Avoiding gluten has become increasingly important for some consumers over the years, evidenced by the growth of the free-from food market. According to Statista, the gluten-free food market is set to grow to a value of US$14bn from US$6.7bn in the US alone over the next decade.
The protein is found in wheat, rye and barley and can trigger disorders such as celiac disease, a hereditary condition that affects at least one in 100 people globally. In addition, around 6% of the US population is gluten intolerant, while about 30% is deliberately avoid the protein.
Gluten is most typically present in bakery products such as bread and cereal, but creating gluten-free alternatives with a similar texture and flavor can be difficult. This is because gluten provides elasticity and traps gas released during fermentation, allowing the dough to rise. On the other hand, gluten-free loaves can be smaller, firmer and crumblier.
To improve bread structure, manufacturers resort to using gelling agents – but a recent study has shown that adding dairy products to the dough mix can further improve functionality, creating soft and stretchy gluten-free bread.
Decreased firmness, increased moisture
Researchers from University of Lisbon in Portugal observed how adding yogurt and lactose-free cheese curd affected bread structure. They made five loaves – a ‘control bread’ containing no dairy, and four other loaves, two containing yogurt and two – cheese curd (each type with 10% and 20% dairy content). Rice, buckwheat and potato starch flour was used.
The experiment proved that the presence of both yogurt and cheese improved crumb softness by 67 and 55% respectively. Moisture, which is a key factor to softness, was also increased from 42% in the dairy-free bread to 50% and 51% in the loaves that contained 20% yogurt and cheese respectively.
In addition, yield was around 30% greater in dairy bread types compared to the control bread, which the researchers say could be due to the higher moisture-retaining properties of dairy polysaccharides. The dairy-containing loaves were also around 40% larger and were found to go stale at much slower rate compared to the control bread - a property that the researchers attribute to ‘the impact of the dairy products on pasting properties, particularly on starch gelatinization performance, cooking stability, and…on final consistency.’
The researchers conclude that ‘the dairy products tested showed to be promising alternative bakery ingredients to overcome the technological challenge of gluten absence, resulting in dairy bread types with desirable attributes in terms of softer texture, slowly staling, high volume, and appealing appearance, compared to the control bread.’
Yogurt and curd cheese as alternative ingredients to improve the gluten-free breadmaking
Authors: Carla Graça, Anabela Raymundo and Isabel Sousa
Published: 4 November 2022