Science

Gluten-free buckwheat crackers pass taste quality test

25-Nov-2010 - By Nathan Gray
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Gluten free crackers enriched with buckwheat flour may offer functional benefits without affecting sensory properties or product quality, according to a new study.

The research, published in LWT - Food Science and Technology found no difference in the sensory quality of the enriched crackers, which were also observed to have much higher quantities of phenolics, vitamin E (tocopherols), and free radical scavenging ability.

“The results of this paper could be relevant for the production of gluten-free crackers based on buckwheat flours …The introduction of buckwheat crackers in the market would increase the diversity of functional bakery products and, even more importantly, of functional foods suitable for celiac disease patients,” wrote the researchers, led by Ivana Sedej, of the Institute for Food Technology at the University of Novi Sad, Serbia.

Functional bakery

Consumers are increasingly interested in functional foods, which has led to a greater supply of such products on the market, however the authors said the area of bakery products is still relatively underdeveloped in terms of ‘functional products’.

However, they noted that several different alternative crops (including amaranth, quinoa, and buckwheat), are being used as raw materials in the development of new bakery more functional products.

Buckwheat is increasing in popularity as a health food in many countries, and has attracted attention due to its potential healing effects, and high nutritional value.

Buckwheat flour contains high-quality proteins, and is rich in antioxidants and minerals such as, flavonoids, phenolic acids, B vitamins, and carotenoids.

The grain is also becoming a popular choice for the formulation of nutritionally rich gluten free products. According to Packaged Facts, the buoyant gluten-free food market was worth almost USD $1.6bn last year, with the analysts adding that the sector has experienced a compound annual growth rate of 28 per cent over four years.

Sufferers of coeliac disease have to avoid all gluten in their diet, but diagnosis is not the only factor, with other sectors of the population, such as those who have self-diagnosed wheat or gluten intolerance or who believe gluten-free to be a healthier way of eating, driving the growth in gluten free products,

In comparison to most frequently used cereals, buckwheat is reported to possess higher a antioxidant activity, mainly due to its high rutin content.

“The objective of this work was to formulate gluten-free crackers made from refined and wholegrain buckwheat flour, with acceptable taste and appearance, and to compare their chemical, antioxidant and sensory properties with crackers made from wheat flours,” wrote the researchers.

Study details

The study reports that protocatechuic acid and ferulic acid were quantified in both buckwheat and wheat crackers, but the two flavonoids, rutin and quercetin, were only found in buckwheat crackers.

The content of total phenolics and tocopherols was reported to be significantly higher in buckwheat crackers in comparison to wheat crackers, and the buckwheat crackers were also observed to exhibit significantly higher radical scavenging activity.

Sedej and co workers observed no significant differences in the sensory quality of wholegrain buckwheat crackers in comparison to wheat ones.

“Crackers made from buckwheat flours can broaden the utilization of buckwheat, increase supply of gluten-free products on the market and may be regarded as health-promoting functional foods, especially for celiac disease patients,” they wrote.

The authors added that the presence of flavonoids in buckwheat crackers would be beneficial and contribute to the functionality of products.

Source: LWT - Food Science and Technology
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.lwt.2010.11.010
“Quality assessment of gluten-free crackers based on buckwheat flour”
Authors: I. Sedej, M. Sakač, A. Mandić, A. Mišan, M. Pestorić, O. Šimurinaa, J. Čanadanović-Brunet

Related topics: Science, Cereals and bakery preparations