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Gluten-free chestnut flour could add nutritional value

By Nathan Gray , 10-Aug-2010

Chestnut flour could be used in gluten-free breads to give nutritional and health benefits, according to a new study from Turkey.

Formulating products with chestnut flour – reportedly the first study of its kind – may enhance the vitamin B, iron, folate, and dietary fibre content of gluten-free products, claim researchers at the Department of Food Engineering, Middle East Technical University in Turkey. The study, published in the Journal of Food Engineering, observes that using 30/70 chestnut/rice flour ratio containing xanthan–guar blend and emulsifier, provides the best quality gluten-free dough formulation.

Growing Market

The study’s findings could lead to products with increased nutritional values in the booming gluten-free food market.

Since it was valued at $580m in 2004, the market has grown at an average annual rate of 29 per cent and last year was worth $1.56bn, according to Packaged Facts, which estimates the market in 2012 could be worth as much as $2.6bn.

In order to develop better quality gluten-free breads, a number of alternative flour types to wheat flour, such as corn, rice, bean starch , and buckwheat have been investigated.

Chestnut Formula

The new study is the first to investigate gluten-free bread formulations using a chestnut flour blend, with the objective to develop gluten-free bread formulations using chestnut and rice flours at different ratios.

Differing ratios of chestnut/rice flour were investigated in addition to the influence of hydrocolloid blend (xanthan–locust bean gum (LBG), xanthan–guar gum blend) and emulsifier DATEM on the properties of bread dough formulations.

The gluten–free breads formulated with different chestnut/rice flour ratio and with/without gum blend and emulsifier DATEM were then evaluated using rheological, baking and sensory measurements.

According to these measurements, the best final product was achieved with a chestnut/rice flour ratio of 30/70.

The suitability of breads dropped away from the 30/70 ratio largely due to the more compact texture of the crumb, and crack formation that occurred in the breads containing higher ratios of chestnut flour, said the researchers.

“According to baking tests, the breads containing chestnut/rice ratio at 30/70 with addition of the blends of xanthan– guar and emulsifier had the best quality parameters. Therefore, this formulation can be recommended to be used in gluten– free breads.” they reported.

Nutritional Value

Chestnut flour contains high quality proteins with essential amino acids, dietary fibre, and low amount of fat. It also contains vitamin E, vitamin B group, potassium, phosphorous, and magnesium – something that many gluten-free products lack.

Since most of the gluten-free products contain inadequate amounts of vitamin B, iron, folate, and dietary fibre, the authors believe “it may be advantageous to use chestnut flour due to its nutritional value.”

Source: Journal of Food Engineering
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.jfoodeng.2010.07.017
“Utilization of chestnut flour in gluten-free bread formulations”
Authors: I. Demirkesen, B. Mert, G. Sumnu, S. Sahin

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