Saturday, June 12, 2010

Improved Gluten-Free Bread

I was just reading a science article about how researchers at Teagasc (the agriculture and food development authority in Ireland) are working to improve the taste, texture, and consistency of gluten-free breads through the use of the "pseudocereal" grains in gluten-free bread recipes. Their findings, not surprisingly, are that using pseodocereals (including amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat) results in a tastier, more nutritious gluten-free bread for coeliac disease sufferers as compared to "traditional" heavily starch-based gluten-free/wheat-free bread recipes (that almost exclusively use starches such as rice, potato and corn flours/starches -- each of which offers nearly zero nutritional value beyond carbs).

Here is some of the material quoted from the report I was reading, that is interesting, but rather widely known already (or so I thought):
Although gluten-free alternatives are readily available in the market, these products are often characterised by a crumbly, brittle texture, and are perceived as being of inferior quality compared to the wheat products they are intended to replace. In addition to quality defects, gluten-free foods are also characterised by an inferior nutritional quality. They have been reported to contain lower levels of essential nutrients such as B vitamins, iron and fibre, than are contained in wheat products. This is mainly due to the fact that gluten-free products are generally formulated with starches and refined flours, and are not usually fortified.
It [Teagasc] has focused on using the so-called 'pseudocereals' amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat to replace wheat in bread formulations. These cereals are gluten-free, and are also rich in nutrients; therefore, their incorporation in the gluten-free diet could not only add variety but also improve nutritional quality.
"Other characteristics of these [pseudocereal] seeds, such as their high protein, fibre and mineral content, as well as the presence of many bioactive components (compounds with beneficial effects on the body), make them attractive alternatives to traditional gluten-free ingredients (such as rice, potato and corn flours/starches) in the production of high quality, healthy gluten-free product,"...

What I found surprising is not the result of their research, but why they need to do "research" at all. Many of us have known for a long time that gluten-free bread recipes that use buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth and the like produce a much higher quality and more "real" bread. In fact, I'd say these researchers at Teagasc need to just start looking at some of the recipes on this Gluten-Free Blog and other such blogs, to perhaps make some further observations about improving gluten-free bread recipes, like:
  • using even more of these nutritious grains and seeds; like Teff, Millet, Sorghum, Flax, Chia and such
  • consider using some bean-flours perhaps
  • experiment with including whey protein in their gluten-free baking to simulate the effects of Gluten (without Gluten)
  • consider Cinnamon, Cocoa, and other spices as potential "flours" since they are high in fiber plus other beneficial attributes like antioxidants and such
  • include things like pumpkin pulp and other squash and vegetable puree that can add moisture, fiber, and improve the overall consistency
  • and other creative things we experienced Celiac sufferers have come up with in our recipes

Although we have not published all of our favorite bread recipes on our Gluten-Free Recipe Library and/or here on this Gluten-Free Blog in the past, we have quite a few posted that make use of some interesting mixes of grains, including:

The gluten-free recipes above still contain some of the basic "starch" type flours, but they all also include additional higher-nutrition grains like quinoa, buckwheat, teff, and such. Each recipes varies in its formulation, as each was created with different objectives. E.g., the Gluten-Free High-Fiber Multi-Grain Bread was pretty much all about getting as much fiber and nutrition into a gluten-free bread recipe as possible, while also getting great texture and taste.

Next: Making a Dairy-Based "Gluten"...
The next thing in the report that I found somewhat interesting was this quote: "Teagasc food researchers working at Ashtown and Moorepark are investigating the conditions required to produce a dairy-based ingredient with properties similar to gluten in a gluten-free dough system".

Well, guess what... again, I think these researchers should look around the Internet gluten-free blogs and such to gain some insight into what is already known to work. We have been using isolated whey protein in gluten-free baking to simulate "gluten", since before writing about it here on the Gluten-Free Blog back in 2007. If used properly (i.e., determining the right proportion to use per-recipe), it really can create that binding-power that is similar to gluten, while still being gluten-free. And, I am sure others have used various dairy-derivations to create some gluten-like binding power in their recipes too.

Oh well... maybe the researchers just have a pile of cash or a grant or something they need to find a way to spend. But, even if that is the case, it'd be nice if they started with what is already known and see if they can extend it even further. Like all Celiac / gluten-free / wheat-free persons, I welcome any further improvements to my gluten-free bread recipes.


Erika said...

Yes, I agree. So many GF flour mixes and GF breads out there are high in calories and low in nutrition and taste. One thing is don't forget to try using millet flour and Montina flours in your flour mixes! They both have "binding" properties and I can make bread that doesn't crumble when I use these in combination with other ingredients. And they are great in flavor and nutrition too.

Chipoy said...

thanks for your information your information might be very helpful.

Gluten Free said...

This look delicious ... really yummy.

Autos said...


Alex said...

as a delicacy, so to take a bite,
Thanks for the recipe

Geraldine said...

thanks for your information.. that would really be helpful..

but the recipe is good.. sounds delicious.. thanks.

Lena said...

Valuable information and excellent design you got here! I would like to thank you for sharing your thoughts and time into the stuff you post!!

Anonymous said...

As someone who only a few months ago was diagnosed as gluten-sensitive and is still learning--I don't know everything.

What medical research I have come across has reittered the same don't knows, maybe's and basic information people with a gluten allergy should know.

It would be wonderful if someone could refer me to a source for more information about getting more nutrition into my baked goods.

I'm glad I found this.


Vanessa said...

I despise the taste of fava beans and have tossed expensive items more than once because I cannot stand the taste of the flour. It's metallic and bitter to me.
On the other hand, I love quinoa and buckwheat even more than I loved the wheat products!
Hands down, my favorite "easy" GF flour is rice flour. It has the best flavor in my opinion.

Joanne said...

I had a recipe, then lost it, for a quick and easy bread with these flours: Millet, Teff Sorghym, Tapioca and Xantham gum. When I went to purchase these items, I lost the recipe. Now I have the flours and no recipe! Can anyone help?