary fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients than conventional wheat. Many alternative grains and legumes lack gluten, which is made up of two proteins, gliadin and glutenin. These proteins combine to form viscoelastic networks in various baked goods, which provide structure, volume and texture to breads, cakes, cookies, crackers and snacks. The lack of gluten presents formulation challenges for the product developer. This can be overcome by using a combination of alternative flours, starches, fibers and protein ingredients.
Ardent Mills research found that consumers don’t necessarily expect baked foods containing alternative grains and legumes to match the flavor and texture profile of finished baked goods made with wheat. . They do, however, expect these products to taste great and be of high quality.
“Each grain has unique attributes, so choosing the right flour depends on what bakers are looking for and prioritizing,” Mr. Petrofsky said. “Our gluten-free flour mix blends an assortment of alternative grains to create a flour that mimics the functionality of traditional wheat flour but includes more nutrients and flavor.”
Healthy Food Ingredients offers a range of whole grains that can be made into flours. This includes ancient grains, cereals, purple corn, and legumes. Although nutrition and functionality are key to selecting alternative cereals, consumer interest may extend beyond these attributes.
“Consumers are demanding products that are not only clean and traceable, but also tell a story, feature additional health claims such as gluten-free, organic or regenerative, and use a variety of ingredients, such as legumes, grains and seeds. old,” said Jennifer Tesch. , Marketing Director, Healthy Food Ingredients.
Corbion offers a range of grain-based mixes for the baking industry, including grain and seed mixes, grain bread mixes, super soaked cereals and hydrated ancient grains.
“Our cereal seed mixes improve flavor and simplify inventory,” said Yanling Yin, PhD, director of research and development at Corbion. “With a ready-to-use product, bakers don’t have to source and inventory 12 different types of seeds and grains. Pre-soaked grains allow for quick processing. Historically, if bakers wanted to add extra grains to their bread, they had to soak the grains overnight. By skipping this step, they can adjust formulas faster and balance moisture.
A newer player in alternative cereals is Mosaic Grove, which offers tiger nuts flour made by grinding nutsedge tubers and sifting the powder to the desired consistency.
“Tiger Nuts are nut-free, gluten-free, and dairy-free,” said Kaadze Wright, General Manager of Mosaic Grove. “The flour is richer than all-purpose flour in dietary fibre, B vitamins, calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron. It’s also low in carbs, making it ideal for paleo and ketogenic diets. It can be used in the same way as wheat flour, but with the added benefit of being a healthier substitute.
Red River Commodities offers Sunflower Meal which is a high protein, partially defatted ingredient with a mild flavor and smooth texture. It has highly emulsifying, water-binding and fat-binding properties.
When it comes to the rate of inclusion in new retail products, buckwheat shows the strongest growth, according to research from Ardent Mills. When it comes to consumer purchase intent, quinoa, chia, oatmeal, buckwheat, chickpea flour and barley come out on top, Petrofsky noted.
“We anticipate this will be fueled by consumers’ growing desire for healthier or perceived healthier options and greater overall diversity in their diets,” he said.
This article is an excerpt from the October 2022 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the full article on Alternative Grains, Click here.